The last issue of vol. 1 this takes place between Millennium 7 and 8. Booster has ran off with a member of the Chosen named Xiang prompting some concern. I can tell you right away I definitely see this issue differently after reading Millennium.
OLDER SPOILERS AHEAD
Title: "The End"
Trixie once again proves why she's such a great character by yelling at Justice League International. This was amusing before but now that I have more context I'm thrilled that someone is telling these guys off even though she's directly most of this at J'onn. Dinah and Ted just sort of stand behind him through this whole thing, I'd like to think they felt bad for their actions. I'd like to but we'll get to that later. For now bask in a sample of this books' leading ladys' righteous anger.
Trixie Collins: You've finally done it, haven't you? Just because Boosters' motives aren't as pure as your oh-so-lofty standards demand, you force him right out of the Justice League! He went undercover with the Manhunters...placed his life in great jeopardy...all to save lives! And you repaid him with suspicion and doubt!
While Boosters' wasn't kicked out of the JLI on panel it I'm pretty sure they would have said as much. Most of the panels after his capture had him placed near the trio that gave him crap. Dinah, Ollie and/or Ted. Trixie is dead on here about everything and that makes it not only infuriating but really sad. No matter what Booster does, how much he risks at the end of the day he'll never get credit for it. People only see the bad and won't own up to their own mistakes. She knows how much this has to kill Booster because she's been with him through this all. Seen him worry about doing the right thing. How peoples' view of him effects Booster. How he lost his family and still gave up everything else for this cause. Yet these heroes--the ones Booster begged Trixie to help him contact because he desperately wanted to join them--treated him like crap. Just like the tabloids, just like the worst villains he fought. This STILL happens to him. So yeah, she knows better than any of them how brutal this was for Booster. To make matters worse they ask her to calm down and mention the thing with Xiang asking for her assistance.
Trixie Collins: OOO...give me a break! You don't even care about Booster...you're just worried that he might injure your precious Xiang!
Ted Kord: Not true, red! We're worried about both of 'em!
Trixie Collins: Sure you are! That's why Booster ran away from you guys, right? Because you were so "worried" about him?
A prime example of why Trixie should have been the receptionist of JLI, she doesn't take crap and wouldn't put up with Ted being a bad influence on Booster. Okay that's a topic for another day but again she calls it like it is. Although she doesn't know it Ted threatened to give Booster over to Wonder Woman to get him torn apart. No one cared about him until he took a member of the Chosen. Trixie tells them that Booster is responsible for the mess around them and gives her account on what happened a half an hour earlier.
Keeping with his promise to show Xiang how rotten the world is he brings her to his house. She doesn't see what the problem is since it's actually a beautiful mansion, certainly nothing to get mad at. Booster disagrees as he explains the whole thing being built as a trap since Dirk deceived him. Furthermore he's furious since his undercover ploy only made the heroes snub him and kick him out of the league. Claiming his home is a symbol of failure he knocks it down. Skeets (who was absent in Millennuim) turns up asking what's going on. Booster tells him that Booster Gold doesn't exist anymore and promptly shuts down Skeets. I've tried to make sense out of this and the only thing I can come up with is Booster not wanting to be talked out his plan to quit. The heroes jerk level gets higher though.
Booster Gold: Despite all I've done, the world considers me a traitor! My money is gone...and Superman even has Metropolis hating me! If the world doesn't want Booster Gold...then Booster Gold is gone!
Superman didn't seem to notice Booster during the main Millennium series. I'm not sure when he'd have time to do this since he was in space for a good portion of time. Before he went? Maybe Booster is just assuming it since Metropolis took Supermans' side when he sided against the Manhunters? He digs into the debris to get out some normal clothes changing out of his costume on the spot. Xiang turns away as he does so then comments on the extremity of his actions. Trixie arrives, from where I have no idea. It looks like Jack Soo, Mac and whoever else worked there have long since abandoned him. I don't think she was around when Batman and Guy tried to capture Booster, otherwise their bigger morons than I gave them credit for. Booster tells Trixie that he's ending it much to her dismay.
J'onn claims they want to protect Booster and Xiang leading into another flashback. I'm not sure when this one takes place, before Booster infiltrated the Manhunters or after. If its before J'onn should have vocally been on our hero's side sooner, if after then it makes it look like he only cares about Booster because it helps the Chosens' cause. Harbinger approaches him to discuss the Corporate Crusader claiming that for the human race to evolve Booster has to survive. Apparently he's descended from the Chosen and needs to be in the present to protect him against something that will happen in his time. J'onn keeps this a secret of course, doing such a great job that he forgets about this entirely after this issue.
