Archive for Booster Gold

Convergence End


Convergence: Shazam! #2

While Gotham Gaslight attacks Fawcett City with zeppelins and bombs, Captain Marvel flies over to Victorian Gotham but is attacked by the Victorian Batman — and he has a surprisingly tough time. But before long, the real bad guy makes his appearance — Mr. Atom, mentally controlling Gotham’s wonderful Victorian villains. Who will prevail, and who’s the mind behind Mr. Atom?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The high point was Batman’s Victorian rogues’ gallery. Cap and crew were reliably heroic and wondrous. The main quibble is that our heroes never really reacted the way they should’ve to Victorian Gotham’s destruction.


Convergence: Plastic Man and the Freedom Fighters #2

The WWII heroes of Earth-X are up against the Nazis and a bunch of dead robot superheroes from the future. There’s a temporary truce between Plas and his allies and the Nazis, who are all, after all, humans from the same Earth. But that truce doesn’t last long when the villainous Silver Ghost figures he can take out Plas and get control of the robots for himself.

Verdict: Thumbs down. There’s basically no reason to have the Freedom Fighters in here at all. They’re strictly background players. And even if you consider Plastic Man’s origins as a straight man to all the weirdos in Jack Cole’s comics, this version of Plas just doesn’t have anything funny to react to. The art is pretty great, though.


Convergence: Booster Gold #2

The older Booster meets up with Ted Kord! There is a joyous reunion, but this Booster is terribly ill — he’s overdosed on chronal energy, so he’s aging to death at top speed. Meanwhile, the younger Booster, Rip Hunter, and Goldstar escape the Legion of Super-Heroes, but the only way to save older Booster may be to expose him to even more chronal energy, leading to a surprising transformation.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This was a lot better than I was expecting — lots of emotional heft and a wonderful surprise ending.

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Converging Plastic


Convergence: Plastic Man and the Freedom Fighters #1

The Convergence crossover bounces over to Earth-X, home of the Golden Age Freedom Fighters — Uncle Sam, the Ray, the Human Bomb, Phantom Lady, Black Condor, and Doll-Man — and in this continuity, their leader Plastic Man. The Nazis have taken over the world, while the Freedom Fighters try to liberate America. They successfully lure the Nazi’s pet supervillain, the Silver Ghost, to New York City — just in time for the Dome to appear and cut off everyone’s powers. The team is eventually betrayed by, of all people, Woozy Winks, but before their execution, the Dome finally comes down and everyone gets their powers back.

Verdict: I think I’ll give this one a thumbs up. Plastic Man isn’t a constant comedian — but when he was introduced in the Golden Age, he was generally the straight man for other people’s comedy. We don’t get a lot of character work with the Freedom Fighters, but what we see seems okay.


Convergence: Shazam! #1

Oooo, classic Captain Marvel? Written by Jeff Parker and illustrated by Doc Shaner? Yes, I will sign up for that.

For whatever reason, the Dome over Fawcett City hasn’t been dropped yet, and the Marvels still don’t have their powers. Bulletman and Bulletgirl are still around to help, luckily, but after Billy Batson, Mary Batson, and Freddy Freeman follow Uncle Dudley and WHIZ station owner Sterling Morris after they’re acting shady, they discover that the Monster Society of Evil is still in operation, with Mr. Atom and King Kull working on deadly machines while Dr. Sivana and Ibac have been disguised as Dudley and Mr. Morris. Tawney shows up to help, but the villains still seem to have the upper hand — until the Dome finally comes down, and the heroes get their powers back! But now someone else is attacking the city…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Once again, while the Rebooted DCU can’t figure out how to make a Captain Marvel who isn’t a raging douchebag, the Elseworlds stories — like this one and the tale a few months ago from Multiversity — show that Captain Marvel is still relevant and cool and fun. Jeff Parker’s story is pretty near perfect, and Doc Shaner’s art is a beautiful blend of Golden Age style and modern technique.


