Friday, June 17

Booster Gold #44 (7/11)

“Turbulence: Part One” (Flashpoint)

To be honest, I have been a big fan from the beginning of this current series. Sure it was only the apparently critical role it's going to have in the Flashpoint event that kicked me over the edge to getting it as a monthly rather than waiting for the trade as I've been doing, but this is another of those titles that has quite simply been fun from beginning to the rapidly closing end – incredibly steeped in DC mythology. A character that has grown from a glory hound to a protector of the time-stream, Booster Gold has consequently provided something of a unifying thread for all the various strands of DC history, revisiting key events often and providing in-story ways to reconcile the little inconsistencies here and there. He's in an interesting situation – a bit of a wastrel now being (unknowingly) mentored in his development as a hero by his own son. Gave away a bit of a spoiler for the series there, but it's okay because the reader finds this out fairly early even though Booster himself remains oblivious to his paternal relationship to Rip Hunter, Time Master, whom he finds an annoyingly strict taskmaster. It's another series I'll be sorry to see end – just after I finally made the jump to monthlies. Sure, we'll still get to see Booster in the upcoming Justice League International series (the other historic context for his adventures – actually, way back when, “misadventures” - that incarnation of the Justice League is often called the “Bwah-ha-ha” League!) written by the same writer who has done most of Booster's solo appearances through the years – his very creator from the 1980s, Dan Jurgens. We'll have to see if any of the charm of this current series is maintained. In my opinion, they could have kept Booster as a guardian of the time-stream, and used it as a vehicle for exploring the new post-Flashpoint DCU. So far at least, Booster is one of the few in the Flashpoint universe who retains memories of the “real” time-line; perhaps he could come out of Flashpoint with his history intact and that could provide a touchstone for future stories exploring the differences. He could stand proxy for many readers such as me as we slowly adjust to the "DCnU."  I guess maybe such a mission would not fit well with DC's intent of “simplifying” things, however.

Briefly, in the present issue, soon after noticing the mysterious chalkboard in Rip's headquarters covered with scrawlings giving various hints of Flashpoint (that originally appeared in the last panel of the mini-series Time Masters: Vanishing Point from which this issue takes up immediately), Booster and Skeets (his little floating computer buddy) find themselves transported into that world – actually, they only slowly come to understand that they are in a different world from their own. The surface world and Atlantis are at war – and the US military assumes that Booster is Atlantean! (“Look at him! He could be Aquaman's brother, for all we know!”) Various attempts to take him down fail, but then the military unleashes its Doomsday weapon – literally – Doomsday, the creature that in Booster's own history gave him and the rest of his Justice League a drubbing then killed Superman!

The one and only quibble that I have with this issue – and it's minor – is that yet again a couple pages are given over to retelling Booster's origin. (Get that several times in a trade paperback collection and it's really annoying.) It's a precarious balance that must be maintained, I understand, between driving the story forward and bringing new readers up to speed (“Every comic book is somebody's first comic book,” and they should be written with the first-time reader in mind). A limited page-count has to make it hard. And I guess in this issue, which because of the Flashpoint connection stands to have a higher than normal readership, drawing in new readers based on that connection alone, DC felt the need to tell us once again. It's minor, and understandable in this case – but even so, I hit that sequence that began with the internal monologue, “For me, this is the past. The distant past. I was born in the 25th century … the year 2442, to be exact,” and sighed, Here we go again....

Other than that, another good issue. Cheers!

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