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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.

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Monday, December 17, 2018

Greatest Villains You've Never Heard Of

Friday, I gave you my personal picks to Booster Gold's public Rogues Gallery. But who should Booster be fighting in his "secret" identity?

Presented in alphabetical order, these are my top six suggestions to comprise the Rogues Gallery of Booster Gold, Time Master.

Black Beetle, Chronos (Walker Gabriel), Lady Chronos, Mr. Mind, Monarch, Weapons Master
Black Beetle, Chronos (Walker Gabriel), Lady Chronos, Mr. Mind, Monarch, Weapons Master

Black Beetle. Whoever he is, Black Beetle has consistently been a thorn in Booster Gold's side since our hero's earliest adventures as Rip Hunter's time-traveling associate. Few villains have caused Booster such emotional distress or been such a threat to the time-space continuum. For those reasons alone, Black Beetle should be considered Booster's most dangerous foe.

Chronos II. A time-traveling thief with strong opposition to the Linear Men and his own city outside of time, Walker Gabriel makes a great candidate for long-running anti-hero who could work at odds to Booster Gold's directives to maintain an ideal history of the DCU. Who knows, given enough time, they could even learn to admit a grudging respect for one another's work.

Lady Chronos. Booster Gold needs a femme fatale working at cross paths to test both his abilities and his resolve. In her previous encounters with Booster Gold, Lady Chronos teased our hero with a glimpse of more relationship to come. Let the sparks fly! (Adding Gabriel to this dynamic could be even better: multiple Chronoses and Booster Gold all working to "fix" the same problem in their own way with their own motivations and ethics and romantic entanglements. Yeah, I'd read that.)

Mr. Mind. No villain has appeared in more issues with Booster Gold than the Venusian worm who has so bedeviled Captain Marvel. That association should continue, as it seems highly improbable that the devious Mind would ever forgive Booster for thwarting his universe-dominating plans — in multiple timelines!

Monarch. The alternate-universe Nathaniel Adam, normally associated with Captain Atom, may be the most unlikely name on my list, but keep in mind that his history is also interwoven with Booster Gold — who once foiled Monarch's plans only through an accident of his genetic history — and Waverider and the Linear Men. (And Booster's long association with Atom should probably allow him some crossover in foes. After all, the uber-militaristic Captain Atom is just as all-American as uber-capitalistic Booster Gold.) In his many iterations throughout the multiverse, Monarch has been incredibly powerful and hell-bent on universal domination, and no Time Master should ignore him. (Honestly, I'd put Monarch on this list if for no other reason than to see if Booster could "correct" the twist ending of Armageddon 2001.)

Weapons Master. He's not generally recognized as being in the same league as Mr. Mind or Monarch, but any recurring time-traveling foe of the Justice League should cause concern for anyone. More importantly, Weapons Master travels through time and steals history's greatest weapons to use against his foes, which means that he and Booster Gold think a lot alike. It would be fun to see the two of them matching wits across spacetime.

Those are my top picks. Do you agree? Who did I leave out?

Comments (2) | Add a Comment | Tags: black beetle lady chronos monarch villains walker gabriel weapons master

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