Thursday, September 8, 2011
Justice League International #1
The Who: A group of heroes from across the world gather by the U.N. to keep an eye on the JLA. Booster Gold a.k.a. Michael Jon Carter is the leader of this team. He may be missing his time travel missions with Rip, at least they got along most of the time. (Booster did all the arguing.) It's still unclear how much of Booster and the teams' previous canon still applies.
Although some Guy doesn't think he can handle the job of leading this team, Batman has faith even though he suspects the U.N. of other motives for choosing Booster for the job. Now our golden hero has to juggle his duties to the world at large, the team, and the other league. Nothing is ever easy for Booster Gold.
Why I chose this title: It has Booster Gold, I've been waiting for this book since JLGL, I enjoy seeing Guy, Tora, Bea, Gavril and Batman as well. This was one of two titles that I instantly knew I had to get and never doubted I'd get.
What I expect from the book: Booster to be the main character but for the others to get a chance to shine. I don't want it to be like Giffin/DeMatteis JLI. I want it to have action, adventure, and most importantly character interaction.
Thoughts: I want to get the controversial topic that arose with the preview of this issue out of the way first. Excited after reading the preview I hopped on a couple boards and was surprised to see how many people took offense at the "basement dwellers" line. Saying that DC/Jurgens were calling old fans names and being petty. First of all I've seen worse in other companies, both in books and online. Second of all Jurgens has never stuck me as the type to mock fans. Is this a message to us? A joke? I didn't read it as something to rally against because the U.N. is out of touch trying to control the superheroes. They represent the stereotypical editorial we the readers often accuse them of being. Booster dismisses such thoughts. He's the star, the hero, the actual mouth piece. It's not the first time Jurgens has used Booster Gold to break the fourth wall after all. He's also had older Booster tell Rip he planned on returning (to BG) when the time was right for example. Hence the point of the exchange was Jurgens via Booster saying that their (the creative teams) going to do their best.
I thought Guy would have some misgivings about Booster leading and I'm happy to see that's being addressed. I still stand by my previous view of their relationship but this makes sense. Guy might feel a bond of misfits but he's always made a big deal over who leads the league he's in. The main reason is because he felt that he deserved the spot and in this occasion he feels that he is clearly the better choice. He worked hard at rising up in the Green Lantern Corps and the class clown that in his eyes never makes an effort to better himself gets the job without even asking for it. That's a pretty big insult. Unlike the Bats, Bea, Tora and Gavril, Guy hasn't been around to see how Booster changed. In a lot of ways he's never really gotten what makes him tick. Even in an alternate timeline in the Blue & Gold arc of BG vol 2. Guy scoffs at the idea of putting Booster Gold in charge, Booster simply hasn't proven himself yet.
One thing that caught my attention right away is Andre Briggs and to a lesser extent his assistant Emerson Esposito. Briggs is basically doing a P.R. stunt to win over people. Some of his choices aren't picked for firepower but rather as a means to charm an okay out of the board members. He even throws a few members that don't meet the rules he set (Batman, Blue Beetle, Green Arrow) to prop up the others. (He already put the team together before he contacted the board.) If the team succeeds they claim credit if they fail the heroes get the blame. It's a very two sided role that I'm not really sure Briggs knows how to handle although he thinks he does. Even though this is all about regaining the publics' trust he's dismissive of their protests. Although he yells at Booster for letting Guy go he doesn't do anything either. Briggs doesn't know people as well as he thinks he does simply because he thinks that Booster Gold is the perfect person to control. It's a wonderful twist on someone trying a Max Lord like feat that doesn't have all his skills.
Max knew how to get the heroes he wanted, knew people well enough to manipulate them by creating his own 'crisis' getting not only the heroes to sign on but get the U.N. to see the need for such a team. True Briggs meets his goal but it already seems to be falling apart. He seems fairly intelligent, a man of his position should be but he doesn't get how to play the game. Not yet. This could either backfire of him or Jurgens has something more interesting up his sleeve. While it's easy to find a comparison between Max and Briggs there's also one to be drawn between him and Booster. He's trying to create the illusion that Booster is in charge and thinks that he can play to his ego to get it done. Booster is used to playing with facades and while he's been fooled in the past he can easily see through Briggs to pick up on something being off. Our hero may be known for being a shill and playing to the crowds but he actually cares about the people. He doesn't see things as a means to an end. Emerson didn't do much but she reminds me of the supporting cast Jurgens had in the first BG series. That's a good thing.
There was a part I didn't particularly like, the exchange between Gavril and August General in Iron about the aircraft. That seemed a little cheesy to me and I thought that Gavril would like AGII because of his political status in JLGL. His sudden annoyance seems a little too rushed even if AGII was being rude. Although I did like Gavril saying the name wrong and muttering that it is a stupid name, which does seem like something he'd do. Another frustrating part was not knowing how much was retconned. With Booster saying he hardly knows the team then Godiva saying Booster doesn't know what some of them can do. Or even Guys' phrasing of working with Booster "a couple of times" that might be sarcasm. There are hints that things happened throughout the book. From Ice telling him how to talk to Guy to Batmans' faith in him. Bea even gets annoyed on Gavrils' behalf when Godvia teases him. It should also be noted that Booster had no idea who Godiva was but not only called Gavril by his real name but also gave some advise about the future. No mention of Canada yet.
There was a buzz that Jurgens took Booster back to his series 1 persona but I think that's jumping the gun a bit. He shows signs of maturity (didn't even hit on Godvia on panel yet) and leadership abilities.
Strange as it sounds the funniest part of this issue for me was the interaction between Batman and Booster. The fact that Bruce just starts flying before he's able to get to the cockpit, not even bothering to warn him beforehand brings a smile to my face. I'd like to think he did that partly due to the sugar Booster put in the Bat-mobile gas tank (I think that was mentioned in the Dead Ted arc.) I love their interactions, not just because 95% of it has been positive. Booster still harbors his own doubts but thankfully Bruce lets him know that he believes in him. What's said is mostly true although he leaves out the part he told Guy about wanting to know why they chose Booster. In this case I think it's a good idea that he doesn't bring something up because saying it at this juncture would basically confirm (in BGs' head) that he's not right for the job.
The best part is the de vu moment I had reading the exchange when Booster asks if the U.N. knows he's there and Batmans' "I've always enjoyed your sense of humor, Booster" reply. It strongly reminded me of a section in the Grey Man arc when Bats wonders outloud how they can find the Grey Man. A worried Booster says that if they stay out in the open he'll find them pretty fast to which Batman replies that's a great idea. Telling a protesting BG to keep up the good work. Confused he asks Black Canary if Batman was serious to which she says something to the effect of him being due for his yearly joke. I would have loved the moment on it's own but I love that these two have the same vibe as back then even though their relationship is stronger. It shows the funnier side of Bats that Booster brings out, a teasing humorous side.
Say What?: It seems a little confusing time wise that Guy mentions Hal being in the JLA since Hal has had his ring taken away by the Guardians. This may of been Guys' way of saying "how come Hal is always in the big leagues and I never get invited?"
Did you Notice?: Lady Flashpoint under Boosters' elbow during his "Ignore them? Never!" panel.
Verdict: I didn't like this too much when I first read it because I kept getting called away while reading. I enjoyed it much more during the re-reading. The art is solid and works well with Jurgens' story. This is a book I'll be keeping on my pull list for the long haul.