- Booster Gold
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Friday, July 3, 2020
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 high-tech goggles.
Energy blasts, impenetrable force fields, flight: Booster Gold's best known powers are also the ones that show up the best on action-oriented comic book panels. But Booster's arsenal contains more than just power gauntlets and powered tights. He's also got a fancy pair of glasses which, while less flashy, can be just as useful.
Booster's goggles have been a part of his costume from the very beginning. Using components he stole from the Space Museum in the 25th century, Booster and Skeets integrated the goggles into the hood of his power-suit and fueled them with the same "little power rods" that supplied energy to his other technological abilities, as detailed in Booster's very first chronicled adventure detailed in Booster Gold volume 1 #8.
Though their technology isn't traceable to any particular hero or villain, their powers were clearly inspired by the incredible range of abilities of a certain Man of Tomorrow's Kryptonian eyes.
Booster has used the goggles' infrared filters to help him defeat the mad bomber Mister Twister in Booster Gold #5 (1986) and infiltrate the 1000's waterfront stronghold in Booster Gold #12 (1987). The magnifying ability came in handy when the Justice League needed to find a weak point in the otherwise indestructible hull of the alien Klaarsh spaceship in Justice League Quarterly #7 (1992), and the telescopic function was useful when traveling into the Old West to help Jonah Hex bring the warped Hootkins Gang to justice in All-Star Western #20 (2013).
Super strength is great if you want to break through walls, but a hero always knows which walls can be broken safely. Knowledge is real power, and nothing is better at gathering information than high-tech magnifying infrared goggles, just like the pair Booster Gold wears.
Friday, June 19, 2020
We've reached the halfway point of my list of the twelve best Booster Gold comics, and number 6 is arguably the darkest story in the list. As you can see from the cover of Superman #74, Doomsday has arrived.
This story is a tragedy. An alien monster has crashed on Earth and is marching his way towards Metropolis, leaving a trail of unimaginable destruction in its wake, including the broken body of Blue Beetle, as we see in the first panel.
Unfortunately for Mitch and his family, Doomsday's path leads straight through their house. Unfortunately for the Justice League, they are Mitch's only hope.
Dan Jurgens is at his best as a writer when he scales his stories down to a human level. That skill is on display here, as several early pages are devoted to the introduction of Mitch and his family. (Angry teenage Mitch is so very 90s, but that's when this comic was created.) They put a face on the danger, giving the audience a reason to care about Doomsday's rampage and creating a dramatic tension often missing from these sorts of super-heroic fisticuffs. We see the stakes driving the heroes to fight and win. If the heroes fail...
Well, heroes can't fail, can they?
The following page contains 8 consecutive panels of Booster Gold taking a beating unlike any he's seen before or since. It's not just brutal --
The issue makes it clear that Booster's sacrifice is a heroic one. Booster Gold is giving his life so that others may live. That's the definition of a real hero.
And that's why I include it among the The Best Booster Gold Stories Ever.
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
If you venture to your Local Comic Shop today, you may find the collected Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen TPB among the new releases. Then again, you may not. Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #3 was so popular, it's already been through three printings, so it's not hard to imagine that the trade collecting the whole series won't also be popular.
If you didn't know by now, Booster Gold can be seen in three of the Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen mini-series' four issues. He doesn't have a single line of dialogue in any of those issues, so it's kind of like a series of glorified cameo appearances.
And since we're on the subject of cameo appearances:
Superman: Man of Tomorrow #7, words by Dave Wielgosz; art by Miguel Menonca, Yasmine Putri, David Baron
On the bottom left you'll see Booster Gold appearing in the digital first Superman: Man of Tomorrow #7, now available at Comixology.com. Those stories will presumably be printed on real-world paper one of these days, though DC has yet to announce a date. I'll try to keep you posted. Thanks to fabri24cr for calling our attention to that.
Booster Gold is on the left side of this panel, too, though which Booster Gold from which corner of the Multiverse, I can't be sure. That image of Greg Capullo art comes from this recent Tweet from Scott Snyder, the writer behind this summer's multiverse-spanning Dark Nights: Death Metal event. The panel doesn't appear in Dark Nights: Death Metal #1, which was released yesterday, but you still might want to pick that comic up so you'll have a chance at deciphering what's happening when Booster does arrive on the scene. (Again, thanks to fabri24cr for deciphering that the panel has to be Death Metal-related.)
