Thursday, December 12, 2013

Booster Gold #1 (Volume 1)

I thought it'd be a good time to look back at some time travel titles I love and what better way to start than the very first issue of Booster Gold?

OLD SPOILERS AHEAD



Title: "The Big Fall"

I always thought Dan Jurgens was ironically ahead of his time with this series but it's the little touches that really make you smile. What's going on in the first page? We're taken to a comic book company: "Where it's so quiet, you can hear sales figures drop." A stressed out managing editor/artist named Skip looks for inspiration only to read it in the front page in the form of Booster Gold. Much like Dan Jurgens own inspiration for this comic when he saw all the endorsements athletes made before they even won a medal in the Olympics. There's a few more jokes through this like the "Astro Teens", late deadlines for books and at best avenge sales. It's a nice look into the industry that will always be timeless. Although it doesn't seem like it at the start this idea of a comic series based on Booster Gold isn't just a one off gag or even an ongoing joke. It'll play into the plot at a later date.

The first time Booster makes an appearance he's discussing movie deals and manages to get everything he wants. In page three he's dressed in his costume with no origin to go through. Some see this as a problem but to be honest I usually get bored going through origins in the first issue. I like that we're left wondering about Booster for awhile, it builds up the mystery and makes the reveal have more impact. At present he's only known as Booster Gold, a superhero that has no problem revealing his face to the public and making business deals. Another important detail is the man that greets him as "Buster." It's not just a joke Jurgens threw in about everyone referring to his character as Buster Gold. The man's a senator and I admit it's a plot point I really didn't pay attention to the first time around because this gag was something I brushed over. But Jurgens, for the most part, ties in a lot of things that seem like their be dropped fast.

Right away the clues are in place for something being different about Booster like knowing when to invest and what is doomed to fail. A more endearing trait is that he doesn't get idioms. Turn of phrases don't make sense to him or he'll say the wrong word when he tries to repeat one. He'll hear "shake a leg" and do it wondering why he's being asked. It's cute and Jurgens uses it to great effect without ever overdoing it. I actually kind of missed seeing it. Also he's trying to coin his own phrase, "Boosterrific" will be one he uses to the end of the series. I don't think anyone else says it but it's worth mentioning.

Skeets makes his first appearance as well and yes, he's purposely shaped like a football. Like Booster he grows and adapts so it's a visual thing. Or at least it was before the reboot. He's a little different from what most are used to seeing. While he still has the same functions of providing information and acting like a sidekick he's not really humorous. More of the straight man that chides Booster for not studying hard enough. Skeets is strict for a couple of reasons that will be explored later on. Mostly he corrects Booster when he says something wrong and aids him in battle.

We're also introduced to more supporting cast, his agent Dirk Davis and his receptionist Trixie Collins. At first these relationships seem to be strictly business as Booster depends on them to run things and help get him connected to projects. He put Trixie in charge of finding the Justice Leagues' number in hopes of joining and claiming they'd want him as chairman. But the league doesn't have a number Trixie can find so at the moment their out of his reach. While wondering if his pal the president can help his limo gets hit and it's time for his first (well not linearly but for us) fight.

 Flight, blasters, his forcefield and even his ability to fight hand to hand are shown here as they take on some goons. Then Blackguard turns up and well, Booster doesn't really have many memorable foes in this volume. It's one of the problems that never really gets resolved. To be fair Blackguard does put up a good fight but it's hard to take him seriously especially if you know he never really becomes a big deal. There's also the abilities Booster doesn't really use much like his mass dispersal force. Which just let's him throw a car back. The fight isn't over yet and our hero isn't about to run away when the cameras just arrived.

Jimmy Olsen reports guessing that Superman is dealing with something in space since this story takes place in the city under his protection. The two won't meet for a few issues but it's interesting to note Booster has been around for awhile without bumping into him. I like that Jimmy is able to guess what's going on just because he's seen enough of these battles, it's a good detail. Besides having business smarts Booster shows his brains as well as his skill at the physcial. Really more writers should take note, he's not a dummy or a weakling.

