Comic Book Review: Booster Gold #1

The Revolution has been looking forward to Booster Gold’s new title ever since the end of 52. With Geoff Johns at the helm, I fully expect Booster Gold to be one of DC’s better reads. 52 really gave Booster Gold’s character a chance to blossom and experience plenty of excellent character growth. 52 left many interesting questions concerning the Rip Hunter/Booster Gold plotline unanswered. Hopefully, Johns will spend plenty of time addressing those lingering issues. While the art team of Jurgens and Rapmund doesn’t particularly wow me, I’m sure the artwork will be solid enough. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for Booster Gold #1.

Creative Team
Writers: Geoff Johns & Jeff Katz
Artists: Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Booster Gold brawling with the Royal Flush Gang. Booster Gold thinks back to his origin. How he was born in 2442 and that he never made his parents proud. That he was the incredible quarterback for Gotham University. Booster got into serious money problems so he bet on some of his own games and got busted and barred from playing pro football.

Booster then became the night guard at the Hall of Heroes and got the idea to steal a Legion flight ring, a power suit and a force field belt as well as the museum security droid and go back to the past and become a hero.

Booster remembers being a part of the JLA. Booster remembers his sister getting killed while trying to follow in his footsteps. Then Booster remembers his best friend in the entire world, Ted Kord, begin killed by Maxwell Lord. Then Booster remembers helping Rip Hunter save the new Multiverse.

Booster Gold defeats the Royal Flush Gang just as the Justice League of America arrives on the scene. Booster notices that the crowd is not cheering for him, that they are cheering for the JLA’ers.

The JLA’ers tells Booster that the Royal Flush Gang is not an emergency that warranted Booster activating the JLA emergency signal. Hal mentions how this is just like how Booster first got the JLA’s attention when Booster hired the Royal Flush Gang to take a fall in a mock fight in order to impress the JLA.

Booster Gold claims he is trying to do the right thing and just wants a second chance. Batman responds that Booster did step up when no one else expected him to and helped them take down Brother Eye. Batman tells Booster that Booster has one week and they will watch Booster and see what he does. And if the JLA approves accepting Booster by a unanimous vote, then they will flip a coin. Batman says Booster can’t do any publicity stunts or grandstanding. Batman tells Booster to meet them at the Hall of Justice in one week and to not be late.

We cut to Booster Gold and Skeets flying back to Daniel Carter’s home after Booster finished averting a bunch of disasters. Booster enters the house and sees Daniel Carter aka Supernova playing X-Box 360. Booster can’t believe that this loser slacker is his great, great, great, great grandfather. Booster thinks how Skeets believes that Daniel went into shock when he entered the time stream and that he hasn’t come back to reality yet. Booster just thinks Daniel is an idiot.

Daniel comments how he is ranked 38th in the nation in Madden 08. Suddenly, Rip Hunter appears in his time sphere. Rip tells Booster than Rip needs his help dealing with the temporal anomalies concerning this new Multiverse. That the past is malleable thanks to Mr. Mind’s actions and the punches from Superboy-Prime. Rip then utters that he can’t still believe something ridiculous as punching history.

Booster enters the time sphere with Rip and then disappear leaving Daniel behind. Suddenly, someone else teleports into the room and punches out Daniel. The mysterious figure then pulls off Daniel’s Supernova costume.

We shift to Rip and Booster in the time stream. Rip shows Booster the many wormholes that have appeared in the time sphere. That these wormholes could get infected in the wrong kind of time travel where to come along. And unfortunately, Rip has already detected one or more have come along.

Rip then gives Skeets and Booster’s suit an upgrade by downloading future tech that allows them to survive out in the time stream. Rip then syncs Booster with the time sphere that will allow Rip to send Booster anywhere in the time stream. Rip also updated Skeets’ historical records and implanted a microscopic version of Rip’s chronal mapping system in Skeets. Therefore, when anomalies appear, Skeets will be able to lead Booster to them.

