Friday, January 28, 2011

Deja Booster

In accordance of with long established standards of Internet etiquette, I am obligated to begin this discussion of Booster Gold #40 with a
as I intend to discuss the very last panel of the story. So, if you are at all  interested in  reading the issue, I suggest that you do so before going any further.  If you're not, well, I've really got to ask why you're reading this post in the first place.
Now that that's out of the way, let's get down to business, shall we?
This issue is, as the old cliche would have it, a "perfect jumping on point for new readers." Which makes sense, as DC's month long "iconic" cover theme gimmick might actually attract one or two rapid completists who don't normally pick the book up and they might even bother to read it before they slab it.  The bulk of "The Life and Times of Michael Jon Carter" is taken up, as you can probably infer from the title, by a retelling of Booster Gold's origin. 
Back in #38, Booster traveled back to World War II and teamed with his once and future Justice League teammate General Glory to defeat evil Nazi scientist Dr. Nishtikeit. At the end of that adventure, an exploding time machine propelled Nishtikeit forward in time to about ten years ago and, apparently, made his head glow green.  He has spent the last decade building up a worldwide criminal empire and now he is ready to take his revenge upon Booster Gold. In order to learn as much as he can about his foe, Nishtikeit has his agents hack into Rip Hunter's computers.  They manage to get the records of Booster's past up until the time he joins the League before Hunter's security kicks in and destroys the invading computer worm. 
Later, Booster returns to Rip Hunter's lab and Rip tells him about the information theft.  Booster's a bit humiliated that someone has delved into his past and seen what a jerk he was back then.  Rip reassures him that it doesn't matter, because he's not that guy anymore, and has become the hero that he once only played at being.  That fact, Rip continues, makes what he has to do next that much harder.  Reminding Booster that he gained his powers through stealing from the Space Museum, Rip zaps him with a fancy-schmancy sci-fi ray gun and declares "--You're under arrest---and your trial begins immediately-- IN THE 25TH CENTURY!"
Now it didn't bug me that Rip was acting oddly or out of character, as I'm sure there's a reason for it which we'll learn in future issues.  My first thought on reading that panel was "Haven't they done this before?"  I stopped buying the first Booster Gold series on a regular basis after the origin story and fight/team-up with Superman in #'s 6 and 7.  However, I was sort of vaguely aware of a later storyline in which Booster returned to the future to answer for his crimes.
As it happens, I found those very issues, along with a bunch more from the first series, for two bits apiece at Half-Price Books.  Now that I've read all but three issues of Booster Gold Volume One, I feel pretty secure in expressing the opinion that the return to the 25th century storyline in #'s 13-15 were the best issues of that series.  So, do we really need to rehash that story?
Of course, this story will not just be a regurgitation of that earlier story, as I'm sure that revenge seeking Nazi scientist with the glowing green head will be involved and probably has something to do with Rip's odd behavior.
Besides, I realized as I thought about it that the plot of this book isn't really why I read it, or any book by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis for that matter.  I read their books for the character interaction, the dialogue, and the humor.  Booster Gold might not be their finest work, but it still has all those elements that make me love the Giffen/DeMatties team.

1 comment:

  1. If you look back on those Booster Gold back issues, you'll notice that after Michael Jon Carter was arrested, he recieved no trial. None at all. He went straight to the executioner. Do not pass GO; do not collect. I'm pleased to hear that you liked those issues, but I found them dissapointing. I really expected a trial scene, where Booster is forced to face his own shortcomings in public, but never got it. Maybe the boys at the helm of the comic looked back on that old story and saw what I did: a missed oportunity for character development and a lost chance to spice up the superhero slug-fests with some courtroom drama.