- Booster Gold
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Wednesday, February 19, 2020
In the comments of my blog post about the single greatest Booster Gold comic ever written (Justice League #4), there was some discussion about when exactly Booster's comic book portrayals turned from fun-loving but competent crime fighter (as portrayed in his own original series) to bumbling moron (as portrayed in 52 and just about everywhere since).
The timing of that change can be narrowed to shortly after the dawn of the 21st-century. No so coincidentally, that's about the same time that Blue Beetle's character also got an overhaul before coming to a very gory end.
Blue Beetle, who during the JLI years always played the fool in the original Blue and Gold dynamic, lost his sense of humor for his inclusion in the 1999 L.A.W. (Living Assault Weapons) mini-series reuniting the former Charlton Comics characters. For a few years following, he appeared much more prominently in DC Comics than his best friend, notably in issues of Birds of Prey, where he was diagnosed with a weak heart and semi-retired from heroics. This allowed his more serious demeanor a chance to take root with readers and editors alike.
I'd always assumed that was why, when Beetle and Booster were reunited in 2003's Formerly Known as the Justice League, the comedy roles of the two super buddies were swapped. However, when I put that question to JLI writer J.M. DeMatteis on Twitter last week, he revealed a different reason.
Whatever you think of the change, you have to admit that "just because" is as good a reason as Beetle and Booster ever had for any of their hijinx.
And now you know the rest of the story. (Thanks to Ariel for inspiring this topic.)
Monday, January 27, 2020
Earlier this month, I laid out what I consider to be the twelve best Booster Gold comics in the character's 35-year history. I start with my personal favorite. If you only read one comic book featuring Booster Gold in your entire life, make it Justice League #4 (1987).
The story, aptly titled "Winning Hand," begins with Batman considering the merits of allowing businessman Maxwell Lord IV to foister new members on the newly-formed league. It's a great twist on established canon. Membership in the Justice League to this point had been limited to those nominated by card-holding members. Just being nominated usually meant a big boost in popularity. Naturally, a glory hound like Booster Gold was itching to be involved, even if it meant being backed by someone so obviously unethical as Mr. Lord.
However, Booster isn't entirely without scruples (or pride). Following the example set by Dr. Light, he walks away from the complicated situation rather than let himself be used. What Booster doesn't realize is that Lord has planned for that, too. While Booster is giving his inevitable post-meeting press interview, lives are threatened. Despite the fact that he has just been emotionally crushed by Lord's con job, Booster selflessly jumps into action to save threatened innocents.
Inside the Justice Cave, Batman takes advantage of the chaotic situation. He orders his colleagues to observe Booster in action so that they judge what the newest hero on the scene is really made of. Thus, Booster Gold finds himself in solo conflict with longtime league foes the Royal Flush Gang.
Booster Gold is more than up to the challenge. Using a full array of his impressive technology-based powers and more than a little of his innate intelligence and verve, Booster defeats the four human members of the gang in as many pages.
The victory earns Booster a round of applause from observing leaguers. He even gets a smile from an approving Batman. Many people would have been irritated by Batman's refusal to aid them, but not Booster. The former quarterback is actually pleased to have an audience. He does love the limelight.
The afterparty is short-lived. The fifth and final member of the gang, the Amazo-like android Ace, crashes the scene to make quick work of the league's most powerful members. This leaves Booster Gold to save the day. Well, Booster Gold and his soon-to-be best friend, Blue Beetle. Having known one another for only a few minutes, the pair teams up to destroy the rampaging robot once and for all.
What began as a job interview leads results in Booster's dream coming true (and a dawning new friendship). Batman offers Booster full membership in the league in a show of appreciation and respect, giving the young hero the credibility he so desired (and earned).
How can you not love that?
The issue's script by Keith Giffen is as perfectly paced as the best action movies, and the dialogue by J.M. DeMatteis positively crackles with authenticity, wit, and enthusiasm. Booster Gold comes off as the hero the league needs, and the league itself is clearly a family in the making. Add in Kevin Maguire's unparalleled ability to express both action and emotion (not to mention his brilliantly "cheeky" cover), and you have a guaranteed recipe for success.
Did I say this is my favorite Booster Gold comic? Make it my favorite comic, period.
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Booster Gold hasn't been in a new release in weeks, so I hope you've been saving your money. Because he's in three titles today!
Logan Peterson, a longtime friend of this site, dropped me a line to say
I just finished skimming through the new comics coming out tomorrow as I was sorting through them at my store, and I made some exciting discoveries! Booster appears in not one, but two of tomorrow's releases: Superman #19 and Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #2. I won’t say anything to spoil them, but I wanted to give you the heads up!
I had suspected that Booster might show up in Superman (in response to some recent, high-profile events in the life of the Man of Tomorrow), but the appearance in Hell Arisen is a total surprise. (The way Logan words that leads me to believe that it might not be an entirely welcome one. But then, the book is titled Hell Arisen.)