DCEASED: Dead Planet #1, words by Tom Taylor; at by Trevor Hairsine, Stefano Gaudinao, Gig Baldissini
Booster Gold appears on the right for a change in the upcoming DCEASED: Dead Planet #1. Why not the left side of the panel? Maybe because he's a ghost. (Well, not a ghost, exactly. Booster didn't die in DCEASED: A Good Day To Die so much as he was erased from history. Therefore, this is really more of an hallucinatory flashback courtesy the tortured memory of Jon Constantine than it is an actual cameo appearance.) Dead Planet #1 is due out
next week in two weeks, and I might have missed it if not for Booster booster Logan Peterson pointing it out. The preview is already available on CBR.com.
It's starting to look like the summer of Booster Gold.
Friday, May 8, 2020
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 a telepathically-controlled flight ring.
As a student of history, Michael "Booster" Carter modeled his superhero persona on Superman. In addition to strength, invulnerability, and long-range energy beams, he'd also need to be able to fly. To that end, he stole a Legion of Super-Heroes Flight Ring, created by Brainiac 5 in the pages of Adventure Comics #329 (1965).
In its original design, the ring was a simple metal band that provided a telepathically-controlled anti-gravity effect for those Legionnaires who could not fly under their own power. They soon became standard issue equipment for all Legionnaires. Even Superboy had one, though he rarely had need of it except in those few cases where he lost his powers, such as the time he visited Earth's past and found it lit by a red sun.
(If you squint at the panel above, you can see a flight ring there on Superboy's hand in this panel from Adventure Comics #133, also in 1965. This is the first time Superboy wore a Flight Ring.)
Brainiac 5 wasn't content with having a ring that only allowed flight. He eventually gave the ring other abilities, including sending emergency distress signals. He also improved its appeal by converting it to a gold signet-style ring showing a raised letter "L" in the center (first appearance in Adventure Comics #347). That's how the ring looked when it found its way into Booster Gold's arsenal in Booster Gold #1 (1985), and that's more or less how it looked when Booster Gold joined the Justice League in Justice League #4 (1987) and escaped from a Bialyan prison in Justice League International #17 (1988).
Booster's ring was originally depicted with a letter from the Roman alphabet. However, it sometimes was seen showing Interlac, the "inter-galactic universal language of the 30th century" which first appeared in Adventure Comics #379 (1969). By Booster Gold volume 2 #1 (2007), Booster's ring had changed to the stylized "L" on a black background that had been in use since Legion of Super-Heroes #41 (1993).
How could one ring alter its appearance so much? Well, the Legion of Super-Heroes have a tendency for getting involved in reality-warping time travel shenanigans. In fact, that's how a Legion of Super-Heroes ring from the 30th century ended up in the 25th-century Space Museum in the first place.
When Booster's debut in the 20th century drew the attention of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Brainiac 5 realized he had to leave his own flight ring in 1985 for Booster to be able to steal it in 2462 (as seen in Booster Gold #6). Therefore, the ring was available for Booster Gold to steal only because he had already stolen it. (It's best not to think too hard about that.)
If it sounds like Booster Gold creator Dan Jurgens was making things up as he went along, he was. His original plan, as revealed in Booster Gold: The Big Fall, was that instead of stealing Brainiac 5's ring from the Space Museum, Booster would have stolen Superboy's rarely used original ring from the Superman Museum!
That plan was scuttled by the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, which erased Superboy's adventures from history. Thus the original origin of Booster Gold's flight ring became just one more casualty of the universe-destroying Anti-Monitor. What a jerk.
Monday, April 6, 2020
For decades, the biggest knock against Booster Gold has been that he's only a hero because he stole his powers. His fans know that's not true.
With or without powers, Booster's always been a hero, as he proved on this day in 1993 in the pages of Justice League Europe #50, when he quite literally jumped into action with nothing but his wits and a sharp-looking pair of tights to protect him.
Justice League Europe #50, art by Ron Randall, Randy Elliott, and Gene D'angelo
This 54-page spectacular is the sixth and final chapter of the "Red Winter" storyline in which Green Lantern's old foe Sonar used his upgraded sound powers to disable the Justice League Europe and stage a successful coup of the former Soviet Bloc counties.
With their comrades down, the remaining active members of the Justice League International spring to the rescue. This includes Booster Gold — despite the fact that the same Doomsday that had recently befallen Superman had also destroyed Booster's 25th-century power suit and gauntlets, leaving him functionally no more powerful than a blind doctor.
Full credit to Booster for having the courage to campaign against a mind-controlling dictator with only his fists. However, it does leave him severely disadvantaged whenever a super-powered melee breaks out, as they often do in these sorts of situations. That means Booster spends most of the story on the sidelines, pointing out the obvious.
A real hero helps out however he can.
Another bit of trivia about this issue: it's the first story in which Booster Gold and his future teammate Godiva appear together. They don't share any dialogue, but they do get some great sound effects.
Ouch. Take care of yourself, Booster. Courage is great, but a man's got to know his limitations.
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