Future’s End: Booster Gold

01_372123_0_PressurePointI think I’ve said it before, but anything that involves Dan Jurgens writing/drawing Booster Gold is a must-have for me. Future’s End: Booster Gold falls into that category.

In this one-shot, Booster Gold is being forced to jump through time and the Multiverse, jumping from the “Gotham by Gaslight” era, to the end of the New 52’s Justice League International series where he witnesses himself disappearing from the time stream, to even the world where the Carlton characters are still around. He even winds up fighting the tiger-people from Kamandi’s future in a perfect homage to Jack Kirby.

As this is going on, there is another Booster Gold being tortured by robots under the control of Brainiac who hope to learn the secrets of time travel. Eventually the two Boosters meet up (along with his sister Michelle) and one of the Boosters winds up being willing to explain the concept of the Vanishing Point to Brainiac to save their sister. A lot of that stuff I really didn’t understand, since I’ve been avoiding the Future’s End story line.

But hey, all I wanted was some more Jurgens doing Booster Gold, and that was what this issue was all about. Plus it came with a cool lenticular cover so I have nothing to complain about.

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Justice League International #7-12: Booster Has A Breakdown

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We are back! I finally got around to looking at the last six issues of Justice League International. This was the second series from the New 52 that I was really excited about that happened to get cancelled. So what happens to the Booster Gold lead group on their final mission?

This final story arc starts with a bang, as the group gets attacked during a public event by a new villain named Breakdown. This guy–along with his squad of villains–wants the world to descend into chaos and anarchy, and what better way to start that campaign by taking out one of the premier super groups while the world watches. There are countless casualties; Rocket Red and some of the JLI’s support staffers were killed. Ice, Fire and Vixen have all been seriously injured.

The rest is a pretty by the numbers super hero story. Booster recruits some new members to the team, including OMAC and Batwing (well, more so Batman brought him to the fold since they’re besties). JLI has to put aside all their fears and what has just happened to them in order to save the world, which they do. The final issue ties up all the loose ends of the series, with the team on the verge of disbandment until Batman is able to secure them a new headquarters and financial support from Bruce Wayne. It’s also stressed that they feel they have to carry on so Rocket Red will not have died in vain. 

The biggest problem that I had with this–and one of my biggest complaints about the whole New 52–is that for some reason, it seems really hard to take any of the villains seriously. They’re all new, for the most part, and seem really generic. Not to mention, not all that threatening. Breakdown’s crew just seemed lacking and it was hard to believe that they were really that much of a threat.

That said, the ending was really weird, especially since it was the last issue of the series. It sets up a pretty firm new status quo and that the story would be continuing as opposed to stopping cold. I don’t think you can blame Dan Jurgens writing for that; perhaps he wasn’t told that the twelfth issue would be the last. 

I still think that Justice League International still has a lot of life in it as a concept, as the lesser super hero team in the DC Universe. I hope that we get to see the members of the team make more appearances in stories to come. 

Mighty Fine Brings The Comic Business Casual

One of the things that sucks about getting older is that you have to dress professionally. Sometimes you really can’t go to work wearing that Booster Gold t-shirt, no matter how cool it is. The good folks at Mighty Fine have helped out, bridging the gap between comic fandom and business casual apparel.

They’ve put out a new line of embroidered polo shirts sporting Marvel character logos. While some of them are not that subtle, the Phoenix one looks awesome. Your coworkers will think your either part of some cult or that you went to some weird Division III college. Now that I think of it, a line of Empire State University collegiate-wear would rock.

You can check them out here.

Booster Gold #5

One of the most powerful super hero comics I’ve read over the last few Booster Gold #5. Our time travelling hero goes back in time to the events of Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, and no matter what Booster tries he can’t save Batgirl. So why is this a great story?

It’s because this is the moment where Booster Gold becomes a serious hero. He won’t accept failure and keeps going back in time to the moment where the Joker fires a crippling bullet through Batgirl’s spine. Ultimately Booster finds out that this event has to happen and that it’s an important part of the history of the universe. He must accept that there is nothing that he can do to fix this.

If you’ve read The Killing Joke, you know that the Joker taking pictures of the original event is an important part of the original story. A later issue of Booster Gold makes reference to his attempt to change history, as Batman (who has possession of the photos) reveals that he knows that Booster attempted to save Batgirl. Batman finally respects Booster.

Unfortunately, the events of Flashpoint and the New 52 rendered this all irrelevant, but its one hell of a story.

Justice League International #5

Dan Jurgens and Aaron Lopresti’s Justice League International #5 finishes their first story arc without a bang, and I mean that in a literal sense since the JLI was able to put aside their individual pettiness and stopped alien invader Perraxus from destroying the Earth.

Along the way there’s lots of arguing, in fighting and a whole lot of self doubting on the part of Godiva, but they survive. The book ends with a panel showing the JLI surviving on a television monitor, with someone saying that they’ll have to go to their fallback plan on killing the heroes.

What I do like about this book is Jurgens’ take on the characters. None of them are impressed or in awe of Batman, which is an overdone cliché in a lot of super hero team comics. They treat him just like any other hero. I also like the relationship between Booster Gold and Guy Gardner; Guy is always antagonizing Booster (who isn’t as inept as the original JLI).If I could change the book, I would probably make the team a little smaller just to allow more characterization and depth. At time it seems like Fire and Vixen are just there. Anyway, this first arc was pretty solid and I wonder where they’re taking this “kill the JLI” subplot.

Justice League International #2

Maybe I was a little hard in the last post, but Dan Jurgens’ other “New 52” book Justice League International has been great. The second issue has the JLI deployed to Peru to fight a giant alien robot.

