reviewbubble.jpgpicon.jpgBooster Gold Returns!

As much as I have loved reading 52 and making speculations throughout, it is often good know at least one of my wild speculations have paid off. This week offers three big reveals that are really not that big of a surprise if you have been following closely. The first is a no-brainer (look at the subhead), the second is a relief, and the third has been sitting in front of your face for at least six months. If you don’t like Major Spoilers, turn back now!

Last issue, we found out where Rip Hunter was, and we also learned he was working with Supernova in gathering technology to fight Evil Skeets.

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02.jpgIn case you forgot, that image came from Week 19 when we learned Skeets really was evil. The goatee should have been a tip off for everyone.

When Skeets attacks the Bottled City of Kandor, Rip takes the circuitry from Supernova’s costume to build a weapon, while Supernova super sizes to take on the schizoid robot. This leads us to the big reveal;

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If you placed your 11th hour bets last week and selected Michael “Booster Gold” Carter, then you just made a bundle. If, you were convinced it was Ray Palmer – gotcha! For me I seem to be about 50/50 in getting my wild speculations regarding the identity of Supernova right. I kept thinking Rip Hunter was somehow connected to Supernova, and I was right there, but thinking Rip was Booster was Supernova, was a bit off.

Regardless, the two have been working together since Week Six.

“Week Six? Wait a minute. I though Rip Hunter was nowhere to be seen until last week?”

Well dear reader, there are a lot of things going on in the DCU than our eyes are allowed to see. If you dive back into your 52 stack and pull out Week 6, you’ll see Booster in Rip’s Lab that ends in a cliff hanger (Week 6, Day 2) with Booster thinking he is the reason everything is messed up. By the time we see Booster again, it is Week 7, Day 3, he’s back in his apartment, and his life as a well respected superhero starts to crumble. We were never allowed to see what happened from the time of the discovery to the following week.

Rip needs time to build the weapon, so to kill time, Booster expounds on the missing pages. Turns out, immediately after Booster makes the discovery in Rip’s lab, Rip appeared, cloaked the two in a chronal field, and revealed the truth about Skeets. Rip being the master of time seems to know it all and has a plan to stop Skeets with Booster’s help. In order for it to work, Booster Gold needs to disappear.

Flash forward to Week 15. For seven weeks, Booster has had to lie to Skeets to appear that he was having a career meltdown. For fans of Booster Gold, playing dumb doesn’t seem like a big stretch, but if you go back and reread all of the Booster segments of 52, you’ll see the plot unfold if you look at it from the right angle. This apparently is what Ralph Dibny did in order to figure everything out by Week 31.

Back to Week 15. When Booster lifted the submarine in the sky and it went “supernova” (get it), Rip pulled Booster out of the time stream, replacing Michael with his own corpse from the future. Then, the two traveled back to at least Week Eight when Supernova made his first appearance. Where better to hide from Skeets than in plain view as a hero that seems to be the total opposite of Booster Gold. Confused? Don’t be, time travel has a way of doing that to people.

Disguised as Supernova, Booster was free to move about doing what he does best; lifting technology from other heroes and using it to boost his own powers. Michael was also gathering gear for Rip to build a weapon. When all is ready, Rip embiggens (Simpson’s reference) to reveal all the parts that allowed Booster/Supernova to transport people to safety came from Superman’s Phantom Zone projector.

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I get a real strong Bryne vibe from the image, and the art throughout this issue is generally very good.

Using the Phantom Zone projector seems at bit risky, especially with Zod and his followers still inside. As I’ve said in previous reviews, Skeets is not our Skeets, and he begins to absorb the Phantom Zone and its inhabitants. This is really scary.

Realizing they are not going to be able to stop the gold droid, Rip and Michael escape into the time stream. Before the portal closes completely, Skeets slips in to follow.

All I can say is “WOW”. The snooty fans are going to take this reveal as a cheap out by DC. Yes, we’ve seen similar scenarios play out in other time travel adventures, but you have to admit this was a really fun ride getting from there to here. I totally buy into the build up and reveal, and it really brings back some of the great fun adventures prior to the dark stories of the 80s. I loved every minute of it!

There is a minor interlude in the big action where Black Canary and Ollie Queen discuss some of the changes in their lives that tie into the One Year. It doesn’t appear to be anything related to the overall story, but simply a way to get things in line.

The second big reveal of the week is the funeral for Buddy Baker. According to Adam Strange, it is better to leave Animal Man on an asteroid than risk bringing him back to Earth in case he is infected with Lady Styx’s zombie powers. Lobo agrees to give Starfire and Strange a boost into the next system where they may be able to hook up with a Green Lantern patrol, but other than that, it looks like they are about to part ways. Before they do, Lobo asks directly what they saw that has everyone seeking their heads.