The time sphere then arrives at the scene where Black Adam clips the wing of a commercial airplane during the events of World War III. Skeets says his new records show that Booster saves the plane. Booster retorts that he wasn’t present during the events of World War III. We see Black Adam clip the wing of the plane. Skeets tells Booster to get to action. Booster swoops in and saves the airplane. Booster is thanked by some of the passengers including one named Rose Levin.

Booster and Skeets then transport back to the time sphere. Rip tells Booster that he can retrieve Booster and Skeets from anywhere in the time stream and bring them back to the time sphere as a safety measure. Rip then seals the wormhole. Rip tells Booster that Rose Levin is supposed to meet Daniel Carter and start the Carter family lineage that leads to Booster Gold.

Rip tells Booster how is name isn’t really Rip Hunter. That he keeps his true identity a secret to prevent his enemies from going back in time and killing Rip while he is a baby or by killing Rip’s parents before he is born. That that is exactly what is happening to the Justice League of America right now. Rip says that is why Booster is the perfect person to be Rip’s right hand man. Because everyone already thinks Booster is an idiot.

Rip says that it is too dangerous for anyone to know about this mission. That Booster must work in the shadows of time. That no one would expect Booster to be able to pull of something like this. Rip says that maybe Booster’s destiny isn’t what he thinks it is supposed to be.

Booster retorts that Rip thinks Booster’s destiny is to let everyone think he is a loser and a jerk. Rip counters that Booster will go down in history as an incompetent and ineffectual fraud. But, in reality Booster will be the greatest hero history will never know. But, that Booster will know the truth and that should be enough.

Booster disagrees and tells Rip that he can’t help him. We cut to Booster arriving at the Hall of Justice. Skeets keeps telling Booster that they should be helping Rip. The JLA is already assembled. Superman proudly hands Booster Gold his framed membership certificate and welcomes him to the League.

Booster takes the framed certificate and smiles broadly. Suddenly, the membership certificate turns into a Death Certificate for Hal Jordan. Booster is stunned and drops the frame and it breaks on the floor. Booster picks up Hal’s death certificate and crushes it in his hand.

Booster then tells the JLA’ers that he is going to pass on joining the League. Booster retorts that he just wanted to be able to tell everyone that Booster Gold turned down the Justice League of America. Batman asks Booster what he is doing. Booster comments that he is living down to expectations. Booster walks out and Batman looks grim.

We cut to Booster flying away from the Hall of Justice. Booster is pissed and angry that he had to turn down membership to the JLA. Booster then saves a young boy from falling off a bridge. Booster tells the kid that he is on a secret mission and to tell everyone that Superman saved him. Booster leaves. The police arrive and the boy tells them that Superman saved him.

We shift to Rip Hunter in his Time Lab working at his chalkboard. Written on the chalkboard is: Wormholes, 1870, 1939 (New Earth, Earth-2), 1986 + 2006= Why 2008?, Superman and the Legion of Super Heroes, Tom Kallor = traveler, Power Girl: missing, The return of Ray Palmer, Beware the Red Lantern, Ronnie Raymond + X = Firestorm, Long live the real king, Darkseid R.I.P., Titans Hunt II, Don’t worry about Countdown focus elsewhere, Who is Dr. Thirteen?

Booster and Skeets appears in the Time Lab. Booster tells Rip that he will help Rip and be the Time Cop that he wants Booster to be. Booster says in exchange for his efforts and the sacrifice of his name and reputation, that Rip is going to help Booster break his most precious rule a couple of times. Booster says that Rip said earlier that friends where more important than the Multiverse itself and Booster agrees. That is why once this job is done; they are going back in time and will start by saving Booster Gold’s best friend: Ted Kord.

We then cut to someone in the Supernova costume arriving in Space Sector 1417 eight years ago. Supernova appears in front of Sinestro, the Green Lantern for this space sector. Supernova tells Sinestro that he needs to talk to Sinestro about the future.