Convergence: Booster Gold #1

Booster Gold is being held captive but is rescued by Skeets and Rip Hunter, who reveal that Booster is Rip’s father — no, wait, a Booster from another universe is Rip’s father, actually. Booster was being held prisoner in Skartaris — and in fact, just about every time traveler around was also being held captive there, too. They rescue the older Booster, the one who’s Rip’s father, along with Booster’s sister Michelle, the superheroine Goldstar. The older Booster is dying because he’s been exposed to too much chronal energy, and he now randomly teleports from one domed city to the next. The next time he teleports, the others track him to the city holding the 31st century’s Legion of Super-Heroes. Can they rescue Booster, or is it already too late?

Verdict: Thumbs down. The story is chaotic and confusing, and it isn’t helped by two Booster Golds who look almost identical.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Wow, here’s hoping for a fast recovery for awesome artist and awesome person Ty Templeton.
  • A phone game that lets you see your own home as a haunted house? Please no. I already have too much trouble falling asleep.
  • It turns out some of the “looting” photos you’re seeing are faked and likely posted by racist whites trying to make black people in Baltimore look bad.

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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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Fun with Rhinos

Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes #5

Captain America takes on a simple mission — he’s gotten a call that someone in a small town in Montana is illegally holding a baby rhinoceros for experimentation. Does he need a hand from any of the other Avengers? Nah, simple grab-and-go mission, piece of cake. Well, he finds out that the Montana town is actually a disguised HYDRA base with 5,000 members on site. And the person who called him for help? It’s Spider-Man’s old foe, the Rhino. But does Captain America back down from something like that? HECK NO! He goes in, beats up HYDRA dorks, steals some normal clothing so he can blend in with the city full of paranoid crazy people who want to conquer the world, and hangs out with the Rhino. The problem is that the cute baby rhino named Bartleby is going to be experimented on and killed because HYDRA thinks they can make an army of guys like Rhino — he knows that isn’t possible, and especially not just by killing a cute baby rhino. So Cap has to sneak a huge, superstrong, and completely unsubtle supervillain out of town, along with a mostly defenseless baby rhino. How on earth is that going to be possible?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Really cute and fun story. Nice emphasis on Cap, and a lot of fun with both the Rhino and Bartleby. And the art is by ChrisCross, an old favorite of mine from back when he was drawing “Blood Syndicate,” so getting a nice dose of his art is definitely a bonus for me.

Booster Gold #35

Booster and Skeets are in the past on a mission with Blue Beetle, Mister Miracle, and Big Barda as they try to get a magic book from a dweeby world conqueror wannabe named Hieronymous the Underachiever. Hieronymous has a trick up his sleeve — or rather in orbit, ready to destroy the planet he’s on with a giant weapon called a Planet Pounder. The Darkstars are looking for it without much success, and Hieronymous is using the Planet Pounder as blackmail to try to get the former ruler to reveal the secrets of the book to him. Can the heroes get the book, defeat Hieronymous’ minions, and stop the Planet Pounder in time?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s always fun to see Giffen and DeMatteis working on the old Bwa-ha-ha Justice League, and they’ve got the story moving along very well. Booster’s more recent maturity is nicely contrasted with the way his old teammates still expect him to behave.

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Substitutes and Inferiors

The Brave and the Bold #35

I’d pretty much given up on this title — J. Michael Straczynski’s storytelling skills lately have ranged from incompetent to downright insulting. But I’ve got a weakness for both the Inferior Five and the Legion of Substitute Heroes, so I shelled out the dough to check it out.

This story is closely related to a previous “Brave and the Bold” story where the Legion of Super-Heroes and the Doom Patrol teamed up to save the future Earth from a black hole. Now in the aftermath, the Legion of Substitute Heroes have decided they’d like to get some of that Saving-the-World glory for themselves, so they steal a Time Bubble to try to team up with the Doom Patrol before the Legion can. But they arrive too late, the Legion and the Doom Patrol have already left, and they have to go look for a new team to join with — in this case, the Inferior Five. So in between various time travel mishaps, trying to explain advanced quantum theory to everyone, and losing Dumb Bunny’s tail in the Time Bubble’s machinery… the Legion of Super-Heroes and Doom Patrol still save the world by themselves. Oh, well, at least the Substitutes and the Inferior Five are still friends, right?

Verdict: I think I’ll actually give this a thumbs up. The main thing a story starring the Substitute Heroes and the Inferior Five needs to have is a nice big dollop of silly, and this was a pretty darn silly story. Sure, some of the jokes get hammered just a bit too hard, but it could’ve been a heck of a lot worse.

Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine #2

Well, Spider-Man and Wolverine have gone time-traveling, getting stuck in a future where the human race has been wiped out by Doctor Doom, after uploading his intellect into a planet, but the cavemen who Wolverine trained in the distant past have managed to survive and (barely) thrive. While Spidey does what he can to teach them science and try to find a way to defeat Doom the Living Planet if it ever comes back, Wolverine has locked himself away from the world to avoid the former cavemen who now worship him. Finally, Spidey finds the one weapon that could save everyone — the Phoenix Force — and manages to forge it into a single bullet. But when it’s fired, it’s guaranteed to kill whoever pulls the trigger. When Doom makes his return, is Spidey going to be able to fire that fateful bullet?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of great stuff here, including Doom, the Phoenix Bullet, and Spidey’s replacement costume. The dialogue is nice, the artwork is great, and I’m loving the crazy ideas that are getting tossed around here.

Booster Gold #34

Rip Hunter tells Booster that since he rescued Rani from the future, he now has to take responsibility for her as her surrogate father. Booster isn’t ready for that responsibility, but his sister Michelle takes up the challenge. Still trying to figure out a way to stop Maxwell Lord in the past when he was a good guy, Booster takes another trip to the Justice League International days and runs into Ted Kord, who drags him along on one of his get-rich-quick schemes. Soon, Booster and Blue Beetle are on the trail of some strange thieves who stole a mystic book from the Vatican. Needing to track the thieves off-planet, they turn to Mister Miracle and Big Barda, who aren’t very enthusiastic about helping. After riding a Boom Tube to a quasi-fantasy world, they fight a dragon and come to the attention of a fairly unambitious-but-still-villainous wizard called Hieronymous the Under-Achiever. Can the heroes survive against his magical minions and enslaved subjects?

Verdict: A narrow thumbs up. I like the Bwa-Ha-Ha days of the Justice League just fine, but this doesn’t feel like one of the adventures of the new, more competent Booster Gold — it just feels like an old ’80s JLI tale. On the other hand, it is pretty funny, particularly the geeky Hieronymous.

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Booster Pack

Booster Gold #33

This whole issue won’t make a lot of sense to you if you’re not up on the current “Justice League: Generation Lost” miniseries, where Maxwell Lord has boosted his psychic powers to the point where he’s been able to erase his existence from the memory of almost everyone on Earth, except for a small number of former Justice Leaguers. (I’m not reading it ’cause it’s written by Judd Winick, who seems to work by vomiting onto his script pages, then sending that in to DC.)

Anyway, after Booster knocks the stuffing out of a Scottish supervillain named Brigadoom, Cyborg shows up and gives him a lot of hassle about the old JLI, which triggers a very satisfying verbal smackdown on Booster’s part. The incident inspires him to try to figure out a way to prove that Max Lord really did and does exist, and he hits on the idea of traveling to the past and digging up some info about him before he publically went bad. Can Booster successfully infiltrate his own past, and can he find the information he needs?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The cover makes it look a lot more dangerous than it really is — most of the perils Booster faces in the past are generally on the level of Extremely Embarrassing and less Extremely Deadly. And we get some very nice stuff with Martian Manhunter uncovering Booster’s secret identity and Black Canary looking for revenge for a drunken interview Booster gave to a lad rag.

Chew #11

Tony Chu, cannibal FDA agent, gets a lead on a murder case that points to a group of extremely wealthy powerbrokers who like to get together occasionally to eat endangered species. So he uses it as an opportunity to take his semi-girlfriend Amelia Mintz on a date. Dude, police business isn’t usually the most romantic settings in the world, Tony — especially when the guns and knives come out…

Verdict: Thumbs up. A good funny story, with the romantic subplot finally moving into the forefront.

Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes #3

Black Widow and the Vision learn of a blackmail scheme orchestrated by a couple of supervillains called Diamondhead and the Owl and, frustrated with their recent treatment by other members of the Avengers, decide to take on the case on their own.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The plot sounds a bit light, but it’s buoyed up by a lot of smaller-scale interpersonal stuff that’s really enjoyable — Vision extracting someone’s keys from a locked car, the banter between Reed and Sue, most of the interaction between Thor and Nova, and Nova’s reaction to someone else fighting “his” villain. The Vision’s anger that no one accepts his chosen name is well-done, too.

