- Booster Gold
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Wednesday, July 14, 2021
This name drop is the closest that Booster Gold comes to making an appearance in this week's The Flash 2021 Annual:
words by Jeremy Adams, art by Fernando Pasarin, Brandon Peterson, Hi Fi, Michael Atiyeh, Steve Wands
For what it's worth, it's cool that Booster and Rip Hunter are still Time Masters in the DCU. Though how Green Arrow knows Booster is a time cop isn't clear. Do secret identities mean *nothing* in modern comic books? And if everyone knows that Booster Gold is a time cop, why hasn't anyone called him in to help while Wally West has been bouncing through time for the past few months? Maybe it's best if I don't climb down this rabbit hole....
Still, I have to admit that I had expected more in an issue revisiting the events detailed in Heroes in Crisis. Especially since a key element of that story was Wally framing Booster Gold for murder.
The DC Universe has been rebooted (twice!) since Heroes in Crisis. It would be so easy to say that the murders at Sanctuary didn't happen. I won't spoil any of the details of the issue, but The Flash 2021 Annual doesn't want to ignore all of that past, just the parts that are inconvenient. Inconvenient to Wally West, I mean.
Gunfire and Lagoon Boy might be alive again somewhere in the Multiverse. (Thanks, Infinite Frontier!) And Professor Zoom has taken credit as the true puppet master behind Wally West's criminal acts. (Thanks, Flash Forward!) Apparently now we need another excuse for why none of whatever happened was really Wally's fault in the first place. (Thanks, The Flash 2020 Annual!) Funny how one bad story can generate a cottage industry of retcons. (Thanks, Tom King!)
Anyway, Booster has forgiven Wally, and The Flash 2021 Annual wants us all to follow suit. So I'll try to forgive it its flaws. Any book that finally gets rid of Wally's over-detailed New 52 costume can't be all bad.
Is this the last appearance of the Gold Beetle? Only time will tell.
Friday, January 29, 2021
It's been three weeks since Generations: Shattered was released, so you should have your copy by now, yes? Good. Because we're going to talk about it today. Specifically, we're going to talk about this panel:
art by John Romita, Jr., Danny Miki, Hi-Fi
If you've been reading DC Comics for a long of time, you may recognize most of those people, but Booster boosters in particular should probably have a pretty good idea who the Linear Men are. This is an unusual line-up of that team. It's no coincidence that many of them directly pair up with a Multiversal heroic counterpart, a contrivance that is explained in the story as the nearly omnipotent Dominus bends reality to his will.
But even accepting that, one of those Linear Men stands out. Can you spot which one?
Hint: It's this guy.
Whoever that guy is, I doubt anyone calls him "Rayak the Ravager."
Quick history lesson: The Linear Men concept was created in Adventures of Superman #476 (by Dan Jurgens) in 1991 with the introduction of The (singular) Linear Man. That Linear Man died, sacrificing himself in the 30th-century to "correct" the history he'd unintentionally broken while trying to bring justice to Booster Gold. (You'll find more information on the interactions between the Linear Man and Booster Gold here.)
art by Dan Jurgens, Art Thiebert, Glenn Whitmore, Todd Klein
Shortly thereafter, in Superman #59 (by Dan Jurgens), we learn that the Linear Man was a rogue member of the mysterious Linear Men of Vanishing Point who are "dedicated to guarding the linear sanctity of the time stream." By the time of Superman #73 (by Dan Jurgens), it is well established that there are three remaining Linear Men: Matthew Ryder, Liri Lee, and Hunter. (The impetuous Waverider is often an ally of the group but isn't really a member.)
In our group shot at the top of the post, both Liri Lee and Matthew Ryder are clearly identified by name in our Generations: Shattered confrontation. Naturally, the third Linear Man should be Hunter, especially since he appears earlier in the issue beside both Liri and Ryder.
art by Fernando Pasarin, Oclair Albert, Hi-Fi
So why in the big team shot is Hunter misidentified as "Rayak the Ravager"?
If I had to take a guess, I'd say that whoever wrote the label was trying to recall the name "Ryak the Rogue" from memory. Ryak is the newest Linear Man — the first not created by Dan Jurgens. Ryak makes his first appearance in The All-New Atom #7 (by Gail Simone) in 2007, and he looks nothing like Hunter. For one thing, he's green.
art by Mike Norton, Andy Owens, Alex Bleyaert, Pat Brosseau
As his moniker might suggest, Ryak was a solo actor in Atom, but he made a cameo appearance beside the other Linear Men on Vanishing Point in Dark Nights: Death Metal: Rise of the New God in 2020. Look closely at that panel, and alongside Ryak you'll spot Ryder, Liri, Rip Hunter, and Waverider, but Hunter is missing, replaced by none other than the original Linear Man himself!
art by Jesus Merino, Vincente Cifuentes, Ulises Arreola
As you can see, keeping the Linear Men straight takes as much work as the convoluted continuity they are sworn to protect. The DC Multiverse is a big place. Every once in a while, we should probably expect the writers, artists, or editors to confused a name and a face.
On the other hand, the events of both Dark Knights: Death Metal and Generations: Shattered involve realities and timelines altered by gods themselves. In which case, if Dominus wants to call Hunter "Rayak," who are we, mere mortal readers of comic books, to correct him?
