Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Booster Gold #44 review


Booster Gold and robotic sidekick Skeets are in Coast City, investigating the enigma-ridden blackboard that appeared in time master Rip Hunter's secret lab a few issues back. They're looking for Green Lantern but find themselves attacked by a military machine which mistakes Booster for the enemy - an Atlantean attacker.

Atlantis at war with the surface world? In the world of Flashpoint, yes, and that's where Booster finds himself. Not having read Flashpoint #1, Booster doesn't know anything about this new reality, so he retreats from the next attack in a bid to catch his breath. But he's assaulted again, this time by a beam from a satellite. Realising they've been unknowingly transported from Rip's lab, Booster and Skeets try to return home and that's when the gravity of the situation really becomes apparent ...

Writer/artist Dan Jurgens builds the sense of threat page by page, showing  us the escalating attacks by the military men, so fearful of Booster that they're willing to sacrifice a city block to take him down. We see Booster and Skeets deal with assault after assault, never panicking but gradually realising that freaking out would be a reasonable response. There's a cameo by the Flashpoint version of Silver Age stars the Sea Devils, apparently targeted more towards taking down devils from the sea than swimming in it. And there's a surprise villain on the final page who I'm even less happy to see than Booster, though my reasons are different - fear in Booster's case, boredom in mine.

The nearest thing to a misstep in this script is the recap of Booster's history, something this book seems to throw up far too often. I suppose Jurgens wants to serve new readers arriving for the Flashpoint tie-in, but surely most DC Universe fans know who Booster is - he's been around for over 30 years. Plus, there's a handy legend on the splash spread.

We don't learn much more about the Flashpoint world here than we already know - Cyborg appears on TV screens as the big hero and it's apparent that having conquered Europe, Aquaman wants the US too - but I don't mind that. This is Booster's book, and so the story should focus on him; I'm sure more juicy details will be added as we go along.

I doubt Jurgens' layouts could be bettered so far as storytelling is concerned - we zoom through the issue without ambiguity, while being given plenty of interesting perspectives and action shots. Finisher Norm Rapmund adds texture and weight to proceedings, making for some fine-looking artwork. And it's all splendidly coloured by Hi-Fi Designs, while Carlos M Mangual handles the lettering nicely.

Wrapping up the book is a powerful cover by Jurgens and Rapmund that will sit perfectly on the eventual collection.

This issue should give Booster his best sales figures since the early issues. I hope plenty of the first-timers stick around. If quality counts, they will.




5 comments:

  1. I've been wondering from the solicits... so whatever Zoom did to the world to make it "Flashpoint", Barry knows that the world is different, and so does Booster Gold?

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  2. They do - just those two, for now.

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  3. Booster's suit is cross-circuited with timey-wimey stuff, so he'd notice if the timeline were to change. I assume Barry's awareness is competely different.

    I'm glad to see Jurgens back on the book though. Giffen had turned it into a bit of a motormouth title.

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  4. A fun issue -- I'm very likely in for the duration of Flashpoint... even with the revelation of the next issue's villain. Though it'll be interesting to see how the new timeline has changed him, as well.

    I can't fault Jurgens *too* much for devoting a couple pages to recapping Booster's origins for what will likely be the best-selling issue of Booster Gold since the original series (when everything likely sold in greater numbers than Flashpoint will today). But yeah, a moratorium on it for a few years would be great.

    Also (and unrelated) -- you might want to consider changing the link colors on your blog, Mart -- on my computer, at least, it just blends into the background, rendering the link text unreadable. Always worth following regardless, though!

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  5. Siskoid, I was a tad surprised that Booster didn't twig earlier that something was off with the world. Not enough timey-wimey stuff, apparently!

    Rob, you're very fair-minded!

    As regards that green link colour, you're right. I've just spent a good few minutes trying to change the colour on the template. No luck so far ... I'll persevere! (Where's my tech support? Oi, cat!)

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