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Zero Hour Revisited – Booster Gold #0

90srevisited_zerohour

booster_gold_0000Blue & Gold Chapter 1: The Secret Origin of Booster Gold

Written by: Geoff Johns & Jeff Katz
Pencil Art by: Dan Jurgens
Finished Art by: Norm Rapmund
Colors by: Hi-Fi
Letters by: Randy Gentile
Asst. Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover by: Jurgens & Rapmund
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Date: September 1994
Cover Price: $1.50

I probably should have actually tucked this in with the "week 3" issues, as this 1. does not end on white pages and 2. takes place prior to events seen in "week 4." C’est la vie…I put this issue almost at the end of stuff because of it being a "retroactive tie-in" published a decade and a half AFTER the actual series.

This issue sees Booster Gold and the Blue Beetles travel through time, and cross paths in the timestream with Parallax (Hal Jordan) and Extant (Hank Hall) circa Zero Hour, 1994. Parallax damages their time-bubble and they’re forced into the 25th Century (with no need to chase down the time-trouble-makers, as they’ve already been dealt with IN Zero Hour–oops, we’ll see that shortly). Turns out the exact day the group emerges in is the day that Booster "threw" a football game and was caught doing so. While striving to ensure that this timestream is not disrupted, they use resources available to continue their own mission and we learn a bit more about Booster’s background as well as the Blue Beetle (several of ’em!) before things have to be dealt with–like putting Dan and Jaime back in their own times without any memory of this issue or the previous having happened…and Ted’s poised to be another "Hero You’ve Never Heard Of" alongside Booster… it’s Blue & Gold, reunited! Though the two quickly realize there’s a bit of a Brother Eye problem that may end things before they’ve truly begun.

This issue was actually published in 2008, some 13 1/2 years after Zero Hour. We were post-Infinite Crisis, post-52, mostly through Countdown, heading toward Final Crisis. And in the early issues of the Geoff Johns run on Booster Gold, with art by Dan Jurgens–the character’s creator and Norm Rapmund‘s excellent inks. And I recall this being one of the more fun series at the time, certainly one of my favorites.

In fact, I had covered the issue at the time, for comiXtreme (and republished in this blog years later), and rated it quite highly. That particular review was based on the issue in that context rather than as a random issue added to this mix, hence any discrepancies between then and now.

Ultimately (given the 14-year-gap in publication) this issue does nothing for the understanding of Zero Hour itself, moving the 1994 series along, etc. But this makes a fun tie-in and providing a more grounded "time" to touch base with–a nod to older/longer-time readers–while serving its own story.

This issue actually kicks off the second arc in the Booster Gold title, and leaves me quite interested in re-reading it…unfortunately, I don’t believe I have any of the early collected volumes, nor ready access (consolidated) to my singles at the moment.

I don’t recommend this in context of Zero Hour itself, really, but it was a great throwback issue, touching in continuity and playing off the #0 issues concept (this was the seventh issue of the series). But as a Booster Gold story, I very definitely recommend the Blue and Gold arc that this kicks off, as well as the first one, 52 Pickup.

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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

Booster Gold #2 [Review]

Quick Rating: Excellent!
Story Title: 52 Pick-Up, chapter 2: Leggo My Ego

Booster vs. Sinestro…for the fate of Guy Gardner?

boostergold002Written by: Geoff Johns & Jeff Katz
Layouts by: Dan Jurgens
Finishes by: Norm Rapmund
Colors by: Hi-Fi
Letters by: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover by: Jurgens & Rapmund
Variant cover by: Art Adams
Booster Gold created by: Dan Jurgens
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue’s mission for Booster? Stop a determined Sinestro from making contact with Guy Gardner. Should he fail, the Sinestro Corps. would come about years sooner than it should, and would lead to Sinestro’s successful conquering of the universe. As Booster attempts to keep the two men from meeting, Rip goes on a field trip, and a figure from Booster’s recent experiential past returns, promising significant trouble.

