- Booster Gold
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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.
Friday, January 11, 2019
Max Lord is the big "winner" receiving a clear majority of the vote, so I feel comfortable declaring him Booster Gold's arch nemesis, Rebirth continuity be damned!
Last week's poll question: Which villain do you consider to be Booster Gold's arch-enemy? (47 votes)
(If you voted "someone else," who did you have in mind? Dirk Davis?)
While we're on the subject of villains, someone has been making Booster Gold's life miserable recently in the pages of Heroes in Crisis. (We all agree Booster is innocent, right? Right.) The identity of the real culprit has been the subject of much debate recently as the series nears its halfway point.
One popular Internet theory is that the real villain is Skeets. This is mostly based on one panel in Batman #50 that remains unexplained. The link between these two stories is writer Tom King. Could he have been dropping Heroes in Crisis clues in Batman? I doubt it. I just can't believe that he'd crib so blatantly from 52.
The manager of my Local Comic Shop thinks that the mastermind behind the murders is Psycho Pirate. For those who don't know, Psycho Pirate — a character with key ties to the biggest crisis, Crisis on Infinite Earths — has the ability to manipulate emotions, a power that fits well into a story advertised as being about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (For what it's worth, PP is also in the aforementioned panel with Skeets in Batman #50. But then so was the Joker. Joker can't be behind all this, can he?)
Personally, I've decided that there aren't really any murders in Heroes in Crisis. I think it's all just one ongoing computer simulation designed to.... Well, I'm not sure what it's designed to do. Unfortunately, no one can be told what the matrix is. We'll all have to see it for ourselves.
If you need some evidence to support your pet theory, Vaneta Rogers put together a list of the clues at Newsarama.com. Take a look and see if you can't solve these crimes before Booster Gold does.
Monday, January 7, 2019
What does it take to make a villain a hero's arch-enemy? If it's familiarity, then the villains vying for Booster Gold's most-hated award must be one of these:
The Director (The 1000): The Director was certainly the most dominant of Booster's early villains, racking up 8 encounters before his untimely demise.
Black Beetle: The villain with the most central role in Booster Gold's second volume, Black Beetle crossed paths with our hero 12 times with hints of more to come. Unfortunately, his story will probably remain forever untold thanks to Flashpoint and the arrival of the New 52.
Mr. Mind: Mister Mind has a surprisingly high count of 19 encounters with Booster Gold, a statistic increased both by his tendency to masquerade undetected as Booster's allies and his role in the weekly 52 title.
Maxwell Lord IV: Few characters have such frequently recurring roles in Booster's adventures as Max Lord, who has amassed a total of 65 encounters with our hero to date. Sure, most of those appearances were in supporting roles for the Justice League International (and all of those appearances take place outside modern Rebirth DCnU continuity), but nothing makes for a better antagonist than a former friend and mentor gone bad.
Now that you've seen the numbers, what do you say? Which villain deserves the title of Booster Gold's arch-nemesis?
This week's poll question: Which villain do you consider to be Booster Gold's arch-enemy? Please visit the Boosterrific Polls page to view results for this week's poll.
Friday, December 14, 2018
Continuing Monday's discussion of who I would put in Booster Gold's rogues gallery: Booster Gold is unique among DC's heroes because his "secret" identity is also heroic. Booster hides his job as multiverse-spanning Time Master behind his public persona of glory-hogging Justice Leaguer. That means that he needs two sets of rogues, one to oppose each role.
When considering who I would include in either set of Booster's foes, I focused on characters who thematically matched Booster's personality, history, skills, and ideals. I generally gave extra weight to characters Booster has some experience with in the past, but I didn't let that get in the way of two who have never appeared in the same comic as our hero but make great foils to contrast Booster's greatest flaws.
Presented in alphabetical order, these are my top six suggestions to comprise the Rogues Gallery of Booster Gold, time-traveling member of the Justice League.
Broderick, Duela Dent, Maxwell Lord, Royal Flush Gang, Sportsmaster, T.O. Morrow
Broderick. Most super villains are obsessed with their heroes, and who has more cause to hate Bootser Gold than a federal agent from the future who pursed criminal Michael Jon "Booster" Carter into the present and got stuck here? Watching Booster rise to fame and fortune while he was locked away from friends and family... that sounds to me like a good reason to hold a grudge.
Duela Dent, aka The Joker's Daughter. In many ways, Duela is the anti-Micheal Jon Carter. Just as Booster models himself after the 20th-century heroes he idolized, she is obsessed with villains and has gone out of her way to associate herself with them in a desperate need for acceptance and validation. I think she would be ideal for an ongoing character study of Booster's more questionable psychological and ethical motivations. (While the New 52 has made Duela darker, I don't see why Rebirth couldn't mover her closer to her multiverse-spanning pre-Flashpoint origins.)
Maxwell Lord. Corporate raider, employer, rival, murderer, manipulator: for so many reasons, Max should be Booster's arch nemesis in any timeline.
Royal Flush Gang. Booster's first Justice League foes are a visual symbol of Booster's greatest mistake: the gamble that nearly ruined his life. They'll always be associated with Booster Gold, and they always should be.
Sportsmaster: Stop me if this sounds familiar: Lawrence "Crusher" Crock was a brilliant athlete who cheated at football and turned to theft. Just as Duela darkly reflects Booster's psychology, Sportsmaster is a cautionary tale about his actual life choices. What do you do when confronted with someone who has made all the same choices as you did but turned out wrong? Sportsmaster could be Booster's own reclamation project.
T.O. Morrow. Best known as the father of the Red Tornado, T.O. Morrow invented a television that allowed him to see into the future and use its technology to lead a life of crime and triumph over the Justice League itself. Not only has Morrow tangentially crossed paths with Booster on many occasions over the years, he is capable of understanding Booster's "past" and using it against him to gain leverage in his criminal enterprises going forward.
Those are my top picks. Who have I missed? Who would you have chosen instead?
We'll discuss my choices for villains to battle Booster Gold in his more important (and far less public) role as a Time Master next week.
Monday, September 4, 2017
Labor Day is intended to celebrate the labor movement by giving everyone a day off from work. Some of us do a better job of not working than others. Take this example by Booster Gold:
Whatever you're doing to celebrate Labor Day today, work twice as hard at it for me!
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