Saturday, January 22, 2011

Getting a Boost in Catching Up

I'm now caught up with Booster Gold. I loved how Jurgens ended his run and the whole tone of this book, until issue 32 when Giffen and DeMatteis took over. Before anyone jumps on me for not liking what they've been doing with the book, keep in mind that I hadn't been reading comics except Titans from 1985 (when Supergirl was killed) until 1991, when I finally dropped Titans, and then read no comics until 1995, when I slowly started again, first with non-DC titles, plus Nightwing, the Arsenal one-shots and mini. So, I never read Justice League International and Booster was a new character to me when I read the story with Max Lord killing Ted Kord. I had to rely on what was in that story and the following ones as to who/what Booster is and I came to really love him as a character, but for me, he was never the buffoon he was in JLI, because Ted's death had a profound effect on him, clearly, and that was the character I fell in love with. And while I don't mind the occasional flashback story -- and really, in a time-traveling book like this, of course, there will be flashbacks to the more carefree JLI days -- I don't like the whole tone that Giffen and DeMatteis have brought to the book.

It was funny at first, but after a page or two, the jokes got old and tedious. I got tired of the bickering between Michael and Michelle. Sure, siblings bicker, but really, do we need panel after panel after panel of it? Territory covered by Jurgens in their relationships and in Michael's relationship with Rip and with what he had to do to protect the timestream were rehashed albeit in new context. Annoying context. Then there was the kid. A cute kid, but is she really needed in this book? She's an anomaly and doesn't really add anything. (Except remind me how much I miss Lian, but I digress....)

And since this also tying in with the JLI/Max Lord returns story going on elsewhere in the DCU, a storyline I don't care about and one reason I got annoyed with the Power Girl book and dropped it (along with being annoyed with how she was being written), I have no interest in it taking over Booster's book. Sure, I get why he'd want to prove Max Lord is evil and to get people to remember what happened, but it seems to be an excuse for Giffen and DeMatteis to write more adventures for Booster and Ted.

But all was not lost. I still had Time Masters Vanishing Point to read! By Jurgens! Here is the Booster I've come to love, one Green Lantern holds in contempt and Superman has his doubts about, yet Booster is there, doing his part. And there are the wonderful introductions, narrated by Rip, showing Rip's youth and how his father trained him about time, which reveals how the father he trained re: preserving the integrity of the timestream is now training Rip to be the man who will train him... If I try to think about all this too much, I give myself a headache.

I spent the fall watching Doctor Who from the 9th Doctor on and Torchwood, so time is something I've been thinking about a lot, especially when it comes to Captain Jack Harkness, a man from the far future who traveled throughout time until getting stuck in the late-1800s (I think it was) and having to live forward through the 1900s to the present. Which is something like what Rip and Booster are doing. Booster came from the future, the 25th C, and is now living forward from when he appeared in our time. At some point, he'll marry Rip's mother and Rip will be born. Will the current Rip vanish? Will he end up facing himself? Will he prudently leave and move to a later time? How long before Michael realizes his son looks like Rip? How long before he realizes he is Rip, because I'm sure the adult Rip won't tell him (unless something happens that forces Rip to reveal this to Booster prematurely)?

If Rip hadn't come from the future and taken Michael in to teach him about the timestream, then Rip wouldn't become the man he now is. I love stuff like this! This relationship is the core of the Booster Gold book for me and it's gotten lost in the current stories. But here, it's part of Time Masters Vanishing Point, even with the focus on finding Bruce Wayne, because really, this isn't about Bruce at its core. We had the Return of Bruce Wayne for that. This just dovetails splendidly with that, an instance of DC getting a complex cross-book storyline right. And for them to bring in Claw and Starfire, two little known characters I'd read with much devotion is the coolest part of this series. I always liked that costume of Starfire's. Seeing her and Claw together, the opposites of science and magic/barbarism meeting, was fun.

I've been a fan of Rip Hunter for decades, back to the early-'60s. Time travel is too cool not to love, but character development wasn't all that big back then. Of course, he isn't the same character he was back then. Most of the characters I grew up with changed dramatically over the years, and Crisis and its aftermath, altered many timelines, deleted characters, and so on. Even so, Rip is still a favorite of mine. To have him now revealed to be the son of Michael Carter is one of the coolest retcons or developments to come out of DC. When retconning or character history enhancement is done right, it not only works, but it adds to the context in stories and spills over to enhance other characters, too, in this case, Booster.

To write this, I decided to read up on Rip's history, to discover the stuff I'd missed in the years I wasn't reading (and in books I didn't read when I started reading comics again), and it's even more complicated than I'd realized, including a second version of Rip after Crisis while the first still existed, for a while. All of which makes what Jurgens has done with him in Booster Gold and Time Masters Vanishing Point more remarkable, because it gives a clear sense of who Rip is, what his goals are, and why he does what he does. I can't wait to read the final chapter of Vanishing Point.

I'll keep reading (skimming, mostly) Booster Gold for now, but I really hope Booster's book gets more serious. If only Giffen and DeMatteis could tone down the funny and the bickering and do some stories with depth and importance. And I'd like some more realistic art. It's been a bit uneven, and rather cluttered.


I finally got around to reading the Supergirl Annual 2, featuring the Legion of Super-Heroes, in their iconic costumes! It was a sweet story, and Kara and Brainiac 5 were fun. So were the Jimmy Olsen 'bots.


  1. I am very very fond of Booster, and I've been loving what Dan Jurgens has been doing with him. Time Masters was supposed to come out this past Wednesday, but somehow my store got shorted, so I'll just have to wait until next week.


    But yes. I was thrilled originally, when Giffen and DeMatteis were going to be taking over, because I DID read the old JLI and loved it. But...something has just been a wee Booster just doesn't sound quite like Booster, and like you, I'm not particularly thrilled that Michelle has turned into such a shrew. I like Rip though.

    I rather wish that the boys would can it with the cheesy jokes, and just go back to telling good stories with good characterization...which they CAN do, when they feel like it.

  2. I didn't get out to get my comics, due to my shoulder problem. I hope to pick them up sometime this coming week.

    I'm glad you agree with me that the book isn't quite as good anymore. I know you're a big fan of the JLI days and Michael and Ted's friendship. I mostly knew Ted from his guest appearances in BoP and then, the story that got him killed.

    I can't help wishing Jurgens takes the book back.

  3. You are not alone in that wish!