We then get a final page with four teaser panels for future events on this title. The first panel is Week 7, Day 7 with Brainiac 5 yelling at Booster to give him the ring back. The second panel is Week 104, Day 1 with Booster telling Batman that he can’t be a part of the League. It appears to be the “Bwa-ha-ha” version of the League. The third panel is Week 136, Day 5 with Booster being attacked by what appears to be an army of Mr. Mind type worms. The fourth panel is Week -8, Day 7 with Booster Gold, the new Blue Beetle and Dan Garrett, the original Golden Age Blue Beetle.

Comments
The Good: Booster Gold #1 was a fantastic read. Johns hit a home run right off the start and got this new series going in the right direction. Johns quickly and clearly established the purpose and direction of this new title. That is absolutely critical for a debut issue of a new title. Many times, writers take too long to clue the reader into what the mission statement for the title is going to be. Other writers rush it and place the reader in the middle of tons of high paced action that leaves the reader feeling lost and overwhelmed. Johns does a good job by moving the story along at a steady pace and giving the reader a nice outline of what he wants to do on this title.

Johns manages to give the reader just enough background on Booster Gold and the events of 52 in order to make this debut issue friendly to readers unfamiliar with Booster Gold or 52. Yet, Johns keeps the background information scaled back enough that a long time reader won’t get bored with too much back story in this issue.

Of course, Johns delivers his usual well crafted dialogue. Johns has a great feel for Booster Gold’s character and it shows as we get a nicely developed Booster in this issue. Johns generates some quality chemistry between Booster and Skeets as well as between Booster and Rip Hunter.

I dig how Johns continues to evolve Booster Gold’s character. Booster has changed from a shallow character who craves nothing more than the fame and adulation from the public and crass commercialization that generates him plenty of money to go with that fame.

Now, Booster desires only the recognition from his fellow heroes. He wants the other A-list heroes in the DCU to view him with respect and consider Booster to be one of the big players in the DCU. Booster truly wants to be a great hero, but he also wants the other heroes in the DCU to know and acknowledge what a great hero Booster is.

Johns has Booster learn another critical lesson in this issue. Just as Booster learned how to be a true hero in the pages of 52 and to be a hero not for the adulation of the crowd of for the money. However, Booster replaced that craving for fame and money with the ego boost of having the other big name heroes of the DCU recognize him as a legitimate hero. Johns does an excellent job showing the reader how Booster Gold takes the final step in becoming a true hero by agreeing to help Rip Hunter even thought the super hero community is going to blew him as a total failure and a jerk.

I felt terrible for Booster when he had to turn down his membership to the JLA and act like a total ass in the process. But, it certainly showed Booster Gold’s heroic nature that he will do the right thing even if it means that the JLA will think he is a total creep and no one will know that he is the greatest hero of the DCU.

All the scenes with Booster Gold and the members of the Justice League of America were fantastic. Johns shows how the majority of the JLA members view Booster Gold as little more than a joke. Even though Booster Gold was a member of the JLA, he has never been considered on the same level as the other JLA members. The main reason for that is even brought up by Booster Gold himself. It is because Booster Gold was a member of the JLA when it was the “Bwa-ha-ha” JLA under Maxwell Lord’s stewardship and the roster consisted of a bunch of C-list heroes.

That version of the JLA didn’t command much respect and since Booster was never a part of one of the truly classic and great JLA rosters, he is viewed as inferior by many JLA members. Of course, I like the twist that Johns employs by having the ultimate paranoid bastard in the Batman being the one JLA’er who really speaks out openly and strongly for Booster. That was a cool and unexpected touch.

And the Batman definitely knows that something is going on with Booster Gold. The Batman’s look as Booster walked out of the Hall of Justice clearly shows that the world’s greatest detective is not completely buying Booster Gold’s sudden role of the egotistical and shallow jerk. Hopefully, Johns will touch on this plotline at a later point.

