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Boosterrific.com: The Complete, Annotated Adventures of Booster Gold
Boosterrific.com: The Complete, Annotated Adventures of Booster Gold

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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Coming Soon: Underworld Unleashed Again

Booster Gold doesn't show up in any of DC's books this week, so let's talk about next week, where we should expect our hero to make a cameo appearance in Underworld Unleashed: The 25th Anniversary Edition.

For those of you who weren't reading comics in 1995, Underworld Unleashed was that year's universe-wide "crisis" crossover event. The demon Neron engaged in a campaign tempting the inhabitants of the DCU to sell their souls for a taste of greater power and influence

For obvious reasons, many villains were quick to agree to the bargain, and even some heroes found the temptation impossible to resist. Those who accepted were warped into XTREME versions of their former selves. (The influence of Underworld Unleashed is painfully evident in the current, never-ending Death Metal series, which probably plays a role in DC's decision to reprint it now.)

Eventually, the remaining heroes rallied their fractured teams (divided at the time into the Justice League America, Justice League Task Force, and Extreme Justice) to confront the growing evil.

© DC Comics
Sometimes these group panels are like playing "Where's Booster?"

Despite being far from a moral paragon, Booster Gold was never approached by Neron, leaving our hero at the fringes of the story. He made cameo appearances in only two panels in the three issues in the mini-series (issues #2 and #3). And while the crossover event spilled over into two issues of the ongoing Extreme Justice series, Booster was mired in a sub-plot about Firestorm's immaturity and missed out on events when Star Sapphire made life difficult for his teammates in issue #10.

(Ironically, Booster would succumb to the temptations of a different evil manipulator just two months later in Extreme Justice #12 as culmination of a long-running subplot. One imagines that Extreme Justice editor Ruben Diaz, knowing what he had planned for future issues of his series, used his influence as assistant editor of Underworld Unleashed to keep Booster out of the event. That's the sort of role that editors used to play behind the scenes before DC Comics' parent company Warner Bros decided they were an unnecessary expense.)

If you like the 1990s DCU, especially if you like the villains, then you'll get a kick out of the 25th anniversary collection. Personally, I'm still saving up for the inevitable Extreme Justice omnibus. I mean, if DC is reprinting the 90s, they might as well go straight for the top (or bottom, depending on your point of view).

Comments (0) | Add a Comment | Tags: extreme justice neron underworld unleashed


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