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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

New Release: Justice League 67

Look who makes a cameo appearance in today's Justice League #67:

© DC Comics

Er, I meant specifically Booster Gold. He's in the background of several panels, which, frankly, is a bigger presence than he has in most comic books. And at least he's in good company. Vixen and Blue Devil are also here to mutely decorate the backgrounds, and few characters are given any more than a single line of dialog. What you see from longtime League stalwarts Black Canary and Green Arrow above is their only notable contribution to the proceedings. If the Justice League roster needs to include someone with a colorful name to stand around and state the obvious, Booster Gold can do that!

Look, I'm not going to lie. As you can probably tell by now, I don't personally care for Brian Michael Bendis's take on the Justice League. The unique quirks of his personal style aside, his characters don't act much like the DC heroes I've been reading about for decades. I find myself reading his issues as though they represent an alternate-universe team that, while far from "ultimate," could perhaps occupy Earth-B.

(Historical footnote: In the Bronze Age of DC Comics, Earth-B was the unofficial universe of writer Bob Haney's impossible, out-of-continuity Brave and the Bold stories. That universe was presumably destroyed by the Crisis on Infinite Earths. I suggest the new Earth-B in DC's all-new, all-different post-52, post-Death Metal Omniverse cosmology should be home to the stories of Brian Bendis.)

So I can't exactly recommend this title to anyone. But we readers don't get to choose which books Booster Gold appears in, do we? As a great poet once said, "Ours not to reason why, ours but to whine and buy."

Buy this issue and make Skeets happy.

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Saturday, September 11, 2021

Looking Back

Justice League America #56 was released on September 17, 1991, thirty years ago next week. Its mawkish story takes place in the middle of the too-long "Breakdowns" event marking the denouement of the United Nations-sponsored Justice League International era.

This chapter focuses on the forsaken Leaguers struggling to adapt to life without a league. Among them, Fire and Ice struggle to join a modeling agency, and Blue Beetle finds that his poor physical health will prevent him from joining the Booster Gold-led Conglomerate. There aren't a lot of "bwah-ha-ha" moments here.

No matter how you look at it, "Breakdowns" was not a particularly good story, and this wasn't a particularly good issue. As much as we want them to be, not all comics can be masterpieces.

But this comic book is worth a look back today if for no other reason than for its cover by Chris Sprouse and Bruce D. Patterson. As pretty as it was at the time, it was made more poignant by events that transpired almost exactly ten years after the issue's publication.

© DC Comics


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Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Two Americans in Paris

This time next week, we should have a copy of Blue and Gold #2 in our hands. (Fingers crossed!) In the meantime, let's take a look back at the earliest adventure of Blue and Gold.

Any wiki site can tell you that the very first time Blue Beetle and Booster Gold both appeared in the same panel (much less in the pages of the same book) was 1987's Justice League #3.

© DC Comics

But despite working together as a team for the first time in the following issue, the pair wouldn't really become a pair for a few months more, not until they paid a visit to Paris in Justice League International #8, by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Kevin Maguire, et al.

(Don't let the "International" in the name fool you. This was a continuation of the same series. "International" was added to the title starting in issue 7, and would remain there until issue 26, when the book returned to it's "America" roots for the duration of its 113 issue run.)

If you're keeping track, this was Booster's second visit to Paris that year. He had already been with Black Canary in the pages of Justice League Annual #1 (as we saw here). Booster didn't have a lot of luck romancing Canary, and his bad luck with women would continue into the International era.

© DC Comics
© DC Comics
© DC Comics
© DC Comics

Thus the template was set for Blue and Gold's enduring (and endearing) 34-year-and-counting comedic bromance. Perfect from the beginning!

If you want to impress your friends, take note of the "Bwah-ha-ha" Beetle unleashes in Black Canary's presence (page 14 of the original story). That's the first appearance of what would become the pair's signature laugh!

And that's how comic book legends are made: one panel at a time.

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Friday, August 13, 2021

Getting by with a Little Help From His Friends

Web-surfing Booster boosters might have noticed an article at this week titled "Batman's Still Keeping His Saddest Secret From The Justice League" in which Tristan Benns writes about events from Blue and Gold #1.

(Spoiler Warning: If you still haven't read Blue and Gold, be aware that spoilers follow. But, c'mon. You're reading a Booster Gold blog, and the book came out three weeks ago. Please try to keep up.)

As I was saying, per

Pretty much every member of the team berates Gold behind his back, except for Batman – the hero that fans and Leaguers would expect to like Booster the least....

It’s not entirely clear whether Booster’s status as master of time has been restored in Infinite Frontier, but Batman’s silence when the rest of the League rejects Booster speaks volumes, as does the knowing look he gives the Blue Beetle.

Sure, I noticed Batman's silent treatment, and I agree it speaks volumes. But to decipher what's going on here, it might be helpful to clarify Batman's historical relationship with Booster Gold.

Contrary to what might be presumed given his famously dour personality, Batman has always been among Booster's earliest supporters. In fact, Booster even made The Batman smile with his performance during his original audition for Justice League membership in Justice League #4 (1987):

© DC Comics
Batman and Booster as written by Keith Giffen and J.M DeMatteis

Two decades later, in the pages of in the pages of Booster Gold #1,000,000 (2008), The World's Greatest Detective would reveal another reason he had always stood up for Booster: he knew Booster would become a Time Master before Booster ever did.

© DC Comics

© DC Comics
Batman and Booster as written by Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz

The events of Flashpoint changed much of the history of the DC Universe, but Batman was among the least affected, and his staunch support of Booster Gold was still on display in Justice League International #1 (2011). So it should come as no surprise that Batman would remain among Booster's allies in the Infinite Frontier-era Blue & Gold, even if he and Ted Kord are the only ones.

Knowing all that, if there's anything to be read into Batman's silence in Blue and Gold, it's that Booster is definitely still a Time Master, and Batman still knows all about it.

© DC Comics
Batman and Beetle (about Booster) as written by Dan Jurgens

Footnote: "Pretty much every member of the team... except for Batman" is a very correct description of the scene in Blue and Gold because while Batman stays silent, one other Leaguer actually speaks up in defense of Booster Gold. That hero is Black Canary, who not coincidentally is the only other current team member who was present at Booster's debut in the aforementioned Justice League #4. (You can see her blond hair behind Captain Marvel in the panels above.) Old school is the best school.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

New Release: Justice League 66

Booster Gold rides in with the cavalry in this week's Justice League #66!

© DC Comics

It's a cameo appearance, sure, but the book ends on a cliffhanger that promises more action to come. Maybe Booster will have a bigger part in the next issue? (If he's lucky, he may even get a whole line of dialog!)

And while we're on the subject of brief appearances, perhaps you'll recall that last week Booster's Gold's hair made a cameo in Teen Titans Academy #5? DC must have liked that, because this week they put Booster's hair in all of their books:

© DC Comics
Director Bones enjoys running his fingers through Booster's hair.

This is the fourth weekly variant "Multiversal Monitors" house ad promoting the "Infinite Frontier" era. Each consecutive edition has retained and shuffled some images from the week before. In this case, Booster Gold and Blue Beetle are still on screen, relocated behind Director Bones where only Booster's hair is visible.

Booster should move quickly to capitalize on all the exposure his scalp is getting. If Dirk Davis was still his manager, I'm sure he'd be in television commercials for Mane 'n Tail by now.

Buy a comic book and make Skeets happy.

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