Skeets is well done and provides for the necessary comic relief as well as playing the role of Booster’s conscious. I have always liked Skeets and I’m glad that he has been upgraded and will be even more useful to Booster during his role as a “Time Cop.”

Johns does a nice job with Rip Hunter’s character. Rip is a pretty cool cat and he will definitely be a great plot device for many interesting storylines. Rip has endless possibilities due to his time travel theme and background.

I liked how Johns handled Daniel Carter in this issue. It makes perfect sense that Booster would be a descendant from a total slacker loser like Daniel. It is certainly unusual to see Booster Gold as the mature person in any relationship. With Rip, Skeets and Daniel, Johns has quickly assembled a nice supporting cast for this title.

Now, Johns definitely hit the ground running on Booster Gold #1 and quickly started spinning numerous interesting and complex plotlines. The scene where the mysterious figure attacked Daniel and stole the Supernova costume was great. Clearly, this must be one of the time travelers that Rip Hunter was worried about running around the time stream causing problems. Johns definitely got me hooked into this mysterious plotline.

Johns then teases the writer with Booster’s membership certificate turning into a death certificate for Hal Jordan. This has to play into the events of the Sinestro Corps story arc that is going on over in the pages of Green Lantern. Especially since we see Sinestro at the end of this issue. Clearly, Rip wasn’t lying when he told Booster that someone is out there trying to erase the members of the JLA from time itself. This scene definitely did its job in getting me more excited about this plotline.

I dig the overall concept of the various wormholes in the time stream where temporal anomalies are springing up and threatening to wreak havoc with the Multiverse. This should provide an excellent framework that has tons of potential for providing the reader with an endless amount of entertaining stories.

Johns delivers one absolutely insane ending. First, Booster drops the bomb that he fully expects Rip to help Booster save Ted Kord in return for Booster sacrificing his reputation and legacy to help carry out Rip’s mission. Then Johns drops the bomb on the reader of Supernova (Or whoever may have stolen the costume) travelling eight years into the past and approaching Sinestro who is still a Green Lantern and telling Sinestro that he needs to talk to Sinestro about the future. My jaw was on the floor with this unexpected two fisted ending.

The thought of Ted Kord being brought back to life definitely makes me happy. I always hated Ted’s death and felt like he went out like a total bitch. And the Supernova/Sinestro plotline has got to tie into the wonderful Sinestro Corps storyline. Johns definitely hooked me with this ending and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

After blowing away the reader with one hell of an ending, Johns goes ahead and gives us a page with four teaser panels concerning events to happen at some point in the future on this title. Obviously, the scene with Booster Gold fighting with Brainiac 5 got me excited since I’m a huge Legion fan. Plus, the outfit that Brainiac 5 is wearing is his Pre-Crisis outfit and not the same on that the current Brainiac 5 wears over in Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes.

The second panel with Booster teamed up once again with the “Bwa-ha-ha” JLA definitely looks pretty interesting. It is cool to see that version of the JLA in action once again. The third panel is interesting with what appears to be a horde of tiny Mr. Mind worms.

But, the best of all of them is the fourth panel where we have Booster Gold along with the new Blue Beetle and none other than Dan Garrett! That’s right, Dan Garrett, the original Blue Beetle from the Golden Age. That is awesome! All three Blue Beetles together. I am beyond excited to see more about this scene.

The famed Rip Hunter chalkboard makes its return in this issue full of cryptic messages. They are all intriguing. Just what was the deal with the date 1870? We see a message referencing the new connection that has been established between Superman and the Legion of Super Heroes. We see that evidently Starman, Tom Kallor, is a traveler while Power Girl is missing from her Earth. Rip writes about the return of Ray Palmer which we know is going on over in Countdown.

We see “Ronnie Raymond + X = Firestorm.” Is it possible that the original Firestorm is slated to make a return since the new Firestorm was a total bust that got abysmal sales numbers? I can only hope so! We see “Long live the real king.” I have no idea what this is about. Maybe it is referencing the possible return of the real Aquaman, King of Atlantis.

