- Booster Gold
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Friday, January 29, 2021
It's been three weeks since Generations: Shattered was released, so you should have your copy by now, yes? Good. Because we're going to talk about it today. Specifically, we're going to talk about this panel:
art by John Romita, Jr., Danny Miki, Hi-Fi
If you've been reading DC Comics for a long of time, you may recognize most of those people, but Booster boosters in particular should probably have a pretty good idea who the Linear Men are. This is an unusual line-up of that team. It's no coincidence that many of them directly pair up with a Multiversal heroic counterpart, a contrivance that is explained in the story as the nearly omnipotent Dominus bends reality to his will.
But even accepting that, one of those Linear Men stands out. Can you spot which one?
Hint: It's this guy.
Whoever that guy is, I doubt anyone calls him "Rayak the Ravager."
Quick history lesson: The Linear Men concept was created in Adventures of Superman #476 (by Dan Jurgens) in 1991 with the introduction of The (singular) Linear Man. That Linear Man died, sacrificing himself in the 30th-century to "correct" the history he'd unintentionally broken while trying to bring justice to Booster Gold. (You'll find more information on the interactions between the Linear Man and Booster Gold here.)
art by Dan Jurgens, Art Thiebert, Glenn Whitmore, Todd Klein
Shortly thereafter, in Superman #59 (by Dan Jurgens), we learn that the Linear Man was a rogue member of the mysterious Linear Men of Vanishing Point who are "dedicated to guarding the linear sanctity of the time stream." By the time of Superman #73 (by Dan Jurgens), it is well established that there are three remaining Linear Men: Matthew Ryder, Liri Lee, and Hunter. (The impetuous Waverider is often an ally of the group but isn't really a member.)
In our group shot at the top of the post, both Liri Lee and Matthew Ryder are clearly identified by name in our Generations: Shattered confrontation. Naturally, the third Linear Man should be Hunter, especially since he appears earlier in the issue beside both Liri and Ryder.
art by Fernando Pasarin, Oclair Albert, Hi-Fi
So why in the big team shot is Hunter misidentified as "Rayak the Ravager"?
If I had to take a guess, I'd say that whoever wrote the label was trying to recall the name "Ryak the Rogue" from memory. Ryak is the newest Linear Man — the first not created by Dan Jurgens. Ryak makes his first appearance in The All-New Atom #7 (by Gail Simone) in 2007, and he looks nothing like Hunter. For one thing, he's green.
art by Mike Norton, Andy Owens, Alex Bleyaert, Pat Brosseau
As his moniker might suggest, Ryak was a solo actor in Atom, but he made a cameo appearance beside the other Linear Men on Vanishing Point in Dark Nights: Death Metal: Rise of the New God in 2020. Look closely at that panel, and alongside Ryak you'll spot Ryder, Liri, Rip Hunter, and Waverider, but Hunter is missing, replaced by none other than the original Linear Man himself!
art by Jesus Merino, Vincente Cifuentes, Ulises Arreola
As you can see, keeping the Linear Men straight takes as much work as the convoluted continuity they are sworn to protect. The DC Multiverse is a big place. Every once in a while, we should probably expect the writers, artists, or editors to confused a name and a face.
On the other hand, the events of both Dark Knights: Death Metal and Generations: Shattered involve realities and timelines altered by gods themselves. In which case, if Dominus wants to call Hunter "Rayak," who are we, mere mortal readers of comic books, to correct him?
1 As for the original Linear Man's real identity: it is commonly assumed to be Travis O'Connell. That name comes from the "Linear Men" entry in the Who's Who in the DC Universe Update 1993 #2 (by Roger Stern) which identifies four Linear Men by name and states that "[Travis] O'Connell eventually sacrificed his own life in the late 30th Century." Unless there were multiple Linear Mans chasing Booster Gold in the 30th century, I think we've solved that mystery. (DK apparently agrees; they identify O'Connell by name in their entry for the Linear Man in their officially-licensed The DC Comics Encyclopedia.)
2 Hunter is, as you might have guessed, Rip Hunter. But he's not the one we know. According to the story "Falling in Line" in Legends of the DC Universe 80-Page Giant #1 (by Dan Jurgens), Hunter is the evolution of the young, mischievous Rip Hunter from an alternate history that appears to closely mirror the original Rip Hunter, Time Master, whose pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths Earth-1 adventures were chronicled in a book of the same title.
3 Technically, Waverider, like Rip Hunter, is two Linear Men. See, Waverider and Matthew Ryder are the same person, separated into two timelines by the accidental death of his/their parents. In violation of the Linear Men's prime directive, Waverider himself changed the history that forced the divergence that allowed his alternate self to grow into his role as the Linear Men's Ryder. (For details, see Superman #61 by Dan Jurgens.) And while we're on the subject, I might as well mention that Matthew Ryder and Waverider first appeared in Armaggeddon 2001 #1 by Archie Goodwin... and Dan Jurgens.
