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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Super Power Spotlight on the Booster Shots

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 energy blasting Booster Shots.

Dressing for Success: The futuristic super powers of Booster Gold

At the outset of his super-heroic career, Booster Gold knew he would need offensive weapons to defeat the forces of evil. That is why, given his choice of many amazing inventions housed in the Space Museum, he selected wrist-mounted Energy Blasters.

In Booster Gold #6 (1986), Skeets tells Superman that they stole "gloves and control bands that were once worn by an alien menace." The true identity of this "alien menace" has never been clarified in any of Booster's published adventures, but Superman may have a clue. The technology may be alien, but it was crafted into powerful gauntlets by none other than Superman's oldest foe, Lex Luthor!

© DC Comics

Lex has been wearing specially tailored suits to fight Superman since Superman #282 (1974). His purple and green suits soon became his trademark. Super genius that he is, Lex kept his suit's tool belt stocked with to whatever inventions he would need for the specific crime he was committing. Those tools included such classics as jet boots, robot controls, finger-mounted gravity casters, age-regressing omega barriers, age-restoring pills, and, of course, enough pockets for forty cakes.

However, none of that was enough to defeat The Man of Steel, so in Action Comics #544 (1983), Luthor fled Earth for the planet Lexor, named in his honor. (For an explanation of how an entire planet could consider a creep like Lex Luthor a hero, see "The Showdown Between Luthor and Superman!" in 1963's Superman #164.) Lexor had once been home to a race of advanced scientists, and Luthor adapted their technology into a "warsuit" that would allow him to defeat Superman once and for all. Or so he hoped.

© DC Comics

The new power suit was indeed a considerable upgrade over what came before. Its energy gauntlets were so strong, they could destroy space-going vessels with a single blast. Alas, it was not powerful enough to make Luthor Superman's equal. It was, however, powerful enough to accidentally destroy Lexor (and Luthor's wife and child along with it). With great power can come great regrets.

Superman vowed to destroy the warsuit once and for all in Superman Annual #12 (published in 1986 but set in pre-Crisis, Silver Age continuity). How it survived to make its way from the 20th century to the 25th-century Space Museum will likely always remain a mystery, but we don't have to wonder whether they were the one and the same thanks to the original pencils from Booster Gold #6 included in the superb collection Booster Gold: the Big Fall.

© DC Comics

Since returning to the 20th century, Booster Gold has integrated the power gauntlets into his crime-fighting arsenal. Renaming them "Booster Shots," he has used them as his primary weapon in his eternal quest to rid the multiverse of those who would destroy it. If there were any left, the citizens of Lexor would be proud.

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Friday, November 15, 2019

Super Power Spotlight on the Force Field Belt

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.

Dressing for Success: The futuristic super powers of Booster Gold

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.

© DC Comics

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.

© DC Comics

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!

© DC Comics
Justice League International #9 (1988)

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Super Powers Collection of the Future

For the better part of the past decade, someone identified as "Industrial Toy Werks" has been selling a series of custom action figures as though they were foreign bootlegs of the popular but long-discontinued Kenner Super Power Collection. Included in this line of figures was a Booster Gold, and one of those showed up on this past week.

Booster Gold Super Powers Collection by Industrial Toy Werks
Photos from auction by primetime_njd

ITW has become known as a pretty high quality bootleg, especially considering the detailing put into the custom blister card packaging. The Booster Gold card is no exception, reusing art from the DC Heroes role-playing game to make a card that you'd expect to find on a legitimate Super Powers Collection product.

If you Google this figure (or look at the back of the card), you'll see other ITW Booster Gold figures painted with gold paint. That color scheme was probably influenced by the Justice League Unlimited figure released in 2004. This custom is a more comic-accurate yellow, like the second Booster Gold JLU figure released in 2009. How many of these did ITW make?