Unfortunately for them, this is a super tough robot.

Not only that, but this team is really dysfunctional. Jurgens has a lot of characterization crammed throughout this issue. Lets bullet point these developments:

  • Rocket Red and August General in Iron constantly bicker about who’s country (Russia and China, respectively) is better. General also has an odd dialogue style, as he talks in proverbs.
  • Guy Gardner only gets interested in being part of the team once Ice gets hurt. Apparently Guy has a super crush on her, so that’s one element of pre-New 52 DC that sticks.
  • Booster Gold is trying his damnedest to be a good leader, and Godiva undermines him unintentionally by flirting with him constantly.
That said, they fail in their first mission, and now there are a few more of these monster robots around the globe. It’s up to Batman to be the straight person to this cast of characters, and its nice to see that he has a certain level of respect to Booster. I think that Jurgens is continuing the theme of Booster maturing and living up to his potential that he explored in the last Booster Gold series.

 

 

 

Booster Gold #44-47: Turbulence

I’ll admit that I really didn’t follow DC’s Flashpoint event this summer. But I did follow how it effected Booster Gold, who at the time was my favorite of DC’s ongoing series. In the “Turbulence” arc, artist/writer Dan Jurgens concludes the series by having Booster try to survive living in the Flashpoint reality, where its only the Flash, Skeets (his robot sidekick) and himself who know that the timestream is messed up.

Booster is being hunted by the United States military, as they assume he’s just another super-powered being who is part of the Atlantean/Amazon war. They’ve dispatched General Nathaniel Adam after him. In DC proper, Adam is super hero Captain Atom. But in the Flashpoint reality, he’s a soldier who happens to be “piloting” a brainwashed Doomsday–the monster who killed Superman!

So Booster, and a new found ally in Alexandra Gianopoulos, are literally fighting for their lives, and trying to stop Doomsday (who goes from Adam’s control from time to time) from killing and destroying the country. Obviously, because Booster is awesome, they save the day.

Jurgens finishes up the story in a Newhart-esque fashion, with a battered Booster returning to his reality having no idea what had just happened, thinking it was a dream and setting up the new Justice League International series. A fitting end to an awesome comics series!

Justice League International #1

I finally found it! Justice League International #1 was found at a Barnes and Noble in Holyoke, Massachusetts on the way back from my friend Margot of White Hot Oven fame’s awesome wedding. So Sunday was a double treat for me–I went to a great wedding and got a chance to pick up the relaunch of one of my favorite comic book concepts. So how did Dan Jurgens and Aaron Lopresti do?

The new JLI is founded by the United Nations to be their own multi-national super hero team. It seems that in the New DC, people are much more skeptical of super powered types like in the Marvel Universe. Lead by the popularity seeking Booster Gold, the new JLI is made up of some of the usual suspects like Guy Gardner (who resents taking orders from Booster), Fire and Ice, and the current Rocket Red. The new additions are Vixen (a perpetually underused character in the DC pantheon), Godiva (a forgotten super heroine with magic hair who flirts with Booster continually) and August General in Iron, a Chinese super hero from the Great Ten.

The book is a lot of exposition, as to why the heroes were picked for the team and how they interact. Batman, well because he’s Batman, has to be part of the team. He joins up independently, as the UN doesn’t want him in due to his secret identity. The book ends with the team setting off on their first mission.

Lopresti’s art is fine, and Jurgens does a good job of getting across all the different personalities. I like that he’s writing Booster to be a stronger character/leader type, as he did in Booster’s recently ended solo book. Overall, I would give this a B+, as it was very good and definitely peaked my interest for the next issue.

30 Things I Like About Comics—#1 Justice League International

We’ve done it. We’ve gotten to one of my–if not the favorite–things in comics, the Justice League International. So how did a group of B and C list super heroes capture my heart?

Writers Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis gave this motley crew such great personalities. Just look at some of them. Booster Gold was a greedy, scheming George Costanza type, but had the looks and self confidence to make it work. His best friend Blue Beetle was always cracking jokes, but secretly had low seelf esteem in regards to his appearance.
Fire was a Brazillian sex pot and her best friend Ice was a bit socially conservative.
Guy Gardner was the prototypical dumb jock and was stuck with an idiot would-be sidekick in G’nort. Power Girl and Black Canary were super feminists. Elongated Man and his wife Sue were the obnoxious cute couple. Maxwell Lord was like Mr. Sheffield from The Nanny, but more of a tool. And these were just the primary characters.

The best part of this book was how they were able to intertwine the JLI’s personal lives and problems equally with the crime fighting and world saving stories. The book may have been silly at times, but you would always be more interested in what was going on between the characters then what diabolical scheme they were stopping.

You remember the time that Booster and Beetle tried to open a vacation resort on the living island Kooey Koeey Kooey. You remember Guy’s awkward first date with Ice. Or when Batman finally had enough and punched Guy out. Just fun stuff.

I thin that’s why many readers, and myself personally, had such a hard time with the whole mid 2000s DC, where it seemed that JLI characters were being killed left and right. Sue Dibny’s death was the plot device in Identity Crisis (and later on Elongated Man got killed off). Maxwell Lord turned uber-villain and murdered Blue Beetle. Rocket Red bit the dust in OMAC Project. Saying the last decade was rough is an understatement. It sucks seeing your favorite characters getting knocked off left and right.

But I’m really excited for the fall, with a new book featuring JLI coming after Flashpoint. It’s written by Dan Jurgens, who not only worked on JLI back in the day but also created Booster Gold. I can’t wait!