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Friday, October 6, 2023

Character Spotlight (Back) on Rani

I keep an eye on the Google search queries that lead people here to Most of them are usually what you might expect: "best Booster Gold comics," "Booster Gold powers," "why do people like Booster gold?" But last month I spotted something odd: searches looking for information on "Rani."

As it happens, we haven't seen Rani in a comic book since 2011, so I can't guess what would have anyone searching her out in 2023. But mine is not to question why.

Instead, in order to help out whoever out there might be curious about Booster Gold's "daughter," let me re-run a post that I originally presented in 2019 as part of my "People in His Neighborhood" series on supporting characters in Booster Gold comics.

The life of any comic book hero would be a lonely one if not for the many characters who have made up their supporting cast. Just as Superman has Lois Lane and Batman has Alfred, Booster Gold has also shared his adventures with quite a few people over the years. Today we look at one of those, Rani.

The People in His Neighborhood: spotlighting the characters who have made Booster Gold such a star

In the 30th century, when the evil god Darkseid will take over the planet Daxam in what will become known as "The Great Darkness Saga," time-traveler Booster Gold will do what he can to save innocent lives (as seen in Booster Gold Volume 2, #32). Unfortunately for everyone, Booster is no match for an army of billions of super-powered Daxamites, and he manages to save only one child, little orphan Rani.

© DC Comics

With Rani's foster parents having fallen victim to Darkseid's invasion, Booster has little choice but to take the poor girl home with him to 21st-century Arizona where she could be cared for by Time Master Rip Hunter, who unbeknownst to Booster is his real son. Rani nicknamed Rip "Boppy" after her own grandfather (Booster Gold #33). Hunter is concerned that Booster had damaged the space-time continuum by bringing Rani back into her past, but Booster's twin sister, Michelle, refuses to allow them to send the little girl back to a death sentence in the future (Booster Gold #34). Just like that, Rani became part of Booster's family, having free rein of Hunter's Arizona Time Lab compound.

Despite her young age, Rani has an advanced knowledge of technology (Booster Gold #35) and a drive to join the family business. In Booster Gold #38, she pilots a stolen time sphere to 1943 to confront Maxwell Lord's parents before he was born, and would later "borrow" Michelle's Goldstar costume (Booster Gold #39). In response, Michelle grounded her for two whole days.

© DC Comics

Rani was mature for her age, but she would understandably continue to be traumatized by her experiences on Daxam. For example, when Doctor Nishtikeit and his time-traveling Nazis attacked Hunter's Time Lab (in Booster Gold #41), Rani suffered a prolonged PTSD episode that only resolved when Booster returned to "rescue" her. As seen in Booster Gold #42, Rani cried for the entire duration of Booster's 25th-century prison sentence (though Booster was away for only 10 minutes of her relative time in the 21st century). So far as she is concerned, Booster is her new daddy, and he treats her like the daughter he never had.

In the last days before Flashpoint changed history and destroyed everyone's memories of the history of the world that was, Rani was fittingly last seen in Booster Gold #43 on 30th-century missing child poster.

© DC Comics

"The Great Darkness Saga" is still in Booster Gold's future. Will Rani be there? Will Booster Gold save her? Only time will tell.

Other People in Booster Gold's Neighborhood:

Booster Gold's sidekick, Skeets
Booster Gold's twin sister, Michelle Carter
Booster Gold's mother, Ma Carter
Booster Gold's 20th-century ancestor, Daniel Carter
Booster Gold's "daughter," Rani
Booster Gold's boss (and son), Rip Hunter
Booster Gold's secretary, Trixie Collins
Booster Gold's business manager, Dirk Davis
Vice President of Booster Gold International, Mackenzie Garrison
Booster Gold's first love, Monica Lake
Booster Gold's first foe, Blackguard
creators of the Booster Gold comic book, Benny and Marty
the voice of Booster Gold's conscience, Nurse Devlin
the brilliant scientist who created Goldstar, Jack Soo
the mad scientist who hacked Skeets, Doctor Shocker
the bomber who almost killed Booster Gold, Mister Twister

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