1 As for the original Linear Man's real identity: it is commonly assumed to be Travis O'Connell. That name comes from the "Linear Men" entry in the Who's Who in the DC Universe Update 1993 #2 (by Roger Stern) which identifies four Linear Men by name and states that "[Travis] O'Connell eventually sacrificed his own life in the late 30th Century." Unless there were multiple Linear Mans chasing Booster Gold in the 30th century, I think we've solved that mystery. (DK apparently agrees; they identify O'Connell by name in their entry for the Linear Man in their officially-licensed The DC Comics Encyclopedia.)
2 Hunter is, as you might have guessed, Rip Hunter. But he's not the one we know. According to the story "Falling in Line" in Legends of the DC Universe 80-Page Giant #1 (by Dan Jurgens), Hunter is the evolution of the young, mischievous Rip Hunter from an alternate history that appears to closely mirror the original Rip Hunter, Time Master, whose pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths Earth-1 adventures were chronicled in a book of the same title.
3 Technically, Waverider, like Rip Hunter, is two Linear Men. See, Waverider and Matthew Ryder are the same person, separated into two timelines by the accidental death of his/their parents. In violation of the Linear Men's prime directive, Waverider himself changed the history that forced the divergence that allowed his alternate self to grow into his role as the Linear Men's Ryder. (For details, see Superman #61 by Dan Jurgens.) And while we're on the subject, I might as well mention that Matthew Ryder and Waverider first appeared in Armaggeddon 2001 #1 by Archie Goodwin... and Dan Jurgens.
4 Liri Lee is the only female member of the Linear Men. I probably don't need to tell you, but she was created by Dan Jurgens for Superman #59. She takes the name Linear Woman in Time Masters: Vanishing Point #6 (by... oh, you know). That may take place in a different reality or at a different point in Liri Lee's future chronology than the events of Generations: Shattered. The biggest problem with hanging out at Vanishing Point is that time and space don't have meaning anymore.
5 This isn't the first time O'Connell has been seen since his "death" in Adventures of Superman #478 (by Dan Jurgens), and there are many well-intentioned websites that appear to confuse O'Connell and Hunter, which is understandable. (Heck, I did it myself when I first listed my annotations for the issue, and I obviously know better.) Both O'Connell and Hunter share a 1990s affinity for shoulder pads, pointless belts, and cybernetic parts. And, of course, they are both Dan Jurgens creations. Rule of thumb: if he has black hair and a holster, it's O'Connell; white hair, Hunter.
Comments (2) | Add a Comment | Tags: characters dan jurgens fernando passin gail simone generations hunter jesus merino john romita jr linear man linear men liri lee mike norman rayak the ravager rip hunter ryak the scout waverider
Friday, October 16, 2020
In Booster Gold Volume 2, our hero became a time travelling policeman, someone whose job was to travel through time and ensure that history unfolds correctly. Given that the DC Universe has a propensity for frequent, reality-shifting Crises, the obvious question becomes "what is correct"? What history can be changed, and what can't?
To teach Booster Gold (and his audience) about the limits of interfering with history, the original Time Master, Rip Hunter, sends Booster back to one of the most known and respected stories in DC Comics history: The Killing Joke. Booster soon learns there is nothing funny about it.
What follows are about a dozen pages of Booster Gold (and Skeets!) having his shiny butt handed to him by the Joker and his goons. Over and over again, Booster tries to prevent the Joker from brutalizing Barbara Gordon. Over and over again he fails.
It's not always an easy read, but it is a worthwhile one — especially when you realize the gambit Hunter is playing and at what personal cost. It is also a valiant definition of true heroism courtesy of writer Geoff Johns. No matter how many times Booster Gold gets knocked down, he always gets back up again. What a guy!
It should be noted that a large part of what makes this light-on-dialogue book such a great read is the art, which Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund intentionally based on the original material drawn by Brian Bolland.
While legendary writer Alan Moore always gets most of the credit, Bolland's detailed and disturbing art is no small part of what has made The Killing Joke an enduring classic, and he deserves some recognition for making Booster Gold #5 one of The Best Booster Gold Stories Ever.
Friday, July 31, 2020
"Is Harley Quinn The Mother of Booster Gold's Son?"
That's the question that Russ Burlingame asks and tries to answer in an article this week on ComicBook.com. As he puts it:
That is, an older, future version of Booster Gold once revealed that he has a son. In fact, his son is Rip Hunter who, because of the magic of time-travel, is one of Booster's mentors in the whole Time Masters business. So, as with any woman who enters into a relationship with Booster, we have to ask: does this mean Harley could be Rip Hunter's mom?
Essentially, Burlingame is tugging at the dangling plot thread first teased in Time Masters: Vanishing Point, a mini-series published 10 years ago. The history of the DC universe has been rebooted at least three times since then. And Harley Quinn has always played by its own continuity rules anyway. Why does that decade-old, unanswered thread still itch?
Like the final fate of Amelia Earhart or the purpose behind the heads on Easter Island, it's the unanswered mysteries that continue to hold our attention even when the truth probably doesn't really matter anymore.
Monday, May 4, 2020
Start your week with Booster Gold sketch art courtesy of Booster booster Steven Palchinski, who graciously offered to let us gaze into his sketchbook of Booster Gold and Friends.
Randy Rantz Kintz
Freddie E. Williams II
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