Archive for Booster Gold

Legendary Stardust Cowboy

Reed Gunther #3

Rough and tough (but not real smart) cowboy Reed Gunther and his bear Sterling are waiting on a train so they and Reed’s kinda-sorta gal-pal Starla can go after the dastardly Mr. Picks, who’s stolen a bunch of cave monsters so he can display them and make a fortune. But the train won’t let bears aboard, so Reed smuggles Sterling into an empty cattle car. While Reed and Starla travel in style, the old idol packed into the car with Sterling starts floating and glowing… and making monsters, including a steel-driving railroad zombie. Eventually, everyone makes it to Topeka, but can they keep Mr. Picks from finding out about idol’s other powers? All that plus pinups, a sketchbook, and a guest appearance by Grover Cleveland! Holy baloney, Grover Cleveland!

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good all-ages Western fun from Shane and Chris Houghton. The artwork combines cartoonish, exaggerated characters with lots and lots of detail on everything else. Lots and lots of excellent humor, and the zombie is good and scary, too.


Batgirl #6

Stephanie got shot in the head last issue — well, grazed only, which is a good thing, ’cause it’d mean this series ended too early. At any rate, she escapes from the ambulance with Oracle’s help, spars with the always-attitudinal Robin, and gets ordered by Batman to stop pursuing the case of her kidnapped friend, Francisco Gracia. Of course, she ignores him. In fact, she and Robin start their own independent investigation, interviewing the kidnap victim’s girlfriend to find out that Francisco’s father has a bad gambling problem, and he’s made a deal to get the debt erased — Roulette, a slinky villain who runs a gladiatorial arena and casino, is going to take bets on three villains who are hoping to kill Batman.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is turning into a really fun superhero comic. Great dialogue and humor, excellent action, metric tons of personality and smarts. It’s fun watching Stephanie try to fit her less-angsty personality into the mostly dysfunctional Bat-family. Favorite moments this issue: Stepanie and Damien’s interrogation of Francisco’s girlfriend, and the great dialogue between Dick Grayson and Babs Gordon.

Booster Gold #28

Booster smacks around the Royal Flush Gang, then gets called back into the timestream for another chronal crisis. In this case, it’s a mission he’d prefer to skip — he has to save the shuttle mission that ended with astronaut Hank Henshaw becoming the evil Cyborg Superman. Unfortunately, he’s not there to prevent the disaster — he’s supposed to make sure the shuttle goes into space as scheduled to make sure Henshaw’s position as a supervillain isn’t prevented. Meanwhile, Booster’s sister Michelle, on the run through time, realizes that she’s stuck in Coast City mere hours before the Cyborg Superman blows the city to cinders. Our second feature focuses on Jaime Reyes, the Blue Beetle. Concerned that his Scarab is acting up, he and his friends take a trip to Egypt to visit the pyramid where the original Blue Beetle found the Scarab in the ’40s. Unfortunately, his attempt to get the Scarab back to normal may actually be too successful…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of fun stuff here — the Royal Flush Gang makes for entertaining cannon fodder for Booster, and it’s kinda nice to get to see the Cyborg Superman again in all his inglorious glory. The backup Blue Beetle story might be even better, with one of the better cliffhangers I’ve seen in these second features.

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Gold, Black, and Blue


Booster Gold # 27

The Black Lantern Blue Beetle is running amok, threatening Booster, Skeets, the new Blue Beetle, Booster’s ancestor, Daniel Carter (wearing his always-spiffy Supernova costume), and Booster’s possible ancestor, Rose Levin. They’re not making much headway against him, since it’s almost impossible to harm the Black Lantern zombies, so Booster makes a strategic retreat through time to Rip Hunter’s hideout. Realizing they need something that emits a lot of light to break the connection between the black ring and its undead host, Booster, Skeets, and Jaime visits Ted Kord’s mothballed HQ in Kord Industries to get Ted’s old light gun. Will it be enough to stop the Zombie Beetle before anyone else dies?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nothing to earthshaking — just a nice story, with a bit of hitting, a bit of superhero angst, and a nice solution to the problem of the Black Lantern rings.


