Comics 101: Booster Gold

Superheroes are honorable and trustworthy figures of great upstanding morals, right? Not in Booster Gold’s case. The hero from the distant future has always been an opportunist, looking for a way to parlay his heroism into corporate endorsements. He came about in the mid-1980s, the perfect super capitalist for the Reagan era. In the two decades since, Booster has gone through many changes and volleyed back and forth between being a humorous or serious character. His partnership with Blue Beetle is legendary, and his ties to the history of the DC Universe are epic. But in the end, he’s just a guy looking to make a buck.

Booster’s story starts in Gotham City of the 25th Century. Michael Jon Carter grew up without a father, his was a drunk who left when he was a child. The pressure to provide for him family started early and Michael eventually gets into Gotham University on a football scholarship, with dreams of going pro. At this point, Papa Carter shows up and convinces Michael to throw his games so his father can win big on bets. Michael tentatively agrees and gets caught, thrown out of the university and forced to get a job as a night watchmen at the Metropolis Space Museum. After getting a good look at all the devices on display, Michael realizes he could take them, use the Time Bubble that is kept in the museum and start a lucrative career in the the past. Employing a security robot named Skeets, Michael jumps back to the late 20th century where he debuts as the superhero Goldstar. When he gains the accolades of President Ronald Reagan, he receives a name change due to the president’s growing senility. Michael’s nickname as a football player was “Booster”, and the president confusingly introduces him as Booster Gold.

During Booster’s early years, he teams with his little sister Michelle Carter who takes his original name “Goldstar” as her own. Booster amasses a large quantity of wealth through his fame, but suffers two tragedies: first, Michelle is killed in battle and second, the CEO of Booster Gold International embezzles all the funds leaving the hero broken and on the streets. His luck changes when businessman Maxwell Lord approaches Booster to join a new incarnation of the Justice League. This allows him to fight alongside such legends as Batman, Martian Manhunter, and Black Canary as well as beginning his long-running friendship with Blue Beetle. Booster and Beetle frequently steal Max’s money to invest in get rich quick schemes, like building Club JLI on the living island of Kooey Kooey Kooey. Booster leaves the Justice League at one point to form the corporate team The Conglomerate, but quickly finds his way back to the JLI. Another dark period began for Booster with the arrival of the alien Doomsday on earth. As the behemoth trudged toward Metropolis, the Justice League tried to stop him. Booster’s futuristic suit, the source of his power was damaged beyond repair. Blue Beetle, a tech whiz ala Tony Stark, builds a bulkier armor for Booster to use.

For a short time, Booster joins an offshoot of the Justice League led by Captain Atom. He goes back to being a solo hero and is able to get a replica of his original costume made for him. The current period of Booster’s life kicked off with the brutal murder of his best friend, Blue Beetle. The murder was the work of their former boss Max Lord, and Booster set off to learn what was going on. He found that Max was working to eliminate superhumans from the Earth, and used normal humans unwittingly fused with a nano-virus. When activated, these humans became OMACs (Observational Metahuman Activity Constructs). A global battle followed, that pitted Earth’s heroes against the OMACs and the giant satellite controlling them, Brother Eye. Booster teams with Batman and the new teenaged Blue Beetle to take down the satellite and they succeed. In the aftermath of this battle, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman all take a leave of absence causing Booster to attempt to fill the void of Superman’s absence in Metropolis.

Booster had always relied on Skeets historical database to give him the edge against the enemies, but suddenly Skeets is reporting the wrong information. He also receives competition when the mysterious new superhero Supernova appears in Metropolis and quickly becomes beloved. Looking for answers, Booster travels to the desert bunker of DC’s chief time traveler, Rip Hunter. There he finds a photo of himself circled with the words “All his fault” written next to it. While Booster thinks it is about him, it is revealed Rip has discovered that Skeets has been compromised. The robot sidekick turns on Booster, trapping him in a time loop and beginning a hunt for Supernova and Rip Hunter. When he finally finds Supernova, the enigmatic unmasks himself as…Booster Gold?! Booster escaped the time loop with help from Rip, then traveled back a few weeks to debut as Supernova. It turns out Skeets is actually carrying the minute alien villain Mr. Mind, who has evolved into a new more dangerous form. The monstrous new Mr. Mind chases Booster and Rip through time, accidentally birthing the multi-verse (parallel universes). Skeets is restored, Mr. Mind is defeated, and Booster and Rip begin a partnership.

Most recently, Maxwell Lord has returned from the dead and manipulated Booster and his former Justice League teammates into reuniting. Max has shown a less villainous side, telling Booster he considers him his friend and that all of this has a purpose. It remains to be seen whether Max is playing his former employee or legitimately trying to help him.

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