This is another fine issue of this still-young series. We get a "complete" story in Booster being told what his "mission" is, the context surrounding said mission, and Booster diving in to attend to business, with the conclusion of the mission impacting what’s to come in the next issue, all while several sub-plots (awesome–they still exist!) advance and promise to emerge to the forefront before too terribly long.

As such, it seems that the writing team is in great form here, providing us with an entertaining story, but also laying foundation for the meta-arc that will likely be at least the first TPB…establishing an ongoing story that works in larger form, while making it feel worthwhile to be reading the short-form single issues as they’re released.

The art team is also in great form, providing visuals that convey the story and character emotions in a clear, detailed way without being hyper-detailed nor so realistic one might be tempted to forget that this is, in fact, a comic book.

Blended together, this is another very enjoyable issue that is well worth being picked up. And even if you didn’t nab #1…I would gladly argue that this issue justifies tracking down both issues of this series-so-far to get in on an engaging, enjoyable read!

Ratings:

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

Booster Gold #1 [Review]

Quick Rating: Excellent!
Story Title: 52 Pick-Up, chapter 1: Secret Origins

Booster Gold finds that despite saving the multi-verse, Time is still broken, and it’s up to him to save it–in a rather surprising way.

boostergold001Written by: Geoff Johns & Jeff Katz
Layouts by: Dan Jurgens
Finishes by: Norm Rapmund
Colors by: Hi-Fi
Letters by: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover by: Dan Jurgens
Variant cover by: Art Adams
Special Thanks to: "Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid…but definitely not Keith Giffen!"
Booster Gold created by: Dan Jurgens
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue rocks! It presses a lotta my fan buttons, and is one of very few issues of late that I put down and probably had some silly grin on my face, having just simply enjoyed it that much.

We pick up with Booster Gold a couple months after the events of 52, as he’s working to make it big again and get a shot at joining the current Justice League…even though none of it’s quite the same without his best buddy Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) around. Unfortunately for the would-be hero, other forces–and people–are at work in the timestream, and Booster finds himself drawn back into facing a crisis that threatens to keep him from his public and rise to genuine fame.
Throughout, we get a number of great character moments and interactions that speak to the potential of coming issues and stories, even as they add to the depth of this very story.

The story here seems really solid to me–and if there was a lack of solidity, it didn’t stand out to me. This issue–and series–builds on the events of 52 and takes up some dangling threads to start tying stuff up in one way or another. Booster is written in such a way that he’s not only true to classic/iconic form, but is also given some actual growth, leaving plenty of room for continuing growth as a character, without ditching or disrespecting the past.

We get a lot of what makes a great first issue for a new title: exposition/flashback to catch the reader up or introduce new readers to the state of affairs; prominent use of the title character; introduction of new and old characters for supporting cast; guest-stars to show what it is that makes this character stand on his own; a plausible story that builds on existing continuity without being bogged down; and several bits of foreshadowing and outright teases of what’s to come, that fit right into the context of the story without feeling forced.

The strength of continuity and the feel of the main character himself certainly must come partly from the fact that Johns was one of Booster’s writers from his last adventure.

Visually, the cover stands out immediately, with a fun, iconic sort of picture–and though I hadn’t realized it when I first noticed it and thought about what a cool image it was–the standard cover is by Dan Jurgens, who has had a certain place in Booster Gold history.

The general artwork in the issue is also very good…it captures the sheer fun-ness and energy of things. It’s not the most hyper-detailed, nor is it overly simplified…it clearly shows who’s doing what where and when, gets across what’s going on, and as a whole does a great job of doing what the art in a comic is supposed to do.

While this issue’s story, and perhaps very existence spring directly from 52, you need not have read that story to understand what’s going on here–and the details from 52 that do matter are recapped in the flow of this issue’s story. Though this looks to have elements drawn from all parts of the DC multiverse, and the ability to touch any and all titles that are part of the main stable of DC books, this issue feels very nicely self-contained, and a decent jumping-in point even if you’re not familiar with the DCU.

Taken as a whole, this issue is one of the single most enjoyable reads I’ve had all year, and I definitely recommend it–especially if you’re a fan of the character, of 52, or of the "new" multiverse.

Ratings:

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

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