Oct 30, 2012

Irrational Love Week: Booster Gold, on Matt's Mentionables

It's Irrational Love Week at the Comics Cube, where we each pick a character that we love but think is overlooked or doesn't get enough love, and explain why they're some of our favorite characters. Click here for the archive!

Today is Matt's turn, and he picks...

The Greatest Hero You've Never Heard Of!
by Matt

He may have perfected the disco collar, he may have been in it for the money and endorsements (at first), he may have stolen pretty much all the gear he uses to fight crime, he may have come from the future with less than honorable intentions, but Booster Gold is the greatest hero you've probably never heard of.


History of the Man from the Future


Booster Gold actually has a surprisingly important part in DC history. His was the first character of any significance introduced after Crisis on Infinite Earths. Born Michael Jon Carter (which is pretty great if you're an Edgar Rice Burroughs fan) and from 25th century Gotham, Booster was a troubled future soul. His sidekick Skeets is actually a security robot that caught Booster stealing, among many other things, a Legion of Super-Heroes flight ring ,and a Time Sphere from the Metropolis Space Museum. Booster went back in time seeking fame and fortune and succeeded in achieving neither of these goals.

When he was first introduced, Booster basically concocted a scheme to make himself a superhero, including hiring the "villain" he was defeating. From there, came the lucrative endorsements and eventually a place in the 80's Justice League International. It was during this time that Booster met two people who would greatly influence his past-future (time travel is involved a lot here, so I suggest you create diagrams to follow along): Ted Kord and Maxwell Lord.

Throughout most of the 80s and 90s, Booster and Ted served as comic relief. Anyone who has wondered what people are talking about when they wax nostalgic about "Blue and Gold," it's for what I consider the ultimate buddy superhero team. The 90s saw Booster lose his powers (his future-suit got broken), lose an arm (Ted hooked him up with a new suit and arm), get to name Doomsday, and basically become the shameless self-promoter everyone knows and loves. Booster sort of faded into very minor character status for a while after that.

Back to the Future and Back to the Present

Ted Kord's death basically puts an end to Booster's fun times in the past. He hangs up his goggles, puts away the disco collar and returns to his present. Booster returns for Infinite Crisis with a new determination and knowledge about the present. This was my first introduction to the DC comics version of Booster (I had watched him only on Justice League Unlimited shows). He comes from the future with a warning and acts. The decisive Booster, learning to master time, is the Booster I love.

So, now Booster is back and with a new attitude. The same reputation surrounds him, but in the 52 series, you get to see Booster really shine. He is a man with a plan and pretty much the main character of the year long series (in my mind, if not in fact). I would say Spoiler Alert!, but the series is 6 years old at this point. Anyway, Booster uses his terrible reputation (see 1980s) and time travel (complicated!) to defeat Mr. Mind (who is hiding out in his robot sidekick's body). The best part of the 52 series? Booster Gold comes back for his second solo series!



Time Traveling Hero

Booster's second series only last 47 issues, but man, were they great. Right off the bat, he tries to save his best buddy, Ted Kord, and learns a hard lesson about time travel. He can't change the past, he can't save Ted and he can't stop the Joker from paralyzing Barbara Gordon. It also teaches you that Rip Hunter (SPOILER ALERT!!! Booster's son) is kind of a dick.


Booster then goes on an adventure with the non-Ted Beetles. Basically, Booster destroys the universe trying to save Ted. This close friendship is a constant part of Booster's life and defines his new career. He is haunted by the fact that no matter how hard he tries, he cannot save his best friend.




Booster failed when he was a joke superhero, constantly seeking fame, glory and money. And the man who betrayed him pops up regularly in the new series, despite initially being dead: Maxwell Lord

Max indeed.


Booster's next big Max-related challenge comes about during the Brightest Day and Justice League: Generation Lost stories. Max has been resurrected and also kind of brain-wipes the world. Now, no one knows who he was, what he did and (to really piss off Booster) thinks Ted Kord killed himself.



Basically, Booster and the old JLI team spend a year tracking down Max Lord and convincing the world he exists and is a problem. They succeed and then Flashpoint happens. Booster has become a strong, thoughtful leader, one even Batman trusts. This sense of trust and leadership potential extended into the new DC continuity (Booster being one of the few people who affected the new continuity, even if he doesn't realize it). It's also the one thing they kept from the old continuity about Booster and I thoroughly enjoyed it.



My Irrational Love

Booster Gold is a huckster, a thief, a cheater, and man with terrible fashion sense. Why would anyone not currently crazy be a huge fan of his? Well, my love for Booster is rooted in the fact that he is basically a complete screw-up and he's trying to make it right. He utterly failed his best friend and he's defined by that failure. More than most characters in the DC universe, his failure still seems fresh and new. Batman is defined by what happened to him in childhood, the same with Superman. Booster is the most human of the DC characters I've followed. He could be you or me, trying to be taken seriously and with great potential.

Plus, and this is key, he gets to travel through time and has a robot sidekick.

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