Hours pass with Booster showing Xiang around, something that amuses me because that means the JLI are really have a hard time looking for them. Anyway Booster tells her how excited he was when he first arrived prompting some confusion with his turn of phrase. She thinks he wants to debate politics but he thinks all governments are the same. Things get built, destroyed and repeat. Not liking his dim view of things she says that his bad experiences shouldn't weight him down. I like seeing them interact, more than the past times I've read this. They actually connect pretty well with Xiang acting as more positive side to his downer mood. Their both outsiders in a way and Xiang doesn't understand his idioms just like he didn't when he first went to the past. This shows how far he has come from the guy that kept pushing no matter what. Now Booster thinks he has lost everything and is trying to convince her of the horrible state of the world in order to convince himself. Maybe even to keep her from making the same naïve mistakes he made.
To her credit Xiang never acts afraid of him, doesn't even try to run away. She's intrigued with him and honestly seems to want to hear his side of the story. Not that he's given her a reason to fear him outside the whole "kidnapping" thing. Boosters' offer to show her around is genuine as he does relate it to his own culture shock. It's really touching actually since he's being the type of guide he didn't have since he can give her an opinion without sugar coating anything. That's not to say he's trying to mess up her mission by giving her a bad outlook on life. He's not, it's more the fact that he's had a lousy year and she's a fellow outsider he can talk to. Offering to introduce her to American food they stop off to get some fast food. Other people recognize Booster leading to a mob attacking him for "selling out" the Justice League. He manages to get out of that without causing any real physical harm although Xiang doesn't like the violence she sees in the crowd. Existing he explains that he'll never be able to live down his "betrayal" because no one believes the truth. She asks if he can find some other place outside the city that will be better.
Things get more insulting when they arrive at the airport to discover BGI doesn't own the plane anymore. It seems Dirk decided to be more of an ass by selling it to Lex Luthor. Knocking out the guard Booster takes back his plane thinking LL deserves it. Which is true, only the current owner doesn't seem to agree. Jets pursue opening fire until the plane crashes. I'm pretty sure that's not legal but I'd love to hear what Luthor would say in court. Back with the JLI trio Ted thinks Booster has gone crazy because of the plane theft. Gee, it's almost as if Booster felt like a caged animal. Wonder where he got that impression. Ted has turned Skeets back on and he thinks he knows where to find his buddy. Since he's seen what Booster does when he freaks out over losing everything it makes sense that he'd make the same choice. The thing that gets me is that neither Dinah or Ted seem to know what their plans for Booster are. Did they think this was a capture mission then? J'onn has to tell them that their trying to bring him back.
Evading Luthors' goon squad Booster flies off with Xiang the rest of the way to their destination. At Rip Hunters' place Booster explains the situation and asks to be sent to the future. Rip explains that he hasn't found a way to create another time sphere yet. Seeing how this news upsets him Xiang asks why he wants to leave. I really like this, she sees him as a good man that can make a positive difference and thinks he should. The world he showed her had good and bad in it but she still sees value to it. Booster thinks otherwise...J'onn disagrees. The JLI arrive making me admire Rips' restraint for not telling them to get the hell out of his house.
Black Canary: We believe you, you idiot! We know you didn't betray us!
Martian Manhunter: Black Canary speaks the truth. We've always accepted your explanation as to why you joined the Manhunters!
BULL! Okay I'll let J'onn have a little slack since he arrived after they captured Booster. He was with the heroes in space when that happened. But did he say anything to the others beforehand or after to change the tension with the other heroes? Booster wouldn't be so upset if you didn't treat him like crap. He says he was kicked out of JLI, did he imagine that? Nice one Dinah, calling him an idiot will really endear him to you guys. For believing in him you sure had a funny way of showing it since you glared at him when he explained himself. Then helped Ted restrain him and stayed by his side to guard him until he ran off. Yeah, you really believed him.
Booster sees this is BS. naturally and points out the fact he was attacked (well more threatened), which no one says their sorry for. He offhandedly refers to another hero when he mentions a guy with a cape being sanctimonious. Dinah doesn't like that and tells him off for being a bullheaded antagonist when their trying to meet him halfway. Huh. Nope, sorry but I can't see that. First they denied blame, then lied to say they believed him. (A lie for Dinah anyway.) J'onn does the same thing with his response here. Booster is right when he says they believe the worst in him. Instead of owning up to those mistakes they sidestep them completely. He has every reason to be upset, he's not the antagonist in this situation Dinah. The crowning gem of this however is Teds' two cents. When I read this before I thought this was kind of a cool moment since they were going to be best friends. Now that I read what happened previously my opinion has changed.