4 Liri Lee is the only female member of the Linear Men. I probably don't need to tell you, but she was created by Dan Jurgens for Superman #59. She takes the name Linear Woman in Time Masters: Vanishing Point #6 (by... oh, you know). That may take place in a different reality or at a different point in Liri Lee's future chronology than the events of Generations: Shattered. The biggest problem with hanging out at Vanishing Point is that time and space don't have meaning anymore.
5 This isn't the first time O'Connell has been seen since his "death" in Adventures of Superman #478 (by Dan Jurgens), and there are many well-intentioned websites that appear to confuse O'Connell and Hunter, which is understandable. (Heck, I did it myself when I first listed my annotations for the issue, and I obviously know better.) Both O'Connell and Hunter share a 1990s affinity for shoulder pads, pointless belts, and cybernetic parts. And, of course, they are both Dan Jurgens creations. Rule of thumb: if he has black hair and a holster, it's O'Connell; white hair, Hunter.
Comments (2) | Add a Comment | Tags: characters dan jurgens fernando passin gail simone generations hunter jesus merino john romita jr linear man linear men liri lee mike norman rayak the ravager rip hunter ryak the scout waverider
Monday, August 12, 2019
"My life has changed in so many ways over the past decade" is something I could say every 10 years. In 2009, I was reading new Booster Gold comic books and watching Attack of the Show on G4. None of those things exist anymore.
Fortunately, I don't have to rely on my memory to recall those golden days because I still have my copy of Booster Gold Volume 2, #23, released 10 years ago today.
For those of you too young to remember, Blair Butler reviewed comic books in her "Fresh Ink" segment on Attack of the Show. She had been very positive about Booster's second series, and DC Comics thought she would make the perfect spokesperson for Booster's fan club. I couldn't agree more.
Butler described how she earned this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to Laura Hudson of ComicsAlliance.com shortly after Comic-Con International on July 29, 2009:
ComicsAlliance: So, how did the whole "Booster Gold" cover with DC come about?
Blair Butler: I actually got a call from Dan DiDio who said he had a crazy idea for an upcoming issue of "Booster Gold." Basically – and forgive me, because my memory sucks and I'm still recovering from Comic-Con – I recall that he said DC wanted to do a cover that sort of stood out for #23, and having a photo cover with a Booster fan was the main idea. It seemed oddly appropriate, since Booster is a bit of an attention hog. I think he'd not-so-secretly love the idea of having a lady-fan on the cover of his book. And, honestly, I was incredibly humbled that DC would ask me to don the Blue and Gold fan colors. I've loved comics since I had to stand on a stool to reach the quarter-bins at my local comic shop, so it's pretty awesome to get to be part of a DC comic.
CA: So what exactly makes you Booster Gold's biggest fan?
BB: Well, first, let me just admit that there are some massive Booster fans out there who really dwarf me – the folks who run the Boosterrific site, the guys at Project Fanboy, and the folks in the DC forums. They're all so passionate that it's really awe-inspiring and humbling. But let's settle this now: The real #1 fan would be Skeets or Blue Beetle. And I think Ted wins. However, if this were the mid-80s, Trixie Collins would totally be on the cover, rockin' some awesome 80s shoulder-pads.
I think the people who love Booster really respond to the fact that even though he's a shameless self-promoter, at the end of the day, he's a good, decent, heroic person at the core. Plus, when you live in LA, there's no more fitting superhero than Booster. I mean, the guy saves a crashing plane and does product placement. So Hollywood.
CA: We all know that you're going to be on the cover of "Booster Gold" now, but are you going to make an appearance inside the book as well?
BB: Straight from Dan Jurgens' mouth, I'll play a "slight role." Honestly, having anything to do with the comic is an honor.
That "slight role" was a romantic one. Butler went on a few dates with Booster, joining a list that includes movie star Monica Lake and the super hero Firehawk. An honor indeed!
Butler has since moved from writing for television to writing movies, but I'm sure she's still reading and enjoying Booster Gold comic books.
Meanwhile, Comics Alliance has been defunct since 2017. DC Comics closed their forums in 2016. G4 went off the air in 2014. Project Fanboy dissolved in 2013. Booster Gold Volume 2 was canceled in 2011. But Boosterrific.com is still here (feeling very, very old).
Friday, February 22, 2019
We're less than a week away from Heroes in Crisis #6 of 9, which means we're pretty close to learning the truth behind who killed everyone at Sanctuary. It seems like a good time to talk about Booster Gold's mental health.
Clearly, Booster has been mentally struggling with fallout from his incredibly stupid actions in Batman #45. I had complained at the time that Booster's reaction to Green Lantern's graphic on-panel suicide was inappropriate — and it was — but I'm willing to concede that Tom King was trying to make a point in his own way about how the human brain reacts unpredictably to such trauma.