Booster Gold Super Powers Collection by Industrial Toy Werks

Eagle-eyed critics might also notice that the figure's gloves are blue and his bracelets are gold. Booster's classic, high-collar costume had gold gloves and blue bracelets. The colors were inverted in Booster's 2007 collarless redesign. Even I'll admit that complaining about that sort of detail about a custom figure is simply nitpicking.

The auction is closed now, but the seller was asking $269.99 (+ $9.95 shipping)! That's about the going rate for original Super Powers figures still on their original card. That's a lot of money. If Booster Gold were here, no doubt he'd want his cut.

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Friday, December 4, 2015

30 Years of Power

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the first appearance of Booster Gold, I've spent the year asking Dan Jurgens questions about Booster Gold's earliest adventures. Today I conclude this year-long column with two final questions about Booster's powers.

In the pages of Secret Origins #35 (1989), Mark Waid pointed out that all of Booster's original powers and abilities were based on equipment found in Superman's pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths adventures, including Superboy's Legion flight-ring, Brainiac's force-field, and Lex Luthor's power suit. Most of those original powers are still part of Booster's ability set today, except for the Mass Dispersal Force, originally based on Jor-El's Phantom Zone Projector.

© DC Comics

Being able to dematerialize and rematerialize matter at will is a pretty significant power. I asked Jurgens why it faded into the land of forgotten powers so quickly.

People seemed to have a hard time grasping what it was.

On top of that, I'd had a conversation with a couple of people at DC who thought it seems a bit too "magical". So, with that in mind, we dropped it.

On the other hand, one of the most enduring components of Booster's power set didn't have any clear antecedent: his Booster Shots ray blasts.

© DC Comics

What could have inspired Jurgens to give Booster ranged gauntlet attacks? And perhaps more importantly, which came first, the power or the "pun"-ny name?

Good question!

The name really did come first in that case. I had been scrawling ideas in a note bad -- just sort of an idea matrix, if you will -- and wrote down "Booster Shots".

Once I did that, I simply had to find a way to use it!

There you have it. (And yes, I did save that one for last because Jurgens said it was a good question. Hooray, me.)

The True Story of Booster Gold

Thank you, Dan Jurgens. I've really enjoyed quizzing you on thirty-year-old trivia.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Today marks the observance of America Recycles Day, a day organized by Keep America Beautiful to promote national awareness of the benefits of waste recycling. Since is devoted to comic books, it is only natural that we celebrate with comic books, and in today's case, action figures!

DC's New 52 is nothing but an experiment in recycling ideas. I asked last week what you thought about recycling one of Booster's oldest powers, and a plurality of today's voters act like they've never even heard of it! Seriously, people, you're reading a site called Boosterrific and you haven't checked out our section on Booster Gold's powers?

Last week's poll question: Should Booster Gold use his long-ignored Mass Dispersal Force power in future adventures on TV or in the DCnU? (37 votes)

Should Booster Gold use his long-ignored Mass Dispersal Force power in future adventures on TV or in the DCnU?

Today, through their website Matty Collector, Mattel releases Justice League Unlimited Booster Gold for the the last time. This release is part of the "Final Figures" series of JLU figures from Mattel, as the company tries to clean out their warehouse on this discontinued line of figures. The Booster in this set has been previously released in two different paints, so today's Booster Gold figure is really nothing new. That makes this Booster the perfect spokesman for America Recycles Day!

Booster aside, this "Final Figures" series 3-pack also includes exclusive versions of Blue Beetle and Fire, an ideal collectible for fans of the original Justice League International. If you're interested in acquiring limited edition set, act fast! Matty Collector figures don't last long, and this thirty dollar 3-pack is limited to quantities of 10. Hopefully, given Mattel's valiant effort at recycling figures, there will be enough sets to go to everybody who wants one.

Speaking of action figures, it seemed that Booster Gold got a new figure every year in recent years, but nothing since Flashpoint. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Comments (1) | Add a Comment | Tags: action figures america recycles day holidays polls powers

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