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Buy Gold Now!

Booster Gold #32

Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis — the much-beloved team from the “Bwa-Ha-Ha” days of the “Justice League” comics — are back together writing Booster’s adventures now. Since they basically created Booster back in the mid-1980s, this could be really spectacularly cool… or really spectacularly awful.

Booster is stranded on the planet Daxam in the 30th century. His armor and equipment have been badly damaged because he showed up in the middle of the Great Darkness Saga, where three billion brainwashed Daxamites reshaped the planet with heat vision into the image of Darkseid. Booster is trying to assist some stranded alien tourists as they all attempt to survive the Daxamite barrage. Unfortunately, the shelter they locate is actually a deserted prison — or rather, an almost deserted prison. The one inmate who stuck around the diabolical Emerald Empress. Is Booster going to be able to beat one of the most powerful members of the Fatal Five and save all the tourists when he’s stuck without most of his powers?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s funny — and it could’ve gone the old familiar route of making Booster a complete idiot for solely comedic purposes. But they didn’t do that, thank goodness. Booster’s still a competent hero — but he’s funny, has his share of flaws and ego, and doesn’t get much respect from anyone. And it’s got its share of drama and action, too. If Giffen and DeMatteis can keep that mix right, they’re going to have a really great comic book on their hands.

Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers Unleashed #3

All the mythological creatures get deposited in Central Park, leaving it up to the Pet Avengers to keep them all from running wild. And even worse, the immense monster that chased them all here is preparing to break through into our world, too. Can even the combined power of the Pet Avengers and all the mythological creatures stand a chance of defeating the monster? And even if they can, is something even worse on the way?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nice all-ages story, with lots of chaos, action, and humor.

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Fellowship of the Rings

Green Lantern #53

The Blackest Night is over, and the primary representatives of the various Lantern corps are continuing on with their lives. While Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris try to figure out if they can continue their always-stormy relationship, Sinestro reveals that a white power battery has appeared and demanded to to see Hal. Saint Walker helps the Flash rebury the dead of Coast City, a mysterious someone from Sector 666 is holding secret telepathic conversations with Hector Hammond, and Larfleeze gets manipulated by Lex Luthor. All that, plus Atrocitus is making some very surprising new allies.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The story is fine, if a bit all over the place. Doug Mahnke’s art is what really makes this issue sing. From the blasted surface of the dead planet Ryut, to Hal and Carol flirting in a bar, to Saint Walker’s benedictions in the cemetery, to Sayd‘s look of sorrow as Larfleeze’s captive Guardian, to Luthor’s beautifully thoughtful and evil expressions — they’re all rendered just about as perfectly as I could ever imagine them. There’s no way DC is paying Mahnke enough for work this gorgeous.


Batgirl #9

Stephanie saves a train from a mad — okay, mostly just angry — bomber, while Barbara Gordon continues mentoring the recently-paralyzed Wendy, brother of the late Marvin and daughter of the Calculator. Wendy is generally hostile to getting any help beyond just fixing up electronics. But the Calculator has some evil new plans, including a new binary nanite system that can control and kill people over the phone, and some all-new and all-crazy plans to get rid of Oracle once and for all.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great and fun superheroics, with plenty of excellently crafted action, dialogue, characterization, and suspense, courtesy of writer Bryan Q. Miller, and some outstanding action-packed and downright cinematic artwork from Lee Garbett.

Booster Gold #31

This is Dan Jurgens’ last issue on this title. Booster and Skeets head into the city to beat up some high-tech thieves. Booster is still angry about having to help ensure the past destruction of Coast City in the last issue, as well as being worried about his sister Michelle, who is still upset at the death of her boyfriend in the same disaster. Unfortunately, Booster isn’t paying close attention, and he accidentally deflects an energy blast the wrong way and kills a little girl’s dog. He can’t console the girl or replace the dog, and he leaves the scene feeling like he’s still a colossal failure. Can Booster make peace with his sister and make amends for the dog’s accidental death?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This series has had its problems, but this is a pretty nice issue, mainly because it’s low-key and simple, with more emphasis on emotions and character than on convoluted time travel.