Detective Comics #859

The origin of Batwoman continues, as we join Kate during her time as a cadet at West Point. She’s at the top of her class, but the brass finds out she’s a lesbian. She’s given the chance to say it’s all a mistake, never to happen again, so she can stay in the Army, but she chooses to maintain her honor — she admits her sexual orientation and accepts her discharge. She breaks the news to her dad, who is proud of her for keeping her integrity. Directionless, Kate throws herself into a hedonistic lifestyle, meets up with and starts a doomed romance with Gotham cop Renee Montoya, and has her first run-in with the Batman after she fights off a mugger. In the backup story, Renee Montoya, as the Question, tracks the human smuggling ring, with the assistance of another superhero.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Really powerful storytelling. Kate Kane and her dad are both really controlled people, emotionally, not given to outward displays of any kind — but this is a deeply emotional and fantastic story, beautifully emphasizing just how off-kilter the military’s Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell policies are. Greg Rucka is doing a great job writing both of these stories. Lots of detail, outstanding characterization, and wonderful dialogue, helped out by J.H. Williams III’s heartstoppingly beautiful artwork in the main story and by Cully Hamner’s less spectacular but still great art in the Question backup.

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Dead Beetle


Booster Gold #26

While Booster goes back in time to watch himself fail to give Ted Kord, his best friend and the second Blue Beetle, a proper eulogy after he died, the Blackest Night is running wild in the rest of the DC Universe. And the latest Black Lantern zombie is Ted Kord himself. He ends up attacking Skeets, Jaime Reyes, Daniel Carter (Booster’s ancestor), and Daniel’s girlfriend Rose. By the time Booster makes it back to the present, Ted is thoroughly trashing everyone else. Does Booster stand a chance?

Verdict: Thumbs up. For a “Blackest Night” tie-in, most of the emphasis here was on character issues, particularly Booster’s continuing sorrow about Ted’s death and his ongoing resentment about the shabby treatment he and Ted received from most of the rest of the superhero community over the years.


Secret Six #15

It’s an all-Deadshot issue, and it’s written by John Ostrander, writer of the most acclaimed run of DC’s “Suicide Squad” ever. Floyd is feeling the urge to go on a thoroughly random killing spree, just for the fun of it. He has a long chat with a preacher buddy of his and tells at least part of his origin — spoiled rich kid of a couple of deeply dysfunctional parents, he attended a costume party at Wayne Manor with a plan to use hired thugs to rob the guests — instead, he ended up being the hero of the evening after shooting one of his own men. He roleplays as a hero for a while, all the while taking protection money from Gotham City’s gangs, but he eventually gets taken down by Batman. Does his past hold the key to let Deadshot get control of his homicidal urges?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good, murderous fun. Nice focus on Deadshot and all the weird quirks that make him tick. His origin is great, too, and it’s cool that Bruce Wayne is the only person at the party who catches onto the obscure film that Floyd based his costume on. Gee, they should let John Ostrander and Jim Calafiore make more comics, don’tcha think?

North 40 #5

I really thought this miniseries was over already? I’m a nut, that’s what I am. In this issue, a bunch of mutated EMS workers are trying to sacrifice some people to raise a malevolent god from the crater in the middle of town, but Amanda and some of the other local mystically-transformed folks are able to save them. The mayor is on a rampage because his son has been bitten by zombies, and he wants Sheriff Morgan and his new deputy, the indestructible Wyatt Hinkle to pay for it. Denny Pittman’s giant robot and his superpowered kids interfere, and Wyatt has a vision of the chubby nerd who helped cause all the trouble in Conover County — while his goth friend is trying to make things worse by creating more monsters, he’s trying to improve things by creating new heroes. But is there too much chaos going on for anyone to keep control of?

Verdict: Another thumbs up. I am so glad this series isn’t finished yet. Great dialogue, lots of wonderful and bizarre characters. And hey, Sheriff Morgan, the only normal guy in town, may not be so normal after all. One more issue to go…

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Barbecued Banes


Secret Six #14

A demon called Grendel is loose on Smyth’s prison/slave island, half of the team is working to help the imprisoned Amazons escape, and the other half is working to stop the rest of the team. Ragdoll goes after Smyth, while one of his henchmen reveals herself as a renegade Amazon who has absorbed the properties of the purple healing ray. In a pretty fantastically badass moment, Scandal Savage, in an attempt to take on Grendel solo, injects herself with Bane’s venom drug. And the Amazons are prepared to kill themselves rather than face any further imprisonment. All that plus Wonder Woman finally wakes up and kicks some butt. Whew!

