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Futures End: Booster Gold #1 [Review]

Futures End Booster Gold #1Pressure Point

Written by: Dan Jurgens
Art by: Moritat, Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund, Will Conrad, Steve Lightle, Stephen Thopson, Mark Irwin, Ron Frenz, Scott Hanna, Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund
Colors by: John Kalisz
Letters by: Taylor Esposito
Cover by: Jurgens, Rapmund & Hi-FI
Editor: Joe Cavalieri
Asst. Editor: David Pina
Group Editor: Matt Idelson
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

[———- Please note: I will spoil this issue’s ending below, denoted by a further note. ———-]

I wasn’t going to cover any of these Futures End one-shots as a singular/full review, but then, that was partially due to the fact that all these others have just been the month’s iteration of an ongoing monthly book. But to the best of my knowledge, Booster Gold has not had an ongoing series since that final issue that tied into Flashpoint pre-New 52; and I haven’t a clue where he wound up via Justice League International and whatnot.

But knowing his creator–Dan Jurgens–was the writer on this issue in that way alone made it a no-brainer for me to pick this up, once I’d given in on getting ANY of these one-shots. I wasn’t sure what to expect of the issue and hadn’t seen anything for it in promotional stuff outside of the title itself. So seeing the cover was a thrill–this is definitely one of my favorite covers of the month. I’ve always loved the blue-and-gold contrast…the pairing of Booster and the Ted Kord Blue Beetle as well as simply the contrast of the two colors against each other. That makes for a striking cover. It’s also great to see the same title logo used as the last ongoing series…it lends an extra bit of recent-nostalgic familiarity to this.

As this isn’t just the month’s “five years later” glimpse of an ongoing character/series, we actually get a look at a Booster bouncing through time/dimensions trying to remember a mission, as we see Booster imprisoned, being interrogated for something…and eventually see that rather than some disjointed story there’s more going on than it seemed initially…and certainly gives me a “selling point” to catch up on and keep up with Futures End.

I was initially put off looking at the issue’s credits seeing a number of artists credited with ranges of pages…couldn’t one person (say, Dan Jurgens himself) do the entire issue? But I almost immediately realized then that hey…multiple worlds/dimensions…different artists lend some variance to the worlds, and contrary to my initial snap-judgment, I quite enjoyed that element here.
Booster himself looked familiar, yet there was something a bit different to the character that I couldn’t place…I vaguely recalled that he’d had a “new” costume in the New 52, so I wasn’t sure where this fit. Thankfully, that actually worked with the story.

After all these years, I really enjoy seeing Jurgens work on the character–particularly the story, but the art as well. There’s also that Booster Gold is one where time-travel is an intrinsic part of the character himself…which adds to the logic of this issue’s existence. Even if the character does not have an ongoing and may or may not (for my ignorance) be a regular part of any ensemble cast of an ongoing book–for anything involving time travel, I’d expect him to be a part of it in some form.

[——————————— Spoilers below ———————————]

By the end of this issue it became apparent that this was not a matter of Booster being imprisoned and the bouncing-through-time-and-worlds-and-dimensions being merely a mind-thing with someone screwing with him to convince him to give up a secret. We’re actually dealing with the New 52 Booster Gold as well as another version…and it seems to me that this other version is either THE pre-52 version or darned close to it. I don’t know where DC officially stands anymore on stuff, but this “hint” that the DC Universe *I* grew up on is still out there is a welcome treat, whether isolated to this title, this issue alone, or something bigger.

[——————————— Spoilers above ———————————]

All in all, like the Swamp Thing issue and the Supergirl issue, I ultimately found this to be an issue independently interesting and engaging (particularly by the ending and the “new view” of the earlier pages it generated for me), and very well worthwhile to have bought and read.

The “hope,” the potential weightiness of this single, short issue’s story…the possibility that I’ve just read a new Dan Jurgens story involving “my” Booster Gold…the attractive cover, the sturdiness of the physical cover…this all lends to the issue justifying itself and the $3.99 cover price (at least in this modern age of lesser-quality physical products for the price). Very definitely one of THE best issues of the month, and one I’d certainly recommend–whether the 3D edition or the standard cover edition.

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Booster Gold #14 [Review]

Quick Rating: Good
Story Title: Stars in Your Eyes, Part 2

Booster and a questionable ally seek the point in time at which to stop the Starro infestation before the whole of Time can be infected…a feat that may have a large cost to accomplish.

boostergold014Writer: Rick Remender
Penciller: Pat Olliffe
Inker: Jerry Ordway
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Asst. Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover: Chris Batista and Mick Gray
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue begins with a Booster Gold trapped in a sea of malevolent starfish intent upon taking control of the hero. Showing some smarts some don’t credit him with, Booster quickly escapes, but finds that his challenge might just be insurmountable–Starro has (through Rip Hunter) gained access to the Timestream itself and is taking over, eradicating from existence anything and anyone who might be able to stop him. Finding an unexpected ally, striking a (figurative) deal with a lesser of the two evils, and utilizing access to the Timestream, Booster fights back, risking not only his life but the whole of free-thinking reality to try to save Rip Hunter and set time right.

While certainly not my favorite Booster story, this issue certainly wades in deep with the sort of adventure the "All-New" (as opposed to "Pre-Infinite Crisis") Booster Gold is meant for. The story has some decent moments, characters are believable (even if I didn’t know before who a certain villain was prior), and shows that while maintaining an ongoing story it is very possible to have stories done in less than six chapters. This is a solid story, and well worthwhile for Booster Gold fans (or fans of Starro).

The art is of strong quality. I have no real complaint with it, as characters are all unrecognizable and distinct, there’s a good amount of detail (especially if you look closely at points), and the story comes across nothing but enhanced by the visuals. A panel on the last page in particular–while perhaps not entirely true to that character–almost made me laugh as my mind fills in the blanks from what we’re shown.

I’m sure you could find issues better than this within this series and others. But honestly? You could do so much worse than this issue. If you can find the previous issue to go with this, I recommend snaggin’ both for a good, simple two-issue read.

Ratings:

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Booster Gold #13 [Review]

Quick Rating: Not Bad
Story Title: Stars in Your Eyes, Part I

Booster & Michelle vs. Starro-Rip in a battle with huge consequences.

boostergold013Written by: Rick Remender
Pencils: Pat Olliffe
Inks: Jerry Ordway
Colors by: Hi-Fi
Letters by: Sal Cipriano
Asst. Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover by: Chris Batista & Mick Gray
Publisher: DC Comics

We open this issue with an image of Superman being punched to the ground, as Booster and his sister move in to save a life Superman (would have been) unable to save. Booster explains why they can’t just save everybody, and the two return to Rip’s lab, only to find Hunter with a starfish…er…Starro Spore hugging his face. The possessed Rip heads into the timestream, and it quickly becomes apparent that Starro has taken over Everything. Booster and Michelle head into the timestream themselves, set on preventing Starro’s takeover. The two find out how the Starro Spore came into contact with Rip, as well as just what it means to face a world that Starro has conquered…and Starro reveals something rather personal to Booster.

This feels like a pretty "standard" sort of issue for this title. The story fits the characters: we have an opening that showcases Booster & Michelle in action doing their time-travel set-things-right-one-life-at-a-time thing. We’re then introduced to the beginning of the primary story, and thrown into the action. This is what Booster’s supposed to be doing, at least as the premise of this title as set up over a year ago, so no problems there. On the whole, this feels like an issue of Booster Gold, the Greatest Hero You’ve Never Heard Of.

The art’s good, as well–no real complaint there. It’s not quite a match for Jurgens‘ art…but it’s darned close, and having had a few weeks since reading my last issue and not thinking about it going in, the difference was not particularly noticeable–which I feel is a good thing. Visually, this book certainly holds its own in terms of definite quality. I also have to give it credit for consistency, as I did not once think to myself anything or anyone looked funny or out of the ordinary.

On the whole, though, this feels like a so-so issue. It’s good, don’t get me wrong–but it’s not quite up to what I’ve come to expect of this title. There weren’t any scenes that made me smile, or wax nostalgic, or any of those things that have made so many of the other issues such great reads. Though I’m familiar with the existence of Starro, the character is not a character I’m all that familiar with in particular. Nor am I at all interested in the character. Having such a character as the villain of the piece lessens my emotional investment in the story–as does knowing that this is only a two or three part story, and then I believe Jurgens returns to do both story and art…which leaves me very confident not much of consequence will happen in this story (except perhaps Booster figuring out what was revealed to the readers at the close of Johns‘ tenure on the book).

