Sunday, February 23, 2014

Booster Gold #24 (Volume 1)

The last arc is a tie into Millennium so prepare for things not making sense.


Title: "Betrayal"

Booster arrives home celebrating "scaring off" Captain Atoms' Manhunter in Millennium #3. Which doesn't make as much sense as capturing him or informing Atom so it's kinda hallow victory. He's not too worried about his friends betraying him since their close and as their boss he gives them pay checks. Of course he's wrong about not having his own personal Manhunter as his mansions' defense system blasts him before he can enter. Instead of taking it as an attack he thinks it's a programing error and worries about potential lawsuits. Annoyed that Booster isn't taking things serious the betrayer send the door to attack the Corporate Crusader. A trap door he wasn't aware of opens up and being the curious sort he goes down to see where it leads. Alarmed that a secret death trap sub-basement was installed under his nose he calls the attacker forward to face him. The bad guy decides to drain Boosters' power suit instead.

In the mansion Trixie is shocked to discover all of the BGI funds including Boosters' personal account have been emptied. The lights flicker out and Dirk suggest the power outage is to blame for the faulty information Trixie read. He says that everything is fine. Skeets arrives to explain that the defense system is actually draining the power and it's been turned against Booster. Dirk says only one person can be blamed for this, Mackenzie Garrison. Which doesn't make sense for a Manhunter reveal. Granted nothing makes sense in what I read in Millennium but the information on the heroes was supposed to be something the Manhunters got from Harbringers' history probe. I don't know how well mapped out that is but I assume that Booster wasn't on it since he arrived after the Crisis. That would mean the agent would have to personally get information on Booster. Of course this theory conflicts with something in next issue but at least I'm trying to understand this.

Booster breaks free then talks to a hologram of the Manhunter. Shaken after just missing death because the backstabber willed it he heads topside. Running into Trixie he learns about the money loss and the theory Mac is the betrayer. They go to confront her head on.

Booster Gold: Then you really are a Manhunter!

Mackenzie Garrison: Actually I've never been much of one...I prefer to let the men find me!

That's the best reaction to this whole mess I've read. Kudos Mr. Jurgens for still managing to make this entertaining. Still I'd rather have her be the Manhunter since the real reveal doesn't make any sense. If you read Millennium first then you already know who it is since they show his image and have text boxes with his name in #1. It's Dirk Davis which makes zero sense and I wonder if Jurgens was forced to use Dirk. Why not Jack Soo? Was it either Dirk or Trixie? If that's the case I prefer Dirk but it still makes no sense. We've seen his thoughts and then there's my unanswered questions from my Millennium reviews. Are the "betrayers" real people (human followers of the Manhunters were mentioned) or androids? Do they replace the people with Manhunters? Dirk has a daughter, so unless she's half machine he had to have existed. He was shown wanting to be Boosters' agent when he first saw the hero. Dirk mentions Booster going to him so how did the Manhunters know he'd be the right person? In the comic it's treated like he's the same person they always known without anyone considering otherwise.

What was the point in his growing romantic interest in Trixie then? At that point they both knew the same amount of information on Booster. No one except Mac was even aware of them growing closer. Trixie asks how Dirk could do this to them and how she thought she might have started to love him. I'm not sure what to make of the answer since the Manhunter says their personal lives have nothing to do with it and things will be fine if Booster agrees to join up. He hurts her prompting Booster to get his attention back on him. While losing his money doesn't scare him since he's been broke before the threat of his past scandal being revealed pisses him off. Turns out the underground death trap was set up when everyone else went to the future. Since Dirk had all the money and they turned up months later he had the means to get prepared. I suppose this would be a good switch date for the real Dirk but the Manhunter says it was from the very start.

Jurgens does a wonderful job of showing Booster growing anger until Dirk says the wrong thing--that they own him. If different versions of his origin bookies, his dad, etc. tried to control him so that's a berserk button you don't want to press. While their fighting Dirk says no one will trust him or give him sponsorship deals once they know the truth about him. He also throws out a few interesting questions. What's to stop the Chosen taking over Earth? Are there any records of these Chosen in history books? (A moot point given the lack of information of the past in general.) Booster thinks that Dirk is making sense and he's sick of all the things he lost recently. He agrees to join as long as Dirk keeps quiet and gives back his money. Robo-Dirk ask what changed his mind and Booster explains that he's tired of the way things are. Losing Michelle then trying to be a hero with Superman always on his case. This is followed up with a sucker punch with Booster saying he still doesn't have to like being on the Manhunters side. The punch actually seals the deal since Dirk wouldn't have bought the alliance otherwise.

Trixie doesn't know the whole story but points out it looks like Booster sold out for money. He shrugs this off and has Skeets look into his records for the Chosen thing. There's nothing which Booster uses to prove his point. A press conference is called where Booster says the League and the others are misguided. He publically supports the Manhunters and tells Dirk that he's going to be the hero that makes out from this whole thing.

Overall: If you can get past Dirk being the Manhunter and that reveal not making sense this is a pretty good issue. I'd usually get ticked off about this sudden turn about from a formerly loyal friend but it's just sad. Because this wasn't where Jurgens was going to take the character and I wanted to see that version of Dirk Davis. It helps some that the Manhunter doesn't feel like the same character once he's shown as a robot. Other than Trixies' heartfelt question on why he betrayed them there's nothing to connect the two besides the name. The Manhunter doesn't look or talk like Dirk so it doesn't feel like he became the bad guy. My confusion over how this Manhunter thing works with Dirk Davis will never really get solved since the guy (as a human) shows up in Extreme Justice.

I'm not sure what happened to Jack Soo but he's not show here while Mac is present longer than she usually is. I suppose this might be hard for some fans to read but it helps that I've read this before and have seen him play the fake out sell out before. This arc was actually a big debate piece for displeased fans during 52 and Ted Kords' own refusal to join Max Lord. Boosters' made to look like he's in favor of the Manhunters' side for selfish reasons but this is actually building the foundation of his more heroic selfless side. I can't think of any other hero that's willing to look like crap time and again for the right reason.

This is far, FAR better than any of the Millennium issues I've read. It still has a lot of the confusion based around that series but it handles it better. That said I would totally understand if Booster joined because the Guardians plans were so moronic. Nevertheless this story is the last of the first volume of Booster Gold and still has a lasting impact on the lead. Not so much because of canon but what it says about him.

Say What?: While it's laughable to think Rip Hunter would want to kill Booster Gold now I still think Rip would be the least likely person Booster listed. First of all he's a hero/adventure in his own right. One that's in the history books and two he's the only one mentioned that's not working with him daily. In fact he hasn't shown up since Booster talked about his plans for the mansion.

The Manhunter sound like the humans they were pretending to be? That's weird because I imagine Dirk with an accent which makes the android thing really funny.

He says he used padding to make himself seem out of shape but how did he appear human? If he can shapeshift then why didn't he do that to?

Dirk calls Booster a Manhunter. So anyone can be a Manhunter? How does it work?!

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