- Booster Gold
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Friday, May 1, 2020
In ancient times, May Day was a celebration of the dawning of a new season from the old, a rebirth. In the 20th century, "mayday" became a distress call for pilots.
Both of those etymologies are reflected in CRB.com's latest Booster Gold-centric clickbait, "Every Terrible DC Timeline Booster Gold Has Prevented (or Caused)" by Brandon Zachary.
As one of DC's resident time-travelers, it makes sense that Booster Gold has left an outsized impact on the DC Universe timeline over the years. While he's done some of this to protect the timeline from the influence of others, he's also sometimes done this to try and suit his own goals.
That's a fair point. Booster Gold isn't perfect, and that's a key part of why we like him.
Before you click on over to CBR, know that the article title isn't entirely accurate (surprise!). Zachary covers some of the larger (and worst) changes that Booster has made to history, but there are plenty of other terrible timelines that Booster prevented but didn't cause (like saving the multiverse from the likes of Mister Mind in 52 and Starro in Booster Gold #13, just to name a few).
And, of course, no list of the worst timelines that Booster both caused and prevented would be complete without the time he killed a little girl's dog, as seen in Booster Gold #31.
In a multiverse with an infinite number of terrible timelines, a time cop's job is never done.
Friday, April 24, 2020
It didn't take long after Booster Gold joined the Justice League before he and Blue Beetle were inseparable. (Some might say insufferable!) The pair quickly became the Abbot and Costello of superheroics, their pranks and self-interested business ventures providing a comedic release from the stress of facing down would-be world conquerors six days a week.
None of their hijinks is bigger, more famous, or more disastrous than the time they established a casino on the tropical island of KooeyKooeyKooey, as seen in the story "Club JLI" published in Justice League America #34 (1989), an issue that easily ranks among the twelve best Booster Gold comics.
Writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis had been sowing the seeds for what would become "Club JLI" for months. After the JLI fought aliens in the South Pacific (Justice League International #23), the island nation of KooeyKooeyKooey decided to allow the JLI to host an embassy on its territory (Justice League International Annual #3). Their own tropical paradise on the far side of the world was the perfect opportunity for Booster and Beetle to establish the one business venture guaranteed to make money: a casino. The house always wins, right?
What out heroes didn't plan for was that their venture would attract the attention of another would-be world conqueror — the DCU is practically infested with them — the aptly named Major Disaster. Disaster also wanted to get rich, and he had an ace-in-the-hole, his card-counting companion, Big Sir. Together, the pair set out to break the bank.
Unfortunately for everyone, the bank had been established with money embezzled from the JLI's United Nations-funded bank accounts. Our heroes had assumed that they would be making so much money so fast, they would be able to replace the money before it was noticed missing. Oops.
As if things couldn't get any worse, Aquaman arrives to inform the newly-bankrupt heroes that their island paradise KooeyKooeyKooey isn't a normal island. It's alive. And it's not very interested in having a resort on its back.
By the end of the issue, Beetle and Booster find themselves far worse off than they were before, which is par for the course for our two favorite hard-luck heroes. Better luck next time, guys.
As you can see in the panels above, this Giffen/DeMatteis masterpiece is a perfect mix of comedy and action. Almost every panel has either a punchline or plot consequence. Most of the humor comes from the personalities of the characters involved, and the events will provide material enough to propel plots for months' worth of issues. (The fallout of the Club JLI misadventure will lead directly to Booster's quitting the League for a leadership position in the Conglomerate.)
And while I'm heaping praise on the writers, I'd be remiss to omit the contributions made by Adam Hughes, who was drawing only his fourth DC Comic! Even considering the limitations of four-color printing on newsprint, Hughes' character are so full of life that they nearly spring from the page. It must have been a hard job to follow the original JLI artist, master of expressions Kevin Maguire, but Hughes proves a formidable talent in his own right. (How many copies did DC sell based on Hughes' brilliant cover alone?)
Sometimes everything works, elevating what might otherwise be a light adventure story into a truly great comics. Justice League America #34 is one such case, and that's why it is rightly included among The Best Booster Gold Stories Ever.
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Many, many of you seem very excited about this Cable vs Booster Gold DEATH BATTLE!, so let's just go ahead and watch it, shall we? (The really good stuff starts at about 13:20, just after the Blue Apron ad.)
Hmmm. Let's see. Booster Gold's force field is strong enough to stop Superman, so yeah, it'd stop whatever Cable could throw at it. But mind control? I'm not sure that scans.
Booster Gold traditionally has a real problem with mind control. See: Justice League Annual #1, Justice League #6, Justice League International #17, Eclipso: The Darkness Within #2, Justice League America #59, Time Masters: Vanishing Point #4, Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen, to name a few examples to the contrary.
For the record, despite what the video says, it wasn't Booster's force field that saved his memories in Justice League: Generation Lost. Booster himself assumes in issue #2 that the four members of the JLI that were unaffected by Max Lord's re-writing of history were saved by the mechanics of Lord's broadcast (much in the same way that radio waves directed outward from radio antennas fail to send a signal to the base of the tower). Then Lord seems to say in issue #5 that he left them their memories on purpose. Either way, the force field deserves no credit.