Verdict: Thumbs up. Another very good issue. Awesome Aussie artist Nicola Scott’s beautiful artwork is combined with Gail Simone’s outstanding action-packed but still character-driven storytelling. Go get it, guys — a comic this good means DC’s gonna come gunning for it eventually, so don’t miss out.


Booster Gold #25

In a cool-down issue from the last Titans-Trigon time-traveling storyline, Booster wants some time off, but Rip Hunter insists that he return to the Batcave to recover his photos from the new Batman. Unfortunately, Booster didn’t expect to run into the new assassin-trained Robin. Meanwhile, Rip and Skeets head out to interrogate Dr. T.O. Morrow and run into the Black Beetle, now transformed into the even more powerful Red Beetle. And in our second feature, Jaime Reyes, the Blue Beetle, has his own run-in with the Black Beetle. Jaime’s armor has him stoked into a killing rage — can he resist murdering the time-traveling madman, discover his true identity, and save his friends and family at the same time?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This series has its ups and downs, but this issue was all good. Rip and Skeets uncover some mysteries, and Booster has some great character moments with Batman and Robin. The Blue Beetle backup feature is also fun — great emphasis on Jaime’s awesome supporting cast, and another nice little crop of mysteries. When they can keep the good stuff going, this is an awesome series — let’s hope they can keep the good stuff coming on a more consistent basis.

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Bite the Wax Tadpole

I’m in a bit of a rotten mood. Nothing real serious, but I’ve taken on some very big, very daunting personal projects, with very scary upcoming deadlines, and I spent most of this weekend not making any real progress on them, even when I tried to work on them. It was a pretty frustrating weekend, coupled with the fact that I haven’t really done anything for fun in a while.

So basically, I’m a bit grim, and I feel like reviewing some comics that just plain bite.


Booster Gold #24

Booster fights Trigon in the future world where Trigon has killed almost everyone. He gets captured with the help of the Black Beetle, but Lex Luthor ends up helping him escape. Luthor leads Booster, Skeets, Rip Hunter, Raven, and the future rebels, including Zatanna, Kyle Rayner, and Green Arrow, to Trigon’s secret vault, which is full of superheroes’ skeletons and a few trinkets. Black Beetle follows them in, grabs a red scarab that he claims will make him invincible, and the rest of the team gives Kyle Rayner a Green Lantern ring. Then Booster, Rip, and Raven return to their original time, where — get this — Booster beats up Deathstroke off-panel so he can impersonate him and save the Teen Titans. Yeah, Booster Gold beats up a guy who can trash pretty much anyone in the DC Universe, and he doesn’t even break a sweat. The backup story with Blue Beetle, for once, isn’t a lot better. Jaime and his friends and family are hiking in Big Bend when they’re attacked by the Black Beetle. Jaime’s been worried that his scarab has been more bloodthirsty, but he just gives in and decides to see if he can kill the Black Beetle.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Once again, there’s no reason for Booster or Rip Hunter to be goofing around in FutureLand, when the only thing they were supposed to fix was in the past. And the utter ridiculousness of Booster beating Deathstroke is just the cherry on a big fat horsecrap sundae. And even Paco talking like Mr. T can’t save the backup story from being a lot of uncharacteristic no-fun.


Models Inc. #1

Hey, ya know what girls want in their comics? A bunch of self-obsessed fictional models talking about clothes and about being famous and about people they don’t like, with minimal action and shallow characterization! Ya know what else they want? A heavily-promoted backup story starring Tim Gunn from “Project Runway” in which he puts on a suit of Iron Man armor that’s on display at a fashion museum and then beats up on bad guys!

Verdict: Nine million thumbs down. I lost numerous brain cells reading the main story, and the backup — listen, I hate to go all continuity-obsessed-fanboy on everyone, but if you were going to display Iron Man armor at a museum, wouldn’t you deactivate it, to keep bad guys from getting it? And even if most Iron Man suits these days weren’t programmed to respond only to Tony Stark, how the heck would some random fashion guru be able to use the blasted thing with any sort of competence? Bad comic. Bad, bad, bad comic.


Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen Special #2

The last issue of this came out last October, and I liked it pretty well. But wow, what a whole year stuck on the shelf will do for ya. Good luck making heads or tails out of this one if you haven’t been following the Superman comics. Superman ain’t around, but Mon-El, from the Legion of Super-Heroes, is filling in and promises to keep Jimmy safe from Codename: Assassin, a guy who is able to fly and kill people with guns. Jimmy is trying to find out — umm, I forget — which leads him to a housefire — he saves someone inside, who turns out to be a former member of Lex Luthor’s Everyman project. He keeps randomly switching gender for some reason. Before he dies, he puts Jimmy in touch with Natasha Irons, who rattles off some stuff about Captain Atom and Breach and stuff. Then Jimmy gets ambushed by Codename: Assassin and gunned down.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Sooo confusing, sooo boring.

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Raiding the Booster Club


Booster Gold #23

The award for most eye-catching cover of the week goes to this issue of “Booster Gold.” When was the last time you saw DC or Marvel do a photo cover on one of their mainstream books? It don’t happen often. (And no, no idea who the cover model is. Might be Dan Jurgens’ wife, maybe? Or daughter… How old is Dan Jurgens anyway?) (UPDATE: Luke in comments informs us that the cover model is Blair Butler from G4TV’s “Attack of the Show.” Feh, you media-savvy youngsters! FEH!)

Aaaaanyway, Booster and Skeets have completely failed to save the Teen Titans, so they take the late-arriving Raven on a trip into the future (How’s that supposed to keep the Titans from getting killed? Quiet, you!) to see what the ultimate result is — the four-eyed interstellar demon Trigon the Terrible takes over the world and kills the JLA! It’s all part of a scheme by the evil time-traveling Black Beetle and his mysterious benefactor to do, um, something evil. Meanwhile, Booster, Skeets, Raven, and Rip Hunter meet up with the alternate-future versions of Zatanna and Kyle Rayner, who are part of the rebellion against Trigon. Booster sacrifices himself to keep the rebels’ base hidden, but ends up facing Trigon all by himself.

Our second feature, of course, stars the Blue Beetle, who is running around with his friends Paco and Brenda battling a robot disguised as a woman named Maria. She was built by your standard robot-building mad scientist, who considers her his masterpiece because he gave her the ability to feel emotions. But Maria hates having emotions, and she wants her “dad” to take them away. Can the Beetle stop Maria and her army of killer robots before it’s too late?

Verdict: It’s not that bad, all things considered, but the plot is a lot more illogical and random than seems to be normal, even for your stereotypical comic book. Running around in the future isn’t going to keep the Titans from getting killed in the past, so why even bother?

The Blue Beetle story, of course, is pure thumbs-up. Very funny dialogue and great action. The Beetle should have never been cancelled.


Secret Six #12

Wonder Woman shows up on Smyth’s slaver island, and she thinks the Secret Six have killed former fill-in Wonder Woman Artemis (She’s actually okay, but Wondy doesn’t realize that). While it initially looks like none of them can go toe-to-toe with Wondy, Jeanette eventually manages it, despite getting beat like a rented mule, when she fully activates her powers as a banshee, turning into a carbon-copy of the Silver Banshee, making Wondy relive Jeanette’s gory death-by-botched-decapitation, and reducing the Amazon to a drooling vegetable. And even that isn’t the scariest thing on the island — before long, we meet Smyth’s horrific patron.

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, excellent dialogue and art, but the creepy factor really gets cranked up high in this one. Jeanette’s transformation and her memories of her death are pretty disturbing, and Smyth’s crucified but still scary friend is unnerving, just by his sudden appearance.


Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels #2

Sir Edward is on the trail of the monster that attacked him and is murdering people around London. While investigating another murder, Grey finds himself invited to the rotten side of town to meet a man called the Captain, a low-rent, barely legal occult detective. The Captain has an inkling about what’s going on, and he takes Grey to meet a medium — the real deal, able to summon an ectoplasmic spirit guide, who offers a small lead in the case and gives Grey a warning about a mysterious spectral figure stalking him. But Grey has other mysterious stalkers to worry about — the demonic bloodsucking monster is still on the prowl.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very moody, spooky scenes on display throughout here. The medium and her spirit guide are simultaneously wholesome and creepy, and the suspense level gets turned up nice and high by the end.

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The Ungrateful Dead


Green Lantern #43

Wow, this one was just wildly creepy.

We focus on an old GL villain called Black Hand. Always a bit of a creepy kid, he loved his family’s mortuary business mainly because it allowed him to get, ahem, up close and personal with dead bodies. After accidentally acquiring a weapon from the demon Atrocitus that allowed him to absorb power from Green Lantern power rings, he became a supervillain in the strange belief that he should try to snuff out the green energy in the universe. After having a run-in with the Black Lantern power battery, he’s become aware of every important death in the DC Universe and has a voice in his head that tells him he can fix everything. After returning home to kill his family, he commits suicide and is then resurrected by a renegade Guardian named Scar as the first Black Lantern.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Again, wow. Yes, very creepy for Black Hand’s bizarre necrophiliac tendencies, but possibly more disturbing for his murder of his family and his own suicide and rebirth, rendered in close-up, loving detail by Doug Mahnke. Also especially good is the four-page sequence where Hand sees visions of the heroes and villains who have died, and the heroes who have been raised from the dead already. If they can maintain this level of creepy glory, “Blackest Night” may go down as one of the best crossover events ever.


Booster Gold #22

The Black Beetle has managed to kill Dick Grayson as Batman by going back in time and killing him when he was Robin in the Teen Titans. Booster and Skeets rush back to the time of the early “New Teen Titans” series in the ’80s, masquerade as security guards at S.T.A.R. Labs, and save Cyborg from the Ravager, Deathstroke’s son. Ravager gets away, with the Black Beetle’s help, so Booster and Cyborg recruit the help of the rest of the Titans. But instead of the Titans plus Booster vs. a Ravager who’s about to be killed by his own powers, they have to fight Deathstroke, Black Beetle, and a vastly energized Ravager… and the good guys don’t stand a chance.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This title has been through several months of sub-par stories, but this one is quite good.

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Nothing Matters but the Blue Beetle

Booster Gold #21

Rip Hunter is acting mysterious, Booster meets Nightwing/Batman, and the Black Beetle makes an appearance.

Okay, that’s enough of that. It’s an alright story — and it’s a lot better than most recent “Booster Gold” stories — but no one cares about Booster. What’s important is the backup story.

The backup story stars Jaime Reyes, the Blue Beetle.

Good gravy, how much have I missed this guy?

We get Jaime, Paco, and Brenda hanging around a burger joint wondering why superheroes don’t get their own henchmen when the city is attacked by a giant yellow robot bellowing “THINKO! IS UNSTOPPABLE!” and “DESTROY ALL HUMANS!”After Jaime (eventually) destroys THINKO!, the gang learns that it originally attacked El Paso during World War II. They disguise themselves as reporters and head off to question the son of the robot’s creator, who is in jail for building his own evil robot called Unimate. He has no idea who’d rebuild his dad’s machine and crows fiendishly about the superiority of Unimate. Suspicious? Maybe a bit — especially when a horde of Unimate robots appear and try to destroy El Paso…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Again, the Booster Gold story was okay, but holy guacamole, did I ever enjoy the Blue Beetle story. I picked up this comic not expecting a whole lot from it, but the very first page of the backup was a colossal reminder of how awesome the “Blue Beetle” comic was, and of how much we’ve lost as comic readers now that it’s been cancelled. Everything from the great dialogue and chemistry between Jaime and his friends to the outstandingly mad THINKO! robot was just picture-perfect classic “Blue Beetle.” Not to wish anything bad on “Booster Gold,” ’cause I still get enjoyment out of the series, but really, “Blue Beetle” should be the lead feature. That’s all there is to it.

