This issue's had a bit of extra publicity due to it featuring a photo cover of one Blair Butler, apparently a big fan of Booster's and subject of some DC staffer's crush. Oh well, if it gets more people to try this book, fine. The alternative would likely have been one of those 'villain poses on pile of heroes' deals and I've had enough of those to last me an alternate lifetime. Plus, we get that happy visual inside.
Sitting on the bodies is old New Teen Titans baddie Trigon the Terrible. He's ruling an alternate future because Booster failed to save Dick Grayson's life last issue, mainly due to pesky time tinkerer Black Beetle. This issue sees Booster and Time Master boss Rip Hunter travel to said future to put a stop to Black Beetle's plans . . . or should that be, results?
There's one scene in this issue which seems to have been inserted to justify the cover. You can tell because it makes little sense. It has Booster tell surviving Titan Raven he's the number one hero of the future, with such media spin-offs as tee shirts. He tells her this twaddle because of this book's baffling rule that Booster's mission to protect the timestream must be known to as few people as possible. I see the reasoning in terms of Booster's home timeline, but can't see any problem with telling people in those he's trying to change. And if you're bidding to get empath Raven onside it makes no sense to look her in the eye and lie. Especially if you've just pointed out to the readership that you can't actually lie to Raven.
Turns out you can. Raven has taken her stupid pill.
That apart, writer/penciller Dan Jurgens and inker Norm Rapmund craft a satisfying penultimate instalment of the four-part Day of Death (yup, we have a cover that might bring in new readers this late in a multi-parter). The mystery of Black Beetle's identity and what he wants gets more intriguing by the month, alongside the question of who his partner in time crime is. Booster displays the usual courage in the face of overwhelming odds, a couple of JLA guest stars show up and there's a grabber of a cliffhanger. I'll be back next month for more Booster.
And more Blue Beetle, who here winds up his first co-feature story by battling Maria the Robot and her metal minions. In a fun twist of the usual Pinocchio guff (see Vision, Red Tornado, Data etc) Maria wants rid of the capacity for emotion her 'father' instilled in her, the better to conquer mankind. Happily, Beetle reins in his ever more alien battlesuit - it's recently been advising him that human fatalities are acceptable - long enough to save the day. He's helped here by pals Brenda and Paco, who know just how to distract a refugee from a Fritz Lang film. The strip ends by tying into Booster's story, making Beetle a little more attractive for Booster-only fans.
I'm not one of those, finding Jaime's doing's at least as engaging as Booster's. Writer Matt Sturges knows how to write a meaty short, and artists Mike Norton and Sandra Hope provide good, clear art. In all, a very solid comic. Now, if only someone at DC would get rid of that terribly flaccid logo . . .