I certainly will not recommend against this issue…but it’s not an example of what’s made me so enjoy the previous issues thus far.

Ratings:

Story: 2.5/5
Art: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5

Booster Gold #12 [Review]

Quick Rating: Very Good
Story Title: Vicious Cycle

Booster & Michelle continue to “fix” time…

boostergold012Written by: Chuck Dixon
Pencil Art by: Dan Jurgens
Finished Art by: Norm Rapmund
Colors by: Hi-Fi
Letters by: Sal Cipriano
Asst. Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover by: Jurgens & Rapmund
Publisher: DC Comics

This second chapter picks up with Booster and his sister in the Batcave, at the mercy of Alfred–Batman’s butler…who intends the heroes stay put until his master returns, and holds a shotgun to back up his words. With a little help from Skeets, the two manage to abscond with some necessary (and perhaps not-so-necessary) resources, and continue their mission. Of course, though simple enough conceptually, their plan’s execution is a bit wanting, resulting in some further complications.

Dixon‘s writing portrays the characters quite well, and seems a perfect fit for a brief excursion into the Bat-corner of the DCU for this tale. Everyone seems to be in-character, and we’re provided with a number of cool “moments” and some fun nods to longtime fans (I assume plenty of people can identify with Booster in some of his comments about The Car, for one).

Jurgens & Rapmund continue to keep me impressed on the visuals. I really can’t find anything about the art that doesn’t work for me. From the opening page to the closing cameo panels…everyone looks spot-on, and that leaves me to simply enjoy the pretty art with a fun story.

All in all, another good issue of this series. While perhaps “just” a fill-in story between major creative lineups, the issue doesn’t feel like filler–it continues the basic premise of the series, and even sets things up for potential stories down the road a bit should anyone choose to follow up on certain points.

As the 2nd chapter of a 2-part story, this isn’t the best single issue to jump in on…but if you can find #11, the story makes a nice, fun point to jump on-board, and get a done-in-two story without needing to jump in for 6-some issues.

Recommended.

Ratings:

Story: 4/5
Art: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Booster Gold #9 [Review]

Quick Rating: Great!
Story Title: Blue & Gold chapter 4: Putting the Band Back Together

Booster Gold recruits his old buds so the Justice League International can help him fix Time…

boostergold009Written by: Geoff Johns & Jeff Katz
Pencil Art by: Dan Jurgens
Finished Art by: Norm Rapmund
Colors by: Hi-Fi
Letters by: Nick J. Napolitano
Asst. Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover by: Jurgens & Rapmund
Publisher: DC Comics

Have I mentioned that I’m lovin’ this series? There’s something about it that just really works, and I’ve enjoyed each and every issue so far.
This issue sees Booster and Beetle recruit their former teammates from the Justice League International days, as they take their fight into the midst of an Infinite Crisis unfolding differently from the one we know…since Booster has messed with the timeline by saving his best friend’s life.

While the JLI is being re-formed, Maxwell Lord and those in his power continue to see to Lord’s plans for the world working out as they might have, had events from Countdown to Infinite Crisis occurred differently. The issue moves along nicely, providing some cool reunions and believable, in-character reactions to other characters’ presence. There’s also a sense of something big on the horizon, and though one can guess at the permanency of the status quo, there’s still excitement and hope as to what the outcome will be after another couple issues.

The art–as usual and as now expected–is also very good, and seems perfectly suited to these characters.

This issue is as much a treat to look at as it is to read…and getting to do both makes it one of the finest comic series I’m currently reading.
Very much recommended!

Ratings:

Story: 4/5
Art: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

Booster Gold #7 [Review]

Quick Rating: Very Good!
Story Title: Blue & Gold Chapter 2: O.M.A.C.’D

Booster and Beetle face a horde of OMACs as they begin to discover what changes have occurred in the timestream…

boostergold007Written by: Geoff Johns & Jeff Katz
Pencil Art: Dan Jurgens
Finished Art: Norm Rapmund
Colors: Hi-Fi
Letters: Randy Gentile
Asst. Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover: Jurgens & Rapmund
Publisher: DC Comics

It’s hard not to sound like a broken record…but I find myself enjoying this title more than just about any other monthly out there. It’s been a consistent high-hitter…great story, great art, and character dynamics that remind me why I enjoy super-heroes in the first place.