But why let a few technicalities distract from a fun time, eh?
(I *really* should keep my mouth shut here. Death Battle has 4.5 million subscribers, which makes it very likely that more people will see Booster Gold for the first time in this YouTube video than any other singe occasion in the character's history. For comparison, the Smallville episode "Booster" — broadcast on this day in 2011 — was watched by a mere 2.3 million people. Death Battle for the win!)
Thanks to all who sent me the link.
Monday, April 6, 2020
For decades, the biggest knock against Booster Gold has been that he's only a hero because he stole his powers. His fans know that's not true.
With or without powers, Booster's always been a hero, as he proved on this day in 1993 in the pages of Justice League Europe #50, when he quite literally jumped into action with nothing but his wits and a sharp-looking pair of tights to protect him.
Justice League Europe #50, art by Ron Randall, Randy Elliott, and Gene D'angelo
This 54-page spectacular is the sixth and final chapter of the "Red Winter" storyline in which Green Lantern's old foe Sonar used his upgraded sound powers to disable the Justice League Europe and stage a successful coup of the former Soviet Bloc counties.
With their comrades down, the remaining active members of the Justice League International spring to the rescue. This includes Booster Gold — despite the fact that the same Doomsday that had recently befallen Superman had also destroyed Booster's 25th-century power suit and gauntlets, leaving him functionally no more powerful than a blind doctor.
Full credit to Booster for having the courage to campaign against a mind-controlling dictator with only his fists. However, it does leave him severely disadvantaged whenever a super-powered melee breaks out, as they often do in these sorts of situations. That means Booster spends most of the story on the sidelines, pointing out the obvious.
A real hero helps out however he can.
Another bit of trivia about this issue: it's the first story in which Booster Gold and his future teammate Godiva appear together. They don't share any dialogue, but they do get some great sound effects.
Ouch. Take care of yourself, Booster. Courage is great, but a man's got to know his limitations.
Monday, March 23, 2020
The contrast between justice, vengeance, and redemption. Fate versus free will. Heroic self-sacrifice. All of those themes are factors in why I consider Booster Gold #18 among the twelve best Booster Gold comics.
The story, "Showdown," written and illustrated by Dan Jurgens, opens with a montage of Booster Gold in training. Though this is just a prologue to the main story, it sets the stage for what's coming. It lets us, the readers, see that Booster Gold is willing to put in some effort to be the best super hero that he can be. In other words, he's working at being good. If you've never read a Booster Gold story before, you now know where our hero stands.
Booster Gold is the hero in this story, but not the protagonist. That role belongs to Broderick, a federal agent who always gets his man. While Booster walks the path of the hero, Broderick's road has become considerably darker ever since he let his self-righteous hatred be his guide.
Broderick's obsession with Booster Gold is born from familiar circumstances. He had once been among Michael "Booster" Carter's biggest fans when the youngster was playing quarterback for Gotham University. As is so often the case, when Booster was caught cheating in a gambling scandal, Broderick took the news of his hero's transgression as a personal slight.
After "Booster" Carter stole a time machine, Broderick swore he would bring him to justice, no matter how far he had to go to do it. The former object of Broderick's affection became an object of disgust and hatred.
He chases Booster to the past, where he is driven to break the law to survive. He soon confirms that Booster has become a hero to the masses, a revelation that only stokes his hatred. How backwards this 20th century where thieves are the heroes and policemen are driven to steal!
Broderick's determination finally pays off when he ambushes Booster Gold outside of his own mansion. Booster is accompanied by a date, but Broderick doesn't care. It's a sign of how far he's let his obession drive him from the path of the righteous that his prey cares more about the lives of bystanders than the dutiful "officer of the law" does.
Booster leads Broderick on an excting chase through the back alleys of downtown Metropolis before the confrontation plays out exactly as the brilliant cover promised.
The law man has Booster dead to rights and is about to pull the trigger — becoming judge, jury, and executioner in one — when something unexpected happens. A second tragedy is unfolding nearby. Someone is robbing a liquor store. Booster uses the opportunity to remind Broderick just how far he's fallen.
The pair put aside their differences long enough to stop the robbery and save innocent lives, allowing Booster to demonstrate by action that he's not the the villain of Broderick's warped imagination.
Afterwards, Broderick is faced with a harsh choice: punish "Booster" Carter for crimes he admits he has committed and take a hero off the streets, or allow a guilty man to walk away from justice for the sake of the greater good.
His world shattered, Broderick fades into the shadows. Did he ever find a way out? I sure hope so.
This issue touches on a lot of great questions about what a hero is. Can someone steal for the right reasons? What is the boundaries between vengeance and justice? It's the asking of those questions that makes this, without a doubt, one of The Best Booster Gold Stories Ever.
There have been 2265 blog entries since January 2010.
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