Astro City: The Dark Age, Book Three #2

Royal Williams is trying to lay low and avoid Pyramid Agents, the local criminal syndicates, and his brother Charles, who, as a member of E.A.G.L.E., is becoming more obsessed with the high-ranking Pyramid Agent who killed the brothers’ parents. And all around them, the world is becoming a bleaker, more brutal place, right down to the formerly noble and merciful superheroes. The Williams brothers are wedged in the middle of this powderkeg — will they be able to survive when the sparks start flying?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I love the way the tension here is slowly ratcheting upwards. Royal Williams really is a very interesting character — but the way things are going, who knows what the future holds for him or anyone else in this story?

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Tarnished Gold

Had an unusually rough night, what with a completely unexpected allergy attack and a bad dream about a bad, bad man with a chainsaw. So as long as I’m up early, I think I got time for one quick review, don’t I?


Booster Gold #20

Booster begs Rip Hunter to send him on a sightseeing tour of 1952, mainly because he’s a big fan of “Happy Days.” Unfortunately, he gets sent to Nevada, 1952, where there aren’t any sock hops, where’s there’s not even a real Las Vegas yet, where there’s not much but a secret rocket test site and a bunch of paranoid government agents who really, really don’t trust super-people. In fact, the federales include Jess Bright, Evan Hughs, and Karin Grace — Task Force X, better known as the original Suicide Squad. And their leader this time out is none other than Sgt. Frank Rock himself. And they want Booster to go undercover with them to infiltrate the rocket site to help them investigate a shady Russian scientist. The investigation soon turns out they intend to launch the rocket into space — and that makes it one of Booster’s prevent-someone-from-messing-with-history missions. In the end, Booster prevents the origin of, believe it or not, the Fantastic Four, and finally gets to go to a ’50s malt shop and make like the Fonz.

Verdict: I think I gotta give it the thumbs down. There are just too many weird errors for me to tolerate. Obviously, Sgt. Rock was never a member of the Suicide Squad, and I can’t think of any good reason to shoehorn him into the job instead of Rick Flagg, except that they just wanted to use Sgt. Rock. On top of that, one of the squad members was named Hugh Evans, not Evan Hughs. Yes, these are just silly continuity errors, but this entire series is about time-travel and comic-book continuity — in this kind of series, clumsy continuity errors matter. And finally — no, I just do not buy for one second that a guy born in the 25th century is going to be a fan of a ’70s nostalgia series about the 1950s. I mean, there’s silly, and then there’s much, much too silly to make proper sense…

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Time after Time

Let’s take us a look at some comics about time travel. By which I mean, I’m actually reviewing these comics in the year 3942 and have just sent these reviews back to you in the past. In the future, we have robot vacuum cleaners and the Internet! YAY FOR THE FUTURE!

Booster Gold #19

This is pretty much just an epilogue for the last storyarc. We’ve got two versions of Booster running around ancient Egypt, Booster’s sister Goldstar gets set up for a heel turn, and Rip Hunter goes on a mission in time that almost gets screwed up by Booster’s deep time meddling.

Verdict: Thumbs down. This is just incredibly boring.

And that cover. Oy, that cover. Can I just focus on that word balloon?

Oh, I’m sorry, but my wishes involved a comic book that wasn’t mind-numbingly boring. That’s why I’m glad I’ve got this next one to read.

The Umbrella Academy: Dallas #5

Everyone’s running around 1963 either getting ready to assassinate President Kennedy, or trying to prevent the assassination. The problem is that Spaceboy, Kraken, and Spaceboy messed up their trip to the past and have spent the last few years in Vietnam, which is a heck of a long way from Dallas. So we get a very nice sequence where a bunch of American soldiers, including a chimpanzee, drag a mystical mummy through the jungle in a quest to end the Vietnam War early, but they get attacked by Vietnamese soldiers, who are all hopping vampires. Number 5 and Rumor, along with a bunch of Time Commandos are in place and ready to stop Future Number 5 from saving the President, so can the rest of the Academy get there in time to stop them?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s confusing as heck, but it’s also grand fun to read. Lots of great personality bits, lots of great action, and the battlefield scene with the vampires (while not really culturally precise) (unless that’s just an indication of China sending their own soldiers to help the North Vietnamese) is just wonderful fun. While “Booster Gold” is becoming a case study in how to make time travel both confusing and boring, this one is showing how to make it all look cool.

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