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Friday, March 1, 2019

Character Spotlight on Jack Soo

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, Jack Soo.

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

Jack Soo was the best young inventor at Scientific and Technological Advanced Research Laboratories (aka S.T.A.R. Labs) when he was hired to create a new female super suit for Goldstar, Inc (in Booster Gold Volume 1, #7). Soo delivered on his reputation.

The super suit he devised, a white and gold counterpoint to Booster Gold's familiar blue and gold suit, used magnetic waves to attract and repel metallic objects (Booster Gold #11). That suit is still in use by Booster's female sidekick, Goldstar.

© DC Comics

When Booster needed to take a trip back to the future, Soo introduced him to his former classmate, time-travel specialist Ripley "Rip" Hunter, as seen in Booster Gold #13. He accompanied them into the 25th century, where he learned quite a bit about future history and technology. Back in the present day, Soo leveraged that information to good advantage, leaving S.T.A.R. Labs to become the head of the newly rebranded Booster Gold International's research and design division (Booster Gold #16).

Dr. Soo would go on to help Booster Gold thwart a terrorist attack (Booster Gold #17), work with Skeets to design the C-4 Personal Drill Robot, nicknamed Seymour, to keep Booster Gold in fighting shape (Booster Gold #18), and reverse the color-sapping technology of the Rainbow Raider (Booster Gold #20).

© DC Comics

Jack was last seen attending the funeral of Michelle Carter, Booster's twin sister (Booster Gold #22). Booster Gold International declared bankruptcy soon after, and it seems likely that the multi-talented Dr. Soo returned to his old job at S.T.A.R. Labs where he has no doubt continued his stellar career in the field of super science.

For some insight into what creator Dan Jurgens was thinking when he introduced Jack Soo to the DCU, click here to read my post from June 12, 2015.

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Friday, June 12, 2015

30 Years of Inclusiveness

It cannot be denied that the original cast of Booster Gold was pale. Michael Carter was white. Trixie Collins was white. Dirk Davis was white. About the only characters in the first six issues who weren't white were Booster's orange cats, Jack and Jill. (Hey, it's not Booster's fault that Metropolis was settled almost exclusively by Western Europeans and Kryptonians.)

The eventual introduction of supporting cast member Dr. Jack Soo in Booster Gold #7 finally provided an injection of some much needed color.

© DC Comics

While Soo's specific heritage is never addressed, his tan skin, dark hair, and narrow eyes indicate Asian ethnicity. "Soo" also happens to be a Westernization of the fairly common Chinese surname "Su."

Of course, it's hard not to notice the sudden appearance of an ethnic minority in a comic full of white characters. But was Asian the right race for Booster Gold's first new supporting character? I mean, isn't "Asian scientist" a little cliched?

As always, I turned to creator Dan Jurgens for the answer.

Yes, we realized that we need to have a more diverse cast.

I would also add that "Asian scientist" might seem a bit stereotypical now, but it certainly wasn't 30 years ago.

Jurgens has a point there. While ethnic Asians make up almost 15% of all modern science, technology, engineering, and technology jobs in America today (second in percentage only to — you guessed it — whites), that number was closer to 5% in 1980 according to

The True Story of Booster Gold

Thanks to Dan Jurgens for being both culturally sensitive and historically accurate.

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