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Big hands? Hmmm… we’ve seen big hands several times. The one that pops into most people’s heads is the hands that created the universe as chronicled in Crisis on Infinite Earths. We’ve also seen big hands reshaping the universe in Infinite Crisis when Alex Luthor attempted to play god. Perhaps that is a clue? I’ll get to that in a moment.

As the sun rises on the body of Buddy Baker, he suddenly awakes calling out to his friends. What a relief, Buddy is still alive – not that I thought he was dead to begin with. I’m sure we’ll learn shortly how he managed to survive, but I have a feeling it has to do with what I mentioned last week.

By the way, those two aliens standing next to Buddy? Those are the aliens that gave Buddy his Animal Man powers. Go back to Week 19 and read the Animal Man origin story for more information.

“What about those big hands? Isn’t there a saying about really big hands?”

Thanks for reminding me. Without you, dear reader, this site would be nothing. I think the saying you are referring to has something to do with really big gloves, but is not the third reveal for this issue.

The third big reveal has been sitting in front of our faces for the last six months. In order to find it, you’ll have to actually read Dan DiDio’s editorial column on the last page instead of passing it over like you have so many times in the past. As the title of the column says, “This Column is a clue!” The key to figuring it out is 52! Ha! 52! 5-2 is 3. Take first letter of every third word in the first paragraph and you will get the answer.*

I didn’t figure this formula out for myself; it was already posted in the forums over at Newsarama by the time my issue arrived in the mail. It doesn’t matter, because I revealed the answer several months ago during my Crackpot Theory in Week 25. In fact, the answer has been spread throughout the DCU since OYL began. Check out Justice League of America #0, Starman in the new JSA #2, Nightwing, Brave New World, Teen Titans, Impulse, and more. The answer can also be used to explain away the Morrison run on Batman (thank god).

So does the answer spoil the ending of 52? Not by a long shot. I still want to know about World War III, how Booster and Rip fix time, the “fate” of Ralph Dibny, the downfall of Lex Luthor, and I really want an answer to “the question” of what will become of Vic Sage and Renee Montoya. The adventures of Buddy Baker, the rebirth of Batman, and of course the four horsemen of Oolong Island are stories that are still waiting to be told. I’m hooked on 52, and will not be turning my back on this event.

The Good

  • Booster Gold is back
  • Animal Man is not dead
  • DC has a way of bringing back every dead hero from Ted Kord to Barry Allen and explains where Wally West and family currently reside.

The Bad

  • Issue is filled with so many spoilers, you should really have read it before you got to this point in the review

When riddles and questions are answered in a logical well thought out way, I feel more satisfied rather than having a hackneyed ending that leaves me and others angry (Armageddon anyone?). In my mind Week 37 is a great issue. Granted a lot of it was spent explaining the Booster Gold/Supernova relationship, but still, it was a real page turner. Because of this, I’ll give Week 37 a solid and well deserved 4.5 Stars for resolving one of the series biggest questions.

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Even though DC is releasing trade paperbacks of 52 (the trade of issues 1-13 available May 30, 2007), I can’t wait for the Absolute Hard Cover complete with all the goodies, large format, and extras.

Parting Shot
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Discuss this issue in the Major Spoilers 52 Forum.

*The secret of fifty two is that the multiverse still exists.

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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2 Comments

  1. Matthew
    January 22, 2007 at 6:50 pm — Reply

    I have a theory regarding “giant hands.” Animal Man’s “death” last issue had him pointing at the reader and saying “They’re all cheering for us!”

    Back in the Grant Morrison run of Animal Man in the late 80’s, Buddy went through a period where he learned he was a comic book character, and actually defeated a villain by going between panels of the book. At one point, he realized that the readers were out here, and if I recall correctly, freaked out when he saw giant hands and faces staring down at him. The yellow aliens in the parting shot were also a part of this story, and engineered him to be the Animal Man in the first place.

    I suspect that in his “final” moments, Buddy looked out and saw the readers, and Adam (who was, I think, linked to Buddy at the time of his “death”), saw us as well.

  2. January 22, 2007 at 7:40 pm — Reply

    I like your theory on what Buddy and Adam saw in buddies final moments, but it doesn’t answer the big question of “What they saw during the big accident in space?” Breaking the fourth wall doesn’t seem like a huge reason to put a bounty on everyone’s head… does it? Unless… you don’t think Lady Styx… GASP! It all makes sense now…

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