Booster Gold: Future Lost (2020)
Reprints Booster Gold #13-25, Action Comics #594, Secret Origins #35, Millennium #3,4,6,7
Written by Dan Jurgens & Steve Englehart
Art by Dan Jurgens, Ty Templeton, John Byrne, and Joe Staton
Booster Gold had evolved since his first appearance by the time Dan Jurgens was kicking off the second year of the title. Gold was an intriguing gimmick, a personification of 1980s corporate greed as presented in a superhero, but as his origins were fleshed out and his life complicated, the man from the 25th century fell from grace and had to rebuild. Jurgens didn’t really know what quite to do with Booster Gold beyond the idea, and the stories suffer for this reason. His villains are entirely forgettable, and the supporting cast feels dull. D.C. saw some potential in Booster, though, and in these issues, he’s recruited by Maxwell Lord for the newly formed Justice League International.
Trixie, Booster’s secretary and potential love interest helps him escape a hospital where he’s been holed up since his final battle with The 1000. Trix uses a costume that was being developed to give Booster a female love interest & partner as part of his marketing scheme. From there, the hero wants to remedy some of the problems he’s caused, especially by leaving his life behind in the future. This involves recruiting the D.C. Universe’s foremost expert on time travel Rip Hunter, also the man whose time machine Booster will steal in the future to make his journey back to the 20th century. Once in the future, there’s a scuffle with the local law and a reunion with Booster’s sister Michelle who returns to the present.
Later on, we get a strange fight between the assassin Cheshire and the solo hero Hawk that doesn’t seem like anything Booster would have a hand in. This is followed by a coda on the time travel story and then a two-part fight with minor Flash villain The Rainbow Raider. Michelle gets kidnapped by generic aliens, which elicits the Justice League International getting involved. Jurgens caps off his run with a crossover team-up between Booster & Superman and then tie-ins to the dreadful Millennium crossover event of 1988. Booster played a fairly significant role in that story, but it doesn’t make re-reading any of those issues any better.
It’s undeniable why Booster Gold got canceled, and the creators involved should be happy they got two years of issues in because the whole run is pretty awful. Booster as a concept is fantastic, and it wouldn’t be until he was in the hands of other writers (Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis) that he would shine, paired with Blue Beetle as a comedic duo in Justice League International.
I’m actually shocked Jurgens got more work after this, though his run on Superman would end up being some of my favorite nostalgic reads. If you examine his bibliography, Booster Gold ended in 1988, and he doesn’t appear to have a significant writing gig at DC until 1991 when he started helming the Superman title and did the art for Armageddon 2001. By 1992, we had the Death of Superman storyline, and Jurgens had been given the reins on Justice League America. Even as an artist, he completely transformed by that point so that now his work has an extremely distinct style, not appearing so generic as it does in Booster Gold. He’d be the driving force behind Zero Hour, DC’s celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Crisis. Then around 2000, Jurgens started to be popping up less regularly on titles.
In 2009, he revived Booster Gold in a solo title following the smash success of 52. With DC’s New 52 reboot, Jurgens wrote some on the new Green Arrow title and a dismal Justice League International revival that lacked everything great about the original. I think some of the magic returns with the Lois & Clark miniseries, part of D.C.’s journey to Rebirth, where they tried to course-correct the errors of the New 52. Jurgens wrote some of the Rebirth-era Superman titles for a while, but then he faded again from D.C. Comics.
It’s interesting how the creator of a character can actually be one of the worst people to write that character. Booster has remained a significant presence in the D.C. Universe since his introduction, but he’s never been best written by Jurgens, in my opinion. I would argue Jurgens writes a fantastic Superman and Lois, and their supporting cast, but not his own creation. While the Booster Gold title holds historical significance as the first new post-Crisis character introduced in the DCU and a now rare example of a major character debuting in their own solo book, these issues are not a lot of fun to read.