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Monday, May 20, 2019

Skeets Syndrome

There isn't much ambiguity about how Booster boosters feel about Skeets.

Last week's poll question: Is Skeets a sentient artificial being? (39 votes)

Is Skeets a sentient artificial being?

I'm one of the few who voted "no." Maybe I'm wrong. That's the best part of being a rational being: the ability to learn.

© DC Comics

Maybe one of these days DC will investigate Skeets' intelligence further in a future Booster Gold series. Skeets could teach us all a thing or two.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Blade Runner 2462

I was in the beginning stages of writing another "People in His Neighborhood" Booster Gold supporting character post about Skeets when I got hung up on a single question: Is Skeets sentient?

It's not an easy question to answer. Putting aside the deeper philosophical and metaphysical quandaries of what reality is and whether anything truly has free will, let's focus on the arbitrarily narrow definition of a sentient artificial intelligence as a man-made creature that doesn't merely simulate human behavior but is functionally indistinguishable from a rational being.

This question is really integral to the development of Booster Gold as a heroic character. When Michael Carter stole his first Time Sphere to flee from the 25th century in Booster Gold volume 1, he forced Skeets to come with him. If Skeets is a glorified security camera, then the action was theft. However, if Skeets was a sentient employee, Booster is guilty of kidnapping.

© DC Comics

While Booster has usually treated Skeets as a coach and companion — usually referring to it with the masculine pronouns "he"/"him" — it's telling that Booster's twin sister, Michelle, has always treated Skeets like a second-class citizen. If sentient A.I. exists in the 25th century and Michelle's dismissive attitude is common, how is her behavior any different than the racism and sexism that cause so many societal problems of the 20th century? (If Skeets was a sentient machine forced to work as a slave for the Space Museum, would that make Booster a freedom fighter?)

The biggest obstacle to answering the question of Skeets' consciousness is the relatively few solo adventures it has had. Skeets has almost always been seen acting in service to Booster, who characteristically gives very little consideration to his floating "friend." (This shouldn't be considered as evidence against sentience. Selfishness has always been Booster's biggest flaw.) The only time that the reader has ever been given access to Skeet's thoughts were late in the run of Booster Gold volume 2. Those few panels imply that Skeets was gaining a sentience it was previously denied.

© DC Comics

Then came the New 52. Convergence Booster Gold revised Skeets' origin. This time, Booster stole Skeets from its well-armed "corporate overlords" via a briefcase. Once again, the question of sentience remains unaddressed. Theft? Kidnapping? Emancipation? The answers remain vague.

Should Skeets be granted rights equal to any other human being, or should it continue to be treated like any other tool in Booster's high-tech arsenal? What do you think?

This week's poll question: Is Skeets a sentient artificial being? Please visit the Boosterrific Polls page to view results for this week's poll.

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Friday, March 15, 2019

Pointing the Finger

If you look at that Heroes in Crisis house ad I reposted on Monday, you'll see that DC claimed the list of potential murders is limited to

Beast Boy
Booster Gold
Green Arrow
Harley Quinn
John Constantine
Kyle Rayner
Lex Luthor
Mr. Terrific
Poison Ivy
Red Robin
The Atom
The Riddler
Wally West
Wonder Woman

So that was the list I used when I created Monday's poll asking who Booster boosters believe the Sanctuary killer really is.

Given that we already know that Booster Gold and Harley Quinn accuse one another of being "the" murderer, they had to be poll options. Internet rumors have fingered Wally West for months, so I included him. I chose Poison Ivy to round out the poll options because other than Superman and Wonder Woman, neither of whom is likely to have gone kill crazy, Ivy is the only other character in the list who has actually been mentioned in the series so far. I have a hard time believing that even Tom King would resolve his story by revealing a character that wasn't in any of the previous issues.

Given those four options, you chose none of the above.

Last week's poll question: Who is responsible for the deaths at Sanctuary as seen in Heroes in Crisis? (38 votes)

Who is responsible for the deaths at Sanctuary as seen in <em>Heroes in Crisis</em>?

So who are you thinking?

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Monday, March 11, 2019

Elementary, My Dear

Now that we're 2/3 of the way through Heroes in Crisis, we should have all the players, even if we still don't know all the clues. That's means it's finally time to start guessing. Whondunnit?

© DC Comics

DC released the above tease in the pages of DC Nation #2 last July. Note the promise that one of the indicated characters will be "a murderer," two would be murdered, and three would be accused. Let's pretend that DC was playing fair.

Thus far, it seems only Booster and Harley have been accused. Will share some blame? Aren't three of the characters in that ad dead? And, most importantly, who's the guilty party?

This week's poll question: Who is responsible for the deaths at Sanctuary as seen in Heroes in Crisis? Please visit the Boosterrific Polls page to view results for this week's poll.

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Friday, February 1, 2019

Say Goodnight, Gracey

In October 2010, as Time Master: Vanishing Point was just rolling out, I asked "Which character would you like to see as Booster Gold's future wife?" The winner of that poll was Trixie Collins.

© DC Comics

In November 2015, after Convergence revealed all DC Continuities still existed, I asked "Which character would you expect to see revealed as Booster Gold's future wife?" Trixie won that vote, too.

© DC Comics

So who will win this year? One guess.

Last week's poll question: Who was Booster Gold's wife in Time Master: Vanishing Point? (43 votes)

Who was Booster Gold's wife in <em>Time Master: Vanishing Point</em>?

People like Trixie. I don't blame them. I like her, too. But I don't think Jurgens ever intended her to marry Booster Gold any more than he did Blair Butler or Power Girl (both hinted at in Booster Gold #28).

You'll note that Sondra Crain was the least popular option in all three polls. For those too young to remember, Crain was anti-hero of "The Tomorrow Memory," climaxing in Booster Gold #30. Her goal was to prevent the past that created her in the hopes of making a better future. However, over the course of the story, she fails at her original goal. In fact, the only thing that she truly manages to accomplish is the salvation of young Gracey Greene.

© DC Comics

As you might have realized by now, Gracey is my guess for Booster's wife. Granted, she may seem underage to be romancing our hero, but that's only because you're not thinking fourth dimensionally. From the right point of view, she is nearly five hundred years older than Micheal "Booster" Carter.

My guess isn't only based on Gracey's blond hair and fair skin. It also happens that Jurgens was working on Time Masters: Vanishing Point at the same time that "The Tomorrow Memory" was going to print. I don't think it's a coincidence he saved one person (only one!) from the destruction of Coast City in a story that was otherwise about how changing time was impossible unless he had a plan for that character.

Am I right? Who knows. Given how notoriously tight-lipped Jurgens is about his intentions and abandoned story threads, it may be decades or more before we ever get an "official" answer to this question.

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