This is the solicitation text for Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #2:
Apex predator Lex Luthor is on the hunt for the Batman Who Laughs. To catch his prey, he must follow a trail of broken heroes... leading him to Jim Gordon, one of the victims of the Batman Who Laughs' deadly virus that turned the heroic police commissioner into the worst version of himself. The trail leads Lex to a lonely cell in the Hall of Justice - but it's not the good guys who come to stop him. It's more of the Batman Who Laughs' dangerous operatives! And if they couldn't resist the influence of the Dark Multiverse, then how can Lex?
And while we're at it, this is for Superman #19:
One day later! What happens the day after Superman reveals his secret identity to the world? And what repercussions will his decision have across the entire DC Universe? Plus, Superman: president of Earth?
Wait a second. "President of Earth"? Is that a thing? I don't remember voting for that.
Anyway, what Logan failed to mention in his note is that Booster will also be featured in the new collection Justice League International Book One: Born Again, which reprints Justice League #1-6, Justice League International #7-17, Justice League Annual #1, Justice League International Annual #2, and Suicide Squad #13. That's a whole bunch of great 1980s Booster Gold adventures reprinted on good paper for the very reasonable (modern) price of $2 per comic.
Buy one of those and make Skeets happy! (Thanks, Logan.)
UPDATE: As you can see in the comments, Booster has also been spotted in Batman/Superman #6. He's everywhere!
Friday, January 3, 2020
Booster Gold was nowhere to be found in Local Comic Shops this past week... but his Earth-32 counterpart was, in this one panel from Dial H For Hero #10:
Dial H For Hero #10 written by Sam Humphries; art by Joe Quinones, Jordan Gibson, Dave Sharpe
Earth-32 was first seen in the 1994 Elseworlds' Batman: In Darkest Night, where Bruce Wayne became a Green Lantern. In fact, all the heroes and villains of Earth-32 are amalgams of two or more familiar characters. For example, here we see the Young Justice League International team comprised of heroes like Super-Martian, Wonderhawk, Aquaflash, Mr. Tornado, Dr. Fatestorm, and Starborg.
JLI fans will also recognize a Plastic Man/Blue Beetle hero and another based on some combination of Captain Atom and Booster Gold.
In this issue, Earth-32 is undergoing a Crisis of its own, so if you'd like to get your hands on the sole printed Plastic+Atom team-up, you better rush to your LCS to pick up Dial H #10 while their supply — or the universe — lasts.
Friday, November 15, 2019
What makes a hero super? The super powers! From awesome strength to zero-to-sixty speed, great superpowers are the most useful tricks in every famous costumed crime-fighter's tool kit. Michael Jon Carter knew this, and that's why he started his career with an impenetrable force field.
When he looted his equipment from the Space Museum, Booster Gold literally had his pick of powers, and he chose only the best from Superman's history. Perhaps none of his impressive array of powers are more notable or powerful than his force field belt.
First encountered in Action Comics #242 (1958), the original belt was the creation of Brainiac, a brilliant alien who claimed mastery of super-scientific forces. His "Ultra-Force Barrier," controlled via his belt remote, was strong enough to frustrate any attempt Superman made against him. The Ultra-Force Barrier was expandable enough to envelope entire space ships and whole planets. No matter the size, at full power it resisted anything used against it, from energy beams to projectiles to Men of Steel.
Brainiac would go on to become one of Earth's greatest foes, but his descendant, Brainiac 5 of the Legion of Super-Heroes, would become one of Earth's greatest allies. From his first appearance in Action Comics #276 (1961), Braniac 5 was using his own variation on his ancestor's technology to help make Supergirl even more powerful than her cousin, Superman. Like it's predecessor, Brainiac 5's Force-Shield Belt was resizable and could stop all radiation and matter alike, although its smaller, more portable size limited the duration it could be used.
Brainiac 5 would recreate his signature belt many times over the years, and he would occasionally lend them out to protect the lives of others. Once he even gave a copy to United States President Ronald Reagan (as seen in Booster Gold #9, 1986). Centuries later, that belt would be put on display in the Space Museum for a disgraced ex-football player to find. That thief would put it good use.
Booster Gold integrated the Force Field into his costume, relocating the controls from the belt to his gauntlets where he could more easily adjust its size, strength, and area of focus. The field proved its worth almost immediately, saving the young hero from an army of gunfire (in Booster Gold #3), massive bombs (Booster Gold #5), and Superman himself (Booster Gold #7). In addition to protecting himself, Booster has put the field to more creative uses destroying a incredibly toxic poison (in Booster Gold #17) and containing a rogue Green Lantern (Justice League International #19).
In many ways, the Force Field has become Booster Gold's signature power. And that's Boosterrific!
Justice League International #9 (1988)
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