While all this is going on the smoothie bar Booster got a drink from gives shady men the glass so they can find out who he really is. Dirk and Trixie have some character moments to flesh them out a little more or at least build further plots up. Although Dirk won't be seen as more than a stereotypical agent for awhile he does set up a deal that will play a role a little down the line. If you haven't read the series yet I won't spoiler it, at least not in this review. Trixie has to deal with a jerk that gets impatient that Dirk hasn't seen him yet. She prompting puts him in his place for calling her toots but that's nothing compared to when he tries to step on Jack the cat. See Booster has two office cats (Jack and Jill) that Trixie pretty much takes care of and she refuses to let him see Dirk until he says he's sorry. To Jack and pet him. One of the many reasons Trixie is awesome.

Blackguard was trying to steal a satellite guidance system which will make for a great PR. moment when Booster returns it to Star labs. This doesn't turn out so great as the satellite was supposed to be top secret. Suddenly there's a flash of light and a newcomer has weakened Booster.

Overall I think this was a solid read and found very few flaws with it. This is really one of the better first issues I read that keeps the reader guessing and builds up the story in a interesting way. I found Booster likable even if he's projecting the "in it for the glory" fa├žade. If you like the character I think there's a good chance you'll like this.



Did You Notice?: Lois Lane apparently wrote an article called "Super Who?" Her role in the series isn't huge but it's nevertheless interesting to watch. Not just for Supermans' reaction but how she seems to view Booster himself.

Boosters' star isn't a solid blue and won't be for a few issues. The center is yellow/gold while the rest is blue.

I understand why it was done but I think the scene with Booster getting a drink would have made more sense if it was either before he suited up or he was still in the process of putting on his gloves. Taking them off just to have a drink doesn't really work to me. I know it's a nitpick.

This also marks the first time Booster wore his cape. I will continue to mention when he wears it in further reviews but no, the Superman story with the cape Johns/Katz mentioned in BG vol. 2 isn't seen. It's sorta explained but the cape isn't part of his normal attire. He takes it off right before the fight starts. It's mostly for image and if I recall correctly he rarely fights with it on.

A lady Booster saves calls him Superman only to be corrected by her son who thinks Booster is cooler. See this predates the Green Lantern joke!

Skeets is the first one that let's it slip (at least to us the readers) that Booster isn't from this time.

Say What?: Booster wants to call the sequel to the first of his movie (neither have been made yet) "Booster Gold the Legend Lives on!" Can we call the next Booster Gold series this?

Boosters' company is called Goldstar in the first issue. This is one of the many things that will be explained and is actually a little humorous. He also has a catchphrase from his time "Wowzer." He says that one a lot too.

Questions Raised?: Just curious but was Ambush Bug ever a superhero people could depend on?

Booster comes from Gotham like Batman but the museum he worked in was supposed to be more connected to Superman. Was the fact Trixie comes from Kanas supposed to be another wink?

Why does he want the JL to know about his Legion Flight Ring? Because he thinks their know who that is? I can't recall but I don't think Booster should know who they are.

4 comments:

  1. Oh Booster, you loveable scamp! Is this the series where Superman tells him that he can't handle a cape? Sometimes Superman is such a jerk.

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  2. That's what I meant in the "did you notice" section. That scene with Superman never happens but they do show Booster when he decides to stop wearing it. Johns/Katz just added that bit. The cape is more or less a promotional thing that he doesn't wear too much.

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  3. I think the business about the Flight Ring was more a nod to the audience. (How is this guy connected to the Legion?) All of Booster's powers are derived from Superman continuity, so I think it was originally to be implied that Booster had Superman's ring. (CRISIS prevented that storyline.)

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  4. I know I just get to into the character motivation for saying and doing things. I'll get into some of this when the Legion members turn up and when Superman meets Booster. It just struck me as weird when I reread it.

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