Booster Gold: The Big Fall (2019)
Reprints Booster Gold V1 #1-12
Written by Dan Jurgens
Art by Dan Jurgens & Mike DeCarlo
The 1980s are remembered as a decade of gross corporate excess in the United States. Ronald Reagan became president and opened the doors to deregulating the financial sector. American Psycho is a great satirical take on the results of letting Wall Street run wild on American wealth. In DC Comics, they indulged in the excess with the most massive comic book crossover to date, Crisis on Infinite Earths. This featured heroes from across the multiverse in a battle beyond time and space. The result was a condensed timeline where they managed (or in some cases failed to accomplish) populating the single remaining Earth with legions of heroes. The character considered to be the first post-Crisis one is Booster Gold, a mystery man who encompasses all the corporate greed.
We open with Booster Gold being an established figure in Metropolis, having only arrived months earlier. His corporation Goldstar manages his brand with Gold endorsing cars, breakfast cereal, and anything else he can get his face on. Gold is targeted by The 1000, a secret society intent on overthrowing all societies. They send multiple superpowered hitmen after the hero in an attempt to get him out of their way. The exact reasons behind that are part of the year-long arc. Booster Gold is aided by his robot sidekick Skeets who seems to have a vast knowledge of what will happening and is part of the secret behind Gold.
Booster Gold has been around long enough that the secret is pretty much a well-known part of his character. His real name is Michael Carter, a citizen of Metropolis in the 25th century. He was a football player who got caught gambling on games, including those he played in. After losing his career, Carter became a night watchman at the Space Museum, where he got the idea to use time traveler Rip Carter’s old time machine and take some future tech back to become a hero. Knowing what was going to happen would help enrich him, and he enlisted the robot Skeets to go back and help him.
The stories here are pretty standard superhero fare of the period, nothing is really very revolutionary. Booster Gold really got developed as a character in the pages of Giffen & DeMatteis’ Justice League. There’s a pretty disappointing team-up with Superman as part of an alien invasion story. The core story is forgettable, but I really wish Jurgens had played up the ideologically clash between the Man of Steel and Booster Gold, especially their motivation for being heroes. There’s also a two-parter that has a trio of Legionnaires come back to 1985 an attempt to take back the tech Booster stole from them.
But the main storyline about The 1000 feels like a cut and paste of so many Saturday morning cartoons. The 1000’s leader The Director is a pastiche of every Cobra Commander wannabe of the era. There’s an attempt to tie it into an earlier storyline involving street vigilante Thorn and her connections to The 100, The 1000’s predecessors. It doesn’t really pan out, and I wish they had made her a more prominent supporting character. I could see her acting as a good foil for Booster with her own bizarre path to becoming a crimefighter.
We don’t get many new original characters with staying power that start in their own ongoing. Typically a hero will be introduced as part of a crossover event or in the pages of another character’s title. Booster still hasn’t attained that superstar status, but he has definitely grown in prominence since. The end of this collection lives up to the title, setting Booster up to have lost everything and with a promise to start a new chapter in his life, which we will explore later in the year.