Ted Kord: Oh, so the big super hero has a couple of problems, huh? Well, big deal! You know what I see here? I see an immature kid who's found out that life isn't all a party! And rather than face up to it he decided to run away!
This is rich coming from Ted, the man that will repeatedly get Booster into immature acts and try to make everything a party. Not to mention none of the JLI members are taking responsibility for their own actions and Teds' was the worst! I don't see any of them making the effort to apologize. Just dance around whether they believed him or not then act like he was the one in the wrong. Come to think of it I can't recall Ted ever saying he was sorry to Booster. At least not at the moment. Still Ted says their there to stop him from leaving, that the JLI takes care of their own, they have a place to stay, etc. J'onn pulls Boosters' costume out of his cape pocket. (Wait since he's a shapeshifter does that mean it was--nevermind.)
The last scene is rightfully between Trixie and Booster. I particularly like his entrance when arriving during her exercising. In the end the reason he gives for not giving up is because of Michelle since he feels doing so would be admitting that his heroic life--the reason she died--was all for nothing. I like that, it certainly makes more sense than deciding to stay because of anything the JLI said. I guess Dirk--the human--was the Manhunter not a robot? Sarah is mentioned, she's living with the previously mentioned mother that left Dirk and her. I had forgotten who actually took her in. So Dirk complete abandonment of her, betrayal of Booster, etc. throws all his character development out the window. Booster decided to leave Superman to his city since he realizes he'll always be second best. Before he goes he just wants Trixie to know she was the one good thing in his life. They kiss, one that's sadly pulled back so we can only see them at a distance making the moment more private.
I believe Booster always knew how Trixie felt which is why he pretended not to notice. He didn't want to hurt her and thought he would if they got close. There was a small subtext of Michelle seeing something between the two. There was her sadness when Trixie got upset over Booster saying he wasn't a one woman man. Then her choice of name she wrote in the registry at the inn. There was some flirting on both parts, he certainly opened up to her more than anyone else. In my opinion Trixie is pretty much the perfect woman for him. Not to mentions she was a natural at being a super hero. I'd love to see her back and more than that I want her to be Rips' mom. I heard she wasn't but there's always a chance that can change. Having said his goodbye Booster promises to rebuild himself. Booster Gold is here to stay. Damn straight.
Overall: I can't blame Jurgens for having to make Dirk go bad but I think he did well with what he had. This is far superior to every issue of Millennium and is actually pretty touching. While a tie in this keeps with the themes of the series. I found myself liking Boosters' budding friendship with Xiang more than I previously did. They both learn from each other, he takes her advice to leave the city and he gives her a different view of the world. At the same time I found myself pretty mad at JLI. If they wanted someone to reason with him they would have been better off getting Guy who was the only reasonable one Booster dealt with in Millennium.
Booster being special has been touched on in the past with Extreme Justice (which everyone ignores) and a bit in the second BG series. Apparently that played a part in the reason the Time Stealers couldn't just kill him. Jurgens has said in interviews that Booster still hasn't done this great task. Of course there's also another twist since the New Guardians that came out of this series were all about passing on their genes. While it wasn't part of the canon back when this was printed we later learn that Booster will have his own kid, Rip Hunter. The legacy carried on even if he'll never get credit for it or most of his heroics. I'd say this was a pretty good way to close out the series with.
Next up I'll look over Boosters' appearance in the Time Masters mini series.
Questions Raised?: Why was Booster able to leave with Xiang in the first place? Are you telling me none of the heroes pursued him until he was out of sight? Did Superman and the rest tell the JLI he was their problem or something?
Now I know Harbinger has a lot of information but how could she know Booster is related to the Chosen when she didn't even known she was a member? Was he supposed to be related to her but she didn't know? Why would he be better off in the past when the nuclear war was supposed to happen in some near-ish time?
J'onn says that Booster doesn't know and shouldn't find out the truth of his importance. If that's true then how do Ted and Booster find out in Extreme Justice? Was Ted eavesdropping and decided to reveal the truth? If he knew he certainly didn't do much to appeal to Booster here but then again neither did J'onn.
Did you Notice?: Burger Queen? Please tell me this is owed by Oliver Queen.
Booster is a gentleman, look at him open the door for Xiang.
Rip why do you have a painting of a clock? Actually this isn't as bad as his time obsession gets in Time Masters.
In case you missed it Trixie saved the cats which are at her place.
I'm going to assume Trixie is on the ground floor otherwise her door leads out to nothingness since the window shows the skyline.
Say What?: Besides Trixie Xiang is one of the few people to call Booster Michael.