Puzzle Quest

Booster Gold #36

The Darkstars are all set to arrest Booster, Big Barda, and Mister Miracle because they think they stole the Planet Pounder super-weapon, but the New Gods get all of them back to Earth with a Boom Tube. Unfortunately, they leave Blue Beetle behind — who’s just bedded the alien sorceress who rules the planet below, and who’s just discovered what a lying dork Ted really is. By the time Booster and Skeets are able to use Rip Hunter’s time technology to get back to Ted, he discovers that the sorceress has turned Ted into a chipmunk. And she says the spell is permanent. And then the Darkstars show up and arrest Booster and Ted, shipping them off to a high-tech space prison. They meet up with Vril Dox, who has a long-range plan to escape, but Booster wants to get out much faster than that.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Even with a chipmunk Blue Beetle, it just isn’t a lot of fun.

The New Avengers #4

There’s an invasion of interdimensional demons, and the Avengers aren’t making any progress against them. While Dr. Strange, Dr. Voodoo, and Daimon Hellstrom try to figure out what magician has the power to start a war like this, the other heroes are just entirely overwhelmed. Suddenly, the otherworldly portal vanishes, and Iron Fist, wearing a shiny new costume, is returned to Earth with the Eye of Agamotto. He’s not happy to see Dr. Strange, claiming that the Ancient One told him that Strange stole the Eye from someone.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Okay, here’s the thing. Last issue, the big cliffhanger was that the Big Bad here was the Ancient One, Dr. Strange’s old mentor, who has been dead and supposedly at-one with the universe for years. And after that big cliffhanger, we get nearly zero followup on that. That’s not the way you do this stuff. You don’t drop something that big at the end of one issue, then spend most of the next issue with a bunch of pointless slugfests. Amateur-league mistakes like this are why I really can’t believe so many people think writer Brian Michael Bendis is such a supa-genius.

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