Or – “Why You Should Never Believe The Solicitations…”

From DC Comics previews of this issue:  “Forced to face the reality that his best friend Ted Kord is never coming back from the dead, Booster Gold withdraws from reality by running home to his original time and place. Unfortunately, once home, he’s arrested for the theft of the Time Sphere that allowed him to become Booster Gold in the first place!”  Everybody got that? 

Good, now forget it, ‘cuz that doesn’t happen in this issue.

 

Booster Gold #39
Written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis
Art by Chris Batista and Rich Perrota
Letters by Sal Cipriano
Colors by HiFi
Published by DC Comics

Previously, on Booster Gold:  Michael Jon Carter has issues with commitment AND with letting go, making him the boyfriend of your nightmares.  Years ago, he foolishly took bribes to throw football games, and ended up running away from home.  ‘Course, since he’s from the 25th century, Mikey was able to hork a time machine and some experimental devices and head back to the 20th (or possibly the 21st) century, fashioning the identity of Booster Gold to make a few bucks.  Along the way, he found his inner hero, a few good friends, and joined the Justice League before just anybody could worm their way in the door.  (Well, he came afterVibe, but otherwise this statement is mostly true.)  In recent months (if such concepts have any meaning in time-travel) he has teamed up with Rip Hunter, the Time Master, and begun traveling in time trying to fix moments of history that have gone wrong, using his knowledge of the future to fix the past, hoping every time that this leap will be the leap home and amassing a makeshift family consisting of Rip (who, unbeknownst to Booster is Booster’s son), Booster’s sister Michelle, and a young girl named Rani, a survivor of 30th century Daxam.  Anybody who knows time travel knows that the name “Rani” in conjunction with temporal mechanics is bad, by the way…

Booster is in poor spirits as the issue begins, woolgathering about recent events in Justice League: Generation Lost and his latest failure to save the life of Ted Kord, the late Blue Beetle.  His reverie is interrupted by Rani (See?  See what I told you?) who has taken Michelle’s magnetic Goldstar suit and entombed herself in a pile of scrap metal and various frammistats from the lab.  When Michelle tells her how to get free (“Reverse the polarity,” another reference to that other time travel thing) Booster barely saves them from being cut to ribbons.  He and Skeets head out “on patrol,” and Booster’s li’l robot pal figures out what’s REALLY going on: Michael is upset about his multiple failures to save best friend Ted or catch his killer, Maxwell Lord.  I really enjoy the dialogue between Booster and Skeets, but start to lose my interest when the hero finds a minor criminal and flips out on him in full-blown dramatic “Facts Of Life” meltdown fashion.  “You left me ALONE!” he bellows as he flies away from the clearly confused and frightened teen criminal, and flies away into the empty sky…

Skeets catches up with him later at Highland Park Cemetery, where Ted Kord’s body lies, and more angsty sadness (with half-page roaring grief shot for good measure.)  Chris Batista is one of DC’s most underrated artists, and he makes the sequences look really good, but the emotional content is WAAAAY over the top for me, stopping just shy of Booster tearing his clothes and hollering “STELLLAAAAA!”  At the end of it all, Michael comes to grips with the loss of his friend, while a mysterious menace glowers in the shadows, seeking revenge on Booster Gold and General Glory (whom he teamed up with in previous issues to fight Nazis in Dubya Dubya Two) and setting up some sort of future business.  Booster heads home to Rip’s lab, where he makes up with Rani, gets a big daddy-hug for his ennui (but I still don’t fully trust that kid.  There’s something going on there.)  The last page is a time-lapse of Ted Kord’s grave through time, lasting for centuries, eventually ending up within an impenetrable Booster Gold-style forcefield, lasting long after the rest of the city, and presumably the world, lies in ashes.  It’s a nice moment, but I have to snort at how much it reminds me of Phillip J. Fry’s dog.

The loss of the Blue Beetle backup has done one good thing for this book in allowing it to have a clear tone and throughline for each issue, rather than bounce back and forth between time-spanning madness and teenager living with family and coping with super-powers.  I think my real complaint with Booster’s adventures in this particular series comes in the way certain plot points pop up OVER AND OVER again.  I believe this is the THIRD time in not quite four years that Michael has tried to save Ted Kord from oblivion, and each time he ends up convinced that it can’t be done, only to try again under the next writing team.  Giffen and DeMatteis are a step up from Dan Jurgens in terms of coherency of plot, but this issue pushes too much into the melodrama, spending nearly half an issue talking about Ted Kord before anything much happens.  Overall, even excellent art can’t do much for an overblown emotional armageddon, and I’m hoping that next issue gets us moving again (and maybe even goes into the plot points promised, but not delivered, for this issue as they sound kind of cool.)  Booster Gold #39 earns a slightly disapointed 2 out of 5 stars overall, though not for lack of charm and skill on the creator’s part.  Hopefully next month will be more to my liking…

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day:  Am I the only one who keeps getting Doctor Who references?  And, given that this is a time-travel story that owes something to DW, are these touches clever or just distracting  to you as a reader?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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5 Comments

  1. Brainlock
    December 13, 2010 at 9:13 pm — Reply

    I liked Jurgens more than Giffen’s run so far. Or maybe it was the overlong retread of “Save Ted!”
    AGAIN.
    I get that he’s also being tied up with the JL:GL series and also the Time Masters thing with saving Batman, but other characters (Bats, Sup, GL, even certain Marvel characters) get tons more exposure without tying up their main book. On top of that, this one should get a “bye” because the titular character can actually BE in 2 or 72 places at once, unlike those others! the only other time they tried this I recall at the moment, was Wally west being in the Titans, JLA, and his solo book all at once, yet fans COMPLAINED he didn’t have the time to do it all! wtF?

    oy!

    as for the FSQoD: as long as the Time Bubble doesn’t suddenly break a chameleon circuit, he begins wearing a trenchcoat, neckerchiefery, and carry a futuriffic multi-purpose tool and bag of chewy candies, and Skeets doesn’t suddenly have a laser proboscis, I say ALLONS-Y! ;D

  2. Luis Dantas
    December 13, 2010 at 11:36 pm — Reply

    Giffens was ever an odd choice for writing Booster Gold, especially as a follow-up to Jurgens. After all, Jurgens created and defined the character – and one could see the love he put in it – while Giffens derailed it unrecognizable in the original JLI, making him a self-deprecating jerk as opposed to the very serious, redemption-seeking jerk that Jurgens created.

    It is because of things like this that I still don’t trust DC to care about its characters. I have only bought one issue of GL ever since I realized that the Emerald Twilight fiasco was supposed to be taken at face value way back in the mid 1990s.

  3. Lou
    December 17, 2010 at 8:00 pm — Reply

    ok, I give, I’m a Legion fan (hence the email address) but I don’t read Booster Gold. What is the significance of the name Rani, perhaps, bRAiNiac? I really am asking. C’mon Matthew, don’t leave me hanging here.

    • December 18, 2010 at 12:27 pm — Reply

      ok, I give, I’m a Legion fan (hence the email address) but I don’t read Booster Gold. What is the significance of the name Rani, perhaps, bRAiNiac?

      The Time Lords of planet Gallifrey tend to take on a name that describes what they do. The Doctor, the Master, the Meddling Monk, the Valeyard. One of their most nefarious members, and recurring enemy of the sixth and seventh doctors is a super-wicked time lady known as The Rani. She’s basically a female The Master. This, combined with time travel, could be bad. :)

      • Lou
        December 19, 2010 at 12:58 pm — Reply

        Thanks Matthew, I did not start watching Doctor Who until Christopher Eccleston. Thanks.

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