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #15

Freddy Freeman has accepted power from Black Adam, turning himself into Black Adam Junior. Captain Marvel and Black Adam battle clear to Egypt, neither able to hurt the other, while Adam seeks a scarab necklace that he believes will make him vastly more powerful. Mary, meanwhile, alternately beats up on Freddy and tries to talk some sense into him. Eventually, Mary and Mr. Tawny go to see if the wizard can help out, leaving Cap to take on Adam and Freddy solo.

Verdict: Ehh, neither one. It seems perfectly well done, but it’s just not keeping me interested.

Oh, one final note: y’all be here tomorrow — I got a special announcement to make…

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It's a Dog-Eat-Dog World…

Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers Unleashed #1

The Central Park Zoo is the worst-run zoo in the country — or so Marvel Comics would have us believe. Ms. Lion, a small white dog with boy parts and a girl’s name, manages to free not one, but TWO hippos, all without the slightest interference from zoo personnel. Hairball, meanwhile, makes like the least competent animal superhero ever, either refusing to help or just getting freaked out about water. When both of them suddenly get a psychic impression that Frog Thor has mysteriously vanished, they are soon joined by the rest of the Pet Avengers — Lockjaw, Zabu, Redwing, and Lockheed. From there, they go on to accidentally terrorize an innocent frog before learning that Frog Thor has left the Central Park frog tribe on an unknown quest. The rest of the Pet Avengers decide to use their telepathic link to try to find where he went — and they end up in the arctic wastes. What on earth can they hope to find here?

Verdict: Thumbs up, despite some of the silliness of the plot. It’s a fun, goofy, all-ages story with a bunch of (mostly) appealing characters.

Booster Gold #30

Booster and Skeets are at ground zero in the upcoming destruction of Coast City. Mongul and the Cyborg Superman have dropped 77,000 bombs all over the city and are minutes away from blowing the city to smithereens. Sondra Crain, a time traveler trying to stop the city’s destruction, gets sent back into the future with a little girl after Skeets determines that neither of them are in the records of the people who were killed in the disaster. Booster tangles briefly with the Cyborg Superman, then runs into his sister Michelle, traveling on her own through time and stuck here with her boyfriend. Is there going to be enough time to save everyone?

Verdict: Thumbs down. It’s just so blasted boring. I mean, when this series is on, it’s very good. But when it’s not on, it’s just spectacularly dull. And there are so very many comics that have been so much better that still haven’t been able to get enough readers to stave off cancellation…

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Booster Shots

Booster Gold #29

Booster’s sister Michelle is stuck in the past, living in Coast City, and finally remembering that the entire place is about to be destroyed by Mongul and the Cyborg Superman. Meanwhile, Booster and Rip Hunter have figured out that the renegade time traveler who tried to kill Hank Henshaw last issue is going to try to stop him from blowing up Coast City, no matter what damage may occur to the timestream. Booster reluctantly goes to stop her — he’d prefer to save Coast City, too — but it may already be too late. And our backup story focuses on Jaime Reyes, the Blue Beetle. The Scarab armor has gone bad and taken Jaime over — it’s planning on doing whatever it can to destroy the world, and only Paco, Brenda, Traci Thirteen, and Peacemaker have a chance to stop him.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The Booster story is fine, but I wanna talk about the Blue Beetle backup story. It ends well, of course — except that this is the final Blue Beetle backup story in the “Booster Gold” comic. This is rotten news — I’ve enjoyed most of the Booster stories, but the fact remains that the stories about Jaime, his friends, and family have generally been of higher quality. Jaime deserves a place in the DCU outside of occasional guest appearances or in the spectacularly awful “Teen Titans” comic. Hopefully, someone at DC will get smart and give him back a regular ongoing title again.

Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes #20

It’s the current crop of Avengers — Captain America, the Vision, Iron Man, the Invisible Woman, Thor, Black Widow, and Nova — against Diablo, an immortal alchemist. Diablo beats Iron Man like a drum while the rest of the team is running around New York trying to locate them — and they’re being attacked by gigantic fire and stone elementals. Will the team be able to save Iron Man, stop Diablo, and discover who has been causing emotional freakouts all over the world?

Verdict: I’ll give it a thumbs up. Nothing entirely outstanding, but there was nothing seriously wrong with it either. There are a few really nice character moments in here, and Diablo makes a very threatening villain.

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