I have no idea what “Titans Hunt II” is about. We see “Darkseid R.I.P.” Is it possible that DC would kill off old stone face? We see “Who is Dr. Thirteen.” I have no idea what this one is about. Then we get “worry about Countdown focus elsewhere.” Wow, is Johns taking a shot at the lack of success that Countdown is experiencing compared to the sales monster that was 52?

And the one that really intrigues me is the writing that says “Beware the Red Lantern.” A Red Lantern!! I love it! I can’t wait to learn more about this one.

Jurgens and Rapmund are nothing special, but they do provide this title with plenty of solid artwork. Their artistic style is a bit too stiff and old school for my tastes.

The Bad: Personally, I have no complaints with this issue. Having said that, Booster Gold #1 definitely is thick with the history of the DCU. Johns relies heavily on the past with this issue and if you are a new reader and not familiar with the complex history of the DCU then much of this issue will be lost on you.

Now, I am a history buff and know plenty about the DCU that existed before I started reading comic books. However, not everyone is a history buff. If you are a new reader or just don’t dig getting into the history and mythos of the DCU then you probably won’t enjoy Booster Gold #1 all that much.

Overall: I loved Booster Gold #1. This issue reminded me just how incredible 52 was and just how disappointing Countdown has been in comparison. Johns does a fantastic job with this debut issue and I am totally hooked like a crack head and can’t wait for the next issue. If you like getting hip deep into the mythos of the DCU then this is definitely a title for you. If you enjoyed the events of 52 then you will probably also love this title. Booster Gold has the same sense of excitement that you get over on Green Lantern and the Justice Society of America. I definitely recommend giving Booster Gold a try.

2 Comments

  1. Starting off, this post may just be a duplicate, so ignore it if so (my connection blanked out after I filed it the first time, so I had to retype this; ugh).

    On a minor note, Johns has a co-writer on this series, Mr. Jeff Katz, who isn’t mentioned in the credits of the review.

    This was a strong debut issue. They do a good job introducing the series’ premise, and they summarize Booster’s backstory and character history, which is a good move, since his origin isn’t exactly at Superman/Spider-Man levels of public knowledge.

    I like the art a lot; plus, Jurgens has a history of keeping his deadlines, which is nice.

    This strikes me as a very Marvel-esque premise for the character, where the hero gets no respect from the public (or even fellow heroes, which is a bit rarer, even in the MU); Booster was always a C-lister out to get an A-list profile, but now he’s doing A-list stuff and pretending to be a buffoon.

    At the same time, the scene with the JLA strikes me as a bit overkill; he has to pretend for public and historical value, sure, but I don’t see why he has to blow off the JLA members and act like a jerk. They’re a trustworthy lot, and presumably could be trusted to keep a secret. Unless this is followed up on, it strikes me as an illogical contrivance when it would be enough to keep Booster’s deeds out of the public eye.

    Related to that, Johns and Katz don’t do Red Arrow or Vixen any favours here. Particularly Roy, who has a scowl on his face even when everybody else is welcoming; gee, Roy, you’re sure lucky you never did heroin or anything else that necessitated a second chance from your peers. Meanwhile, having Vixen, a member of the most laughable (and not in a good way, like the JLI were) iteration of the League criticizing Booster was rather amusing.

    Next issue should be good, given Johns’ love of the Green Lantern mythos, although he seems to have retconned John Stewart into a pedophile, since Katma Tui appears to be no more than a preteen “eight years ago”.

  2. “Who is Dr. Thirteen.”

    This may be a nod to the playing-games-with-continuity Dr Thirteen backup in Tales of the Unexpected over the past year. It’s great fun. It probably can’t be integrated into the time-and-multiverse rules of BG– BG will be ruined if the writers are constantly winking at continuity or making fun of the whole idea of it. (“Out to save the timestream” stories require the characters to really believe that disrupting the timestream is very bad and may do irreparable harm.) But it’s nice to have it acknowledged.

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