Booster Gold may seem like a complete imbecile on the outside who’s only chasing fame, but Booster Gold (VOL. 2) #5 shows just how much of a hero he truly is.
To get the full story, we need to look back at Countdown to Infinite Crisis, 52, and the first few issues of Booster Gold (VOL. 2) #5; hereafter, dubbed Booster Gold #5.
Spoilers for issues leading to Booster Gold #5 and Countdown to Infinite Crisis, 52 follow.
BLUE AND GOLD
Ever since their meeting in the 80’s Justice League, Booster Gold and Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) became inseparable friends, dubbed Blue and Gold. The two went on to rely on each other for nearly everything, while completely understanding one another. When no one respected them or their opinions, they had their friendship—the type of friendship everyone wants. But during Countdown to Infinite Crisis, Blue Beetle learned of Maxwell Lord’s plans with the Omacs and went to stop him. Blue Beetle was shot dead. Booster Gold lost more than a friend.
Following this, Booster Gold went and saved the Multiverse in 52, but with such knowledge, he couldn’t tell anyone. This made him “The Greatest Hero You’ve Never Heard Of.” The second volume’s fantastic tagline. Nonetheless, he constantly had the death of Blue Beetle in the back of his mind, especially after learning it was a dear friend that killed him. These plot points become a driving force for the first few issues of his solo series, where he deals with the death of a friend.
BOOSTER GOLD VOL. 2
Now in his solo series, Booster Gold believes he deserves to be back in the spotlight after saving the Multiverse. He isn’t wrong. He spent most of the series fighting for and fixing the Multiverse in the background with Rip Hunter, another time traveler. The thing is the Multiverse is always in trouble and Rip returns needing his help. After all the Crises, some wormholes need to be closed, especially now that someone is trying to stop multiple heroes’ origins.
But the catch is he has to do it all in the background without others knowing. He has to continue to play the moron who only wants fame, riches, and fun. Having just received membership in the Justice League, he has to decline. He does this in a loud fashion saying he only did it so he can decline them. Granted, the readers know this isn’t true. After saving multiple origins, it’s finally time for Booster Gold to save his best friend.
A HARD LESSON LEARNED
Having told him from the start that messing with time could cause a Butterfly Effect and that he should know better, Booster Gold presses on. Seeing no other option, Rip lies and tells him that he needs to save Barbara Gordon. Supposedly she was never to be paralyzed in The Killing Joke. Knowing after this he can get his friend back, he goes to save Barbara. What transpires is one of the best Booster Gold issues and a heart-wrenching look at time travel.
Writers Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz have Booster Gold repeatedly fail, just to get back up to try again. Although this could be seen as him only doing it so he can later save his friend, it isn’t. He constantly has tears in his eyes and a strained face trying to save Barbara from being shot. Throughout the series, humor has been added in with amazing fashion, per usual with the character. But for Booster Gold #5 Johns and Katz keep it a consistent tone throughout, showcasing how dire it is. You start to feel the pain Booster Gold does when all he wants is to save someone’s life. But, it all comes to a head when Rip tells him the truth.
Having lied to him, Rip explains Solidified Time and how Blue Beetle and others that are dead can’t come back. Seeing the usual cheerful, prankster Booster Gold defeated in such a manner hits hard from the story that transpires, but also from the art.
Joining on art is Booster Gold creator, Dan Jurgens who throughout the years usually has a hand with the character interpretations. Helping Jurgens on art is Norm Rapmund credited as finished art. Throughout the following issues, the team has kept consistent quality art that is realistic. The same can be said with Booster Gold #5, where it works perfectly with the story told. Their style compliment Brian Bolland’s from The Killing Joke. Even a few panels look straight from the original.
Nonetheless, the strongest point is the duos work on Booster Gold’s face and the pain he shows. While he is making his way to save Barbara and failing, there is a constant strain of pain on his face. This is due to him knowing he won’t make it. But, the strained face isn’t enough, as tears run down his face. Jurgens and Rapmund are able to portray such a horrid face in one panel, that makes you feel for the character. Then to rub salt in the wound they show a brutal fight between Booster Gold and Joker.
COLORS/LETTERS OF EMOTION
As Booster Gold #5 takes place in Gotham the colors are darker. This is mind, HI-FI, and Lee Loughridge, do keep the bright colors seen in the series for some moments, but for Gotham, they keep it dark. The contrast of a bright Booster Gold in a nasty looking Gotham is interesting and the team does it well. Yet, the highlight of the colors occurs towards the end. Walking away Booster Gold announces he is done helping Rip. But before he leaves, he grabs Skeets, cries, and declares, “All I wanted was my best friend back.” This is Booster at his lowest, just wanting a friend. HI-FI and Loughridge drop all the background and put Booster Gold in an ever encompassing black. The team even goes as far as to put him in a spotlight when a full shot is shown, so all of your focus is on him and his pain.
Letterer Nick J. Napolitano was at the top of his game with Booster Gold (VOL. 2) #5. Throughout, Napolitano adds in some great science fiction sound effects, yet when it comes to the fight, he adds in Joker’s constant laugh. Between these laughs and Joker taking pictures off-panel with a “FWASH” showing up, you can feel Booster Gold’s pain.
THE FUTURE, THE PAST
Booster Gold is an interesting character. In the DC-Universe, citizens and other heroes think he is an idiot who can’t do anything right and only wants fame. Then you have readers who’ve only read him in cameo instances or have seen him in media and think the same. Yet, this is what makes the character so great, the writers have done what they set out to do; make him such an idiot, you’d never believe his feats. Nonetheless, once you read the first few issues of Booster Gold (VOL. 2) you see a character with a lot more to give and love. This especially rings true in its fifth issue.
If you’ve never read the character before, Booster Gold #5 will change your mind on him. Plus, it may make you sad as hