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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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Monday, June 13, 2022

This Day in History: Tough on Crime

If you've seen any movie filmed in New York City during the 1970s and 80s, you know that town was an absolute cesspool overflowing with garbage and urban blight. Thankfully, one visionary man bucked the system, seized power, and began cleaning up the city in the mid 1990s.

© DC Comics

© DC Comics

© DC Comics

Yes, Booster. That man was the dictator Monarch. And readers of Extreme Justice #7, released on this date in 1995, would have recognized him as a wolf in sheep's clothing. Therefore, the question at the heart of this story isn't whether or not the familiar Monarch had become a sheep, but just which wolf he was.

First, a bit of backstory. Debuting in Armageddon 2001 #1 (1991), Monarch was a corrupted hero who had grown so frustrated at how bad the world was being run, he was determined to take it over himself. The time-traveling would-be world dictator (co-created by former Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Archie Goodwin with shades of Doctor Doom and Kang the Conqueror) had already had run-ins with almost every super hero on Earth.

What makes Monarch particularly unique in the DC Universe isn't the character's origins or motivations, but his very complicated relationship with Captain Atom. See, as originally planned, Monarch *was* Captain Atom. DC's writers and artists seeded clues to Monarch's true identity for months, but when news of the planned reveal leaked to the general public, editors made a last-minute change to his secret identity.

However, no one liked the change (perhaps because of all the strong clues already in print to the contrary), and thus would begin years of stories revising Monarch's identity and intentions. Stories like this one.

© DC Comics

Those who remember Extreme Justice often remember the "extreme" art, which makes it easy to say that the strength of the series was writer Dan Vado's character-driven melodramas and morality plays. What is the cost of being a hero? What defines a villain? Who are we all, really? This issue doesn't answer those questions, but life is about the journey, not the destination.

Just remember to never, ever trust a tyrant like Monarch.

© DC Comics

Especially not if your name is Booster Gold.

Comments (0) | Add a Comment | Tags: blue beetle captain atom dan vado extreme justice monarch


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