This issue we begin to see some major fallout in the timestream due to Booster’s rescue of Blue Beetle, and see the two interact with characters in a present that’s been altered by Beetle not having been killed by Lord when he was supposed to have been. Additionally, further light is shed on the mystery Beetle, as well as the Supernova subplot.

Though it seems like Infinite Crisis just finished, it’s great to see its earliest events being revisited in this context, as we see how things could have played out. That our characters are playing in the time-stream adds to the enormity of events that unfold, while also keeping them contained to this book without having to run around buying a bunch of tie-ins to "get" the story.

The writing is spot-on as usual, capturing the attitudes of the characters seen, and continue to remind me what a great matchup Booster and Beetle are–maintaining a sense of humour as the two deal with each other and outside events, while not feeling forced (nor like some vain attempt to recapture a bygone tone from two decades ago).

The art is also very strong, keeping everything clear, consistent, and in some ways fairly iconic. I not only have no complaint with the art, but feel that it’s set a visual standard for these characters against which I’ll find myself measuring any other appearances they make elsewhere in the DCU.

This is the second issue of the Blue & Gold arc (the first was #0, a play on the Zero Hour "Zero Month" the arc tied into)…and as such this may not be the best point to jump on-board. However, if you track down that #0 issue…I highly recommend jumping in with this title (and consider the upcoming collection of the first six issues). As far as DC super-hero titles go…this is one of the best-written, most dynamic and interesting books I can see, and is my favorite DC is currently publishing.

Very much recommended.

Ratings:

Story: 4/5
Art: 4.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Booster Gold #0 [Review]

Quick Rating: Great!
Story Title: Blue & Gold chapter 1: The Secret Origin of Booster Gold

Booster and the Beetles encounter Parallax mid-Zero Hour in the timestream, and Booster confronts his past as the heroes are stranded in the future…

boostergold000Written by: Geoff Johns & Jeff Katz
Pencil Art: Dan Jurgens
Finished Art: Norm Rapmund
Colors: Hi-Fi
Letters: Randy Gentile
Asst. Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover: Jurgens & Rapmund
Publisher: DC Comics

You know a book’s good when your primary complaint is a total fan-boy nit-pick with the issue’s cover. As a Zero Hour tie-in (complete with replacing "#7" with "#0"), I had honestly hoped to see the Zero Hour logo on the cover, making the cover fit in with the old 1994 zero issues. We do get the sharp silver coloring in the logo, which keeps it from being a complete bust.

As Booster and the Beetles discuss where to go from here, they encounter fellow time-travellers Parallax and Extant, circa DC‘s Zero Hour: Crisis in Time story from 1994. After a battle with the villains, the heroes find themselves stranded in the future–specifically at a day Booster remembers all too well. They scramble to salvage their mission, while Booster contemplates his role in affecting Time, and an even larger threat quickly becomes apparent.

The story itself here is very good–it keeps things moving forward in a believable way, also allowing the characters to interact with events in a nearly-fourteen-years-old story without seeming implausible (and if you’re not familiar with that story, you’re still in great hands as all you NEED to know is given to you in-context, without coming across as totally cheesey recap-conversation/thoughts!)

Visually, the artistic team–Jurgens, Rapmund, and Hi-Fi on the colors–deliver an excellent product. The Blue Beetles, Booster, even the Zero Hour villains all look spot-on, and really look just about the best I’ve ever seen ’em.

Right now, I’d have to say that Booster Gold is by far my favorite super-hero book out there. It’s smart, it’s funny, it’s serious…it builds off established continuity without being slave to it, and still has plenty of room to keep pushing the characters’ stories forward and open up new territory.

This issue kicks off the 2nd arc of the title, and makes a good jump-on point if you’ve been considering whether or not to pick up the book. Both as something "new" to check out or as a continuing purchase, I highly recommend this issue, and the title in general.

Ratings:

Story: 4.5/5
Art: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

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