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Showing posts 0-4 of 4 matching: illness

Friday, March 13, 2020

That Time Booster Gold Defeated a Disease

You may have heard that there's something of a global health crisis ongoing right now. As someone with older parents, I find it a little scary, which makes it a fitting topic for Friday the 13th. What would make me feel better is a super hero who could stop a spreading disease dead in its tracks.

Which brings me to that time that Booster Gold single-handedly prevented a disease outbreak (with a little help from Skeets).

Of course, when pandemics strike the DC Universe, there's usually some super villain at work. That was definitely the case in the story "Dream of Terror" published in Booster Gold #17 (1987).

© DC Comics

Dr. Pete Babich is biologist and eugenicist obsessed with solving the problems of social inequality. Like so many bad guys, Babich considers himself a hero who believes that he alone has "the courage to do what must be done." Specifically, he means releasing a virulent, globe-spanning disease that will kill everyone he considers to be "undesirable," by which he means "poor."

To initiate his class warfare, he enlists the help of the Teen Titan Hawk. Babich has misled Hawk into thinking that the disease won't kill outright, but will instead sterilize the population. For some reason, Hawk still thinks this is a good idea.

© DC Comics

Babich's initial target? Mexicans. He might have gotten away with it, too, if the Russians hadn't gotten involved via their agent, the mercenary Cheshire. (This is an American comic, remember? With us, it's always Mexicans and Russians.)

Because of the Russians' attempt to steal Babich's creation to use for their own purposes, the evil doctor is exposed to his own disease. It works as advertised, destroying a certain undesirable human in a scene delightfully dripping with dramatic irony.

© DC Comics

It would be tragedy if Babich's engineered plague went on to kill hundreds or thousands worldwide, but this being a comic book, that's not going to happen. Especially not with Booster Gold on the scene.

© DC Comics

Everyone lives happily ever after!

I certainly don't mean to suggest that COVID-19 is the work of a super villain (or the Russians). I just find reassurance in stories about good, powerful people putting their own lives on the line to save us. In the DC Universe, they're called super heroes. In the real world, we call them health care professionals.

Stay safe, everybody. (Personally, I'll be spending the foreseeable future indoors reading comics, so it's not all bad.)

Comments (3) | Add a Comment | Tags: cheshire dan jurgens hawk illness plague villains

Friday, February 22, 2019

Reconsidering a Crisis in Progress

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.

© DC Comics

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.

© DC Comics

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.

Comments (4) | Add a Comment | Tags: blue beetle heroes in crisis mental illness tom king

Friday, September 7, 2018

When Loving Yourself Is Wrong

The fourth issue of DC's self-promotional magazine, DC Nation, was released this week. A six-page article by Andrew Marino titled "The Sanctuary Files" is devoted to revealing "real-life" psychoanalyst John Foster Elliott's profiles of key characters of the upcoming Heroes in Crisis mini-series. Naturally, Booster Gold was included.

PSYCHOTHERAPY ASSESSMENT: Michael suffers from generalized anxiety, the "poser" syndrome, mainly because he is…just that. He has little respect for the law or the rights of others and believes that he is entitled to act because the end justifies the means. Yet he still has compassion for others and seeks to redeem himself, primarily through shortcuts that often fail. Michael needs to work on his morality, respecting the rights of others and accepting his limitations. Like most narcissists, he operates on double standards and is truly afraid of genuine intimacy.

NOTES: Axis I ICD F411 Sociopathic and narcissistic traits

I'm no expert on psychology like Mr. Elliott, so I had to look up the last bit of his assessment notes. As defined by the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, "Axis I" is the classification for almost all psychological diagnostic categories of mental disorders. "ICD" is shorthand for the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases system, in which "F411" identifies "Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)."

According to the National Institute of Mental Health website:

"People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) display excessive anxiety or worry, most days for at least 6 months, about a number of things such as personal health, work, social interactions, and everyday routine life circumstances. The fear and anxiety can cause significant problems in areas of their life, such as social interactions, school, and work."

Symptoms for at least six months? Wow. Tom King has really f'd up our hero.

Booster Gold has certainly always exhibited sociopathic and narcissistic traits — that's what we love best about him! — but in recent years he had matured beyond his early days as a "poser." I guess DC's "Rebirth" is about taking everyone back to their roots, but I sure hope that doesn't mean we're going to have to rehash Millennium again. Or Extreme Justice.

You can read Elliott's diagnosis of other heroes, including how damaged Superman really is, in DC Nation #4 for free on Comixology.com. And, of course, you can find Heroes in Crisis #1 for sale in your Local Comic Shop on September 26.

Comments (1) | Add a Comment | Tags: andrew marino comixology.com dc nation heroes in crisis john foster elliott mental illness tom king

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Under the Weather, Over the Pencils

I'm suffering from a string of migraine headaches that are making it very difficult to sit in front of a computer monitor. So for the time being, all you're getting is this panel from Booster Gold, Volume 1, #13.

© DC Comics

Nice bedside manner, Nurse Ratched.

I've always loved inker Gary Martin's nearly minimalist approach with this issue. His style has always felt appropriate for the very 1980s adventures of a very 1980s hero, and turned Dan Jurgens' traditional action-adventure layouts into a noir motion picture, especially as we finally get Booster's sad-sack take on his own twisted origin story. You can find some of Gary Martin's work in his gallery on DeviantArt.com.

Booster had to travel to the future for a cure to his illness. Hopefully, some caffeine and aspirin will take care of mine. (It's hard to type without looking at what you're doing.)

Comments (2) | Add a Comment | Tags: dan jurgens gary martin illness inkers panels reviews


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