Saturday, March 16, 2013

Improving books I love: Booster Gold

I've been thinking of doing this for awhile, I know I gush about my favorite books but I wanted to talk about the things I dislike too. This isn't so much a rant as a look at things that could have been improved. I've talked at length about the second volume of Booster Gold and the various writers strengths and weaknesses in that run. This is a look at Boosters' first series.

One of the things that most disliked was how callous Booster came off at the beginning and not wanting to read about a selfish hero. I disagree as I thought the build up of his character was one of the strongest bits of the book. It felt natural and really he wasn't that much of a jerk since we got hints of him actually caring. I also think the build up of mystery over who he was made for a far more interesting story. As a result his origins were a real shock to the reader.

Now I don't have too many problems with this one because I believe Dan Jurgens did do a great job setting this up. There are flaws to be found but I wanted to mention the main complaint most seemed to have. A couple of problems aren't really Jurgens fault their just the nature of comics. The first being how dated the comic is. To Jurgens credit he was WAY ahead of his time with the concept of a hero trying to make a profit for himself. While others would do this later on I can't think of a single one that was anywhere near as compelling or well written. Things like saving a certain president, or the fashion really date the series in a bad way. It's all well and good for Booster to be adjusting to the past but this isn't always a good thing for the reader. I know I still get distracted by some of Boosters' clothes (the ones that aren't supposed to be played for laughs.)

Then there were the editorial mandates. There really was no way for Jurgens to reveal one of his characters as being a Manhunter without ruining the story he was telling. Dirk Davis made the most sense out of all his cast but even then it didn't fit into the overall story. It raised too many questions especially since the character had a daughter and showed interest in Trixie. Hell we saw his thought bubbles. Not to mention the sudden death of Michelle before her character could really be explored. These changes felt shoed in and rushed the ending. In the case of Michelle it was barely mentioned after the fact. I don't mean the fact that she was never mentioned in JLI or any other book until CTIC, but rather in book. It's briefly mentioned but it doesn't feel like a brother grieving the loss of his twin sister but rather explaining the plot.

Jurgens gave the supporting cast much more focus than volume 2. did and even showed Boosters' confusion over a new culture. A major problem for me was the villains. Their just not ones you'd remember and some were silly.Yes the Director was interesting but when I first read it there was nothing to really keep my interest in his secret identity. A couple times I forgot who he was and had to backtrack to remind myself. I got that Booster was ruining his plans hence he wanted revenge but I didn't feel there was a deep enough connection between the two. Plus he died or at the very least was assumed dead never to return to the series. Lex Luthor was used too little to truly count and Broderick, while built up to be a great foe, kind of left on a truce. Overall this one doesn't bother me as much as others. It's not perfect but I think a lot of people are too hard on it. Out of all the solo series I got back issues of it holds up pretty well and was far more interesting than other books I tried (like ironically Teds' series.)

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