Writers: Geoff Johns, Jeff Katz
Penciller: Dan Jurgens
Inker: Norm Rapmund
This volume gives what undoubtedly most fans of Booster Gold love and wanted to see again – the reunion of Booster Gold and Ted Kord. Driven by the need to strive to not just to uphold the past, but to better it, this volume sees Booster latch onto an offer from a mysterious Blue Beetle, who claims to be from the 27th century, and just so happens to know a way to save Ted Kord whilst leaving the time stream intact. Inevitably the promise isn’t held and the time stream is drastically altered, with Max Lords’ plans never being exposed by Kord’s death meaning his diabolical scheme was hatched. However this was always expected, and part of a much larger scheme…
This once again is a cracking story. The mystery behind who is manipulating events is revealed and will please all those who have read 52 (If you haven’t, go and read it now – it’s awesome). I have to applaud Johns and Katz for tying this into that series. The story is accessible to those who are reading it without having picked up 52, but at the same time for those who have; it feels like a satisfying continuation of Booster’s storyline. In terms of the characters, the dynamic between Ted and Michael is truly wonderful and just makes me want to track down whatever they’ve been involved in together in the past as they are just so readable when paired together. The writing is great again, and not just contained to these two – sharp and snappy dialogue is present in this volume like the first, and there are many amusing moments that just bring a smile to your face. It’s not all humour though, with there also being some emotional character moments, with the most significant occurring when the duo realise what is actually happening.
The grasp that Johns and Katz have on the characters is what makes this volume. The core cast are once again well flushed out and used, and with this being a story about a time travelling hero, we also get many more guest stars, who are all used effectively. The Blue Beetle squadron? Awesome. A Green Arrow and Hawkman team-up? Awesome. The reunion of the Justice League International? Awesome. I can go on. The use of these characters in an altered time stream is well executed, and once again the premise is based on a really solid time travel idea. The epic scale of just one event changing history is something that can be underwhelming and told poorly, but in this story is anything but, and the chaos that ensues is justified, making this story is a real page turner.
This volume really puts Booster through the ropes and sends him on an emotional roller coaster, so much so that he’s ready to quit. It really shows that the best intentions don’t always have the best ends. Whilst reuniting the Blue and Gold, this shows some great development of their friendship and shows Ted Kord for the heroic character he is. One of the highlights for me however, was the Batman scene. It is so well written and thought out, and you just have to read it to see. In light of what Booster has been through, it’s a really touching scene.
In terms of the new villain introduced, the Black Beetle is an intriguing character and the ending with him grabbing a scarab is a tantalising plot thread, which is picked up on later on. That’s been one of the strengths with Booster Gold – as one story is wrapped up, you can see the next one begin to unfold. This is done of course by the presentation and breaking down of the story, which is done in a fluid manner, moving from one set of characters to the next without being jarring and too sudden. Credit must also go out for the decision to ‘include’ Zero Hour and One Million tie ins, a nice little use of the time travel world that Booster Gold inhabits.
In short, this volume is just as fantastic as volume one. There’s witty and funny dialogue, great character moments and touching and emotional scenes for the characters – all elements of a successful story. The art once again is top notch and adds a glossy touch to what is a fantastic story. The reunion of the Blue and Gold is the great affair as it should be, and the introduction of the mysterious Black Beetle suggests the Kord legacy has some twists and turns left in it yet.