And how is Booster Gold reacting to that trauma? His symptoms as exhibited in Heroes in Crisis look like an aggravated case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is exactly what press reports advertised King wanted to address in this series. PTSD is triggered by extreme trauma with common symptom including avoidance of repeat stimuli, willful memory loss, and hallucinations. Booster has spent most of the series hiding from just about everyone, so check one. And he claimed he couldn't remember exactly what happened, so check two. But hallucinations? Maybe those too.
As Frankie Hagan pointed out in blog comments last month, so far in Heroes in Crisis, no one seems to have noticed Blue Beetle other than Booster Gold, which certainly suggests that the Blue and Gold reunion may be all in Booster's head. I don't know what that says about Booster Gold, but if it turns out to be true, it may be even more disappointing for Booster Gold fans than if our hero turns out to be a mass murderer.
Speaking of murder, that's the real question, isn't it? Is Booster's mental illness severe enough to drive him to kill? Statistical evidence indicates that there are indeed links between PTSD and increased rates of outbursts of anger and violence. However, the odds that PTSD would unbalance a hero enough to engage in a spree killing remain remote.
Experts say that the biggest indicator of how an individual may respond to PTSD is that person's pre-trauma personality. It's true that Booster Gold has always had his own set of foibles, yet he has never killed anyone, even when given the opportunity. At heart, he's no murderer, no matter what Tom King wants to imply.
We'll find out more about Booster Gold's health when Heroes in Crisis #6 is released February 27.
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Not so long ago, Erin of Exploring the Time Lab was ruminating on some older comics she wanted to read. Included in her list was Blasters Special #1, which just happens to have been released 29 years ago today.
The Blasters were a space-faring group of super heroes spinning out of the Invasion! event. (I always think of them as a second-rate Omega Men.) Their biggest claim to fame was the inclusion of cast-off JLA mascot Snapper Carr, who had gained the ability to teleport by snapping his fingers. Snapper's inclusion in the Blasters was short lived (as were the Blasters themselves: their entire career was limited to Invasion, this one shot, and a couple of issues of Valor). Snapper would eventually move on to support the DC One Million-incarnation of Hourman in his own title.
So far as Booster Gold is concerned, his brief cameo in Blasters Special is limited entirely to the two-page spread pictured above. Of special note is the fact that this is the only time to date Booster has appeared on-panel with lesser known DC Comics heroes Brother Power the Geek or Shade the Changing Man. Oddly, Booster Gold wouldn't appear on panel with any of the Blasters until 2007, when he finally crossed paths with Snapper Carr at the wedding of Green Arrow and Black Canary.
There you go, Erin. Now you know what you've been missing.
Friday, December 15, 2017
Booster Gold fans everywhere were really excited to see our hero tangling with Superman in this week's Action Comics #993, the first installment of a multi-part story. At long last, perhaps we'll find what Booster has been up to since Convergence or why he abandoned his New 52 costume.
Booster booster (and, as Comicosity calls him, "THE biggest Booster Gold fan in creation") Keith Callbeck put these questions and more to Dan Jurgens in an interview published at Comicosity.com.
Keith Callbeck: It has been a while since we've seen Booster Gold. He was trying to sort out the Convergence last time out, what has he been up to since then?
Dan Jurgens: We don't address that specifically but we do convey the general idea that he's been having fun jumping through time. I think there are some things readers can draw conclusions from as well, such as where, exactly, he came from.
KC: And we have Booster back in his pre-Flashpoint costume. Can we nickname this story Booster Gold: Rebirth?
DJ: I certainly approached this with the idea that it's a bit of a Booster Gold Rebirth story. He's been off the table for quite awhile now and things have certainly changed in the DCU since we last saw him, most notably with Superman.
I really didn't want to get caught up in the continuity weeds on this one though I did want to make it seem a bit fresh and familiar all at the same time. If you remember Booster, you'll enjoy it. If you've never seen him before, I think you’ll be intrigued by the notion of who this guy is. He's quite a bit different from most of the heroes in the DCU.
Over at Comicbook.com, Russ Burlingame (who may not be Booster's number one fan but must rank somewhere in the top 10) also confronted Jurgens with similar questions:
Russ Burlingame: Of course, Booster has not been seen since the start of Rebirth, and here he shows up wearing his pre-Flashpoint costume and serving in his capacity as Time Master...seemingly right back where he was when his Jurgens-written series ended in 2011.
DJ: If you go back to Flashpoint, the two characters from the DCU that made it into the Flashpoint Universe was Booster and Flash ... So, I think there is the potential for a continuous thread here. Not sure how far I want to pull that, because again, I want the story to be more about now and not yesterday... but, yeah. I think there are certain conclusions one can arrive at.
Oooh. That Jurgens is cagey! If this is the same Booster Gold as seen in the pre-Flashpoint DCU, what are we to make of the origin story we saw in Booster Gold: Futures End? Or any part of Convergence, for that matter? Maybe it's best to leave the conclusions to the professionals.
In any event, both articles contain some pretty good Q&As, so check them out. And if you haven't already, don't forget to pick up Action Comics #993 at your Local Comic Shop.
Thanks for good work, Keith, Russ, and Dan!
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