Booster Gold #40 review

Courtesy of regular artists Chris Batista and Rich Perrotta, Booster and Skeets look utterly spiffy on their DC icons cover, and if they attract any new readers to the book, they may just stay. For this month offers a splendid jumping-on point as Booster's origins, adventures and nature are laid bare.

The excuse is a background check by time-displaced ratbag Dr Nishtikiet (which the internet tells me translates from Yiddish as 'a nothing'), who has turned his back on his old Nazi ways but wants revenge on Booster for wrecking his plans back in the Second World War. Lackey Agent 66 has raided Time Master Rip Hunter's computers, allowing his boss to hear how disgraced 25th-century American Football star Michael Jon Carter wound up a 21st-century super-hero.

It's no straight rundown though, as Nishtikiet's reactions to the story and interactions with 66 add spice. Nishtikiet simply cannot believe that a former janitor took him down, and orders 66 to lead a squad to murderise da bum.

Mind, he's not heard the whole story, as Hunter's security ended the cyber-raid before 66 gained knowledge of Booster's time with the Justice League and involvement with the rebirth of the Multiverse. In short, he doesn't know that the self-serving, fame-seeking Booster evolved into the hero of today, a time adventurer who allows his greatest feats to go unheralded for the greater good. 

Readers are reminded of this via Hunter's conversation with Booster as he tells him of the incursion, while a fight with a new villain out to make a name for himself is a chance for Booster to remember that at one time he wasn't so different from the newcomer.

Booster's deeds have long since redeemed his early acts of theft, stealing items from the Space Museum in order to begin his life again. A shame, then, that this issue ends with Hunter arresting him so he can be tried in the 25th century for those misdeeds ...

Writers Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis provide such a fine Booster primer that it's a shame the DC Icons promotion doesn't allow for cover copy inviting folk in. Hopefully, the word will spread that this is a good time to jump on the Booster bandwagon.

Mind, at least the lack of a logo this month spares us that cringemaking catchline, 'the greatest hero you never heard of''. How about 'A hero for all time'? Booster's that good.

Batista doesn't draw this issue, meaning Perrotta is inking occasional pinch-hitter Pat Olliffe, whose characterful work always makes me smile. Booster's streetfight with the stupidly named, utterly generic Hit Point, all blasters and rockets in a bulky metal suit, is a riot of action and colour. And they sell us on Nishtikiet as a credible threat via his intense expressions and angry body language - it'd be good, though, were colourist Hi-Fi to 'forget' to paint the guy's bald head green, thereby lessoning his likeness to Brainiac. I think he'd suit fuchsia.

Sal Cipriano letters as ever, and takes centre-stage in a bit of splash page fun, while editors Mike Carlin and Rachel Gluckstern deserve credit for running the show and making it as accessible as it is entertaining. Booster's comic isn't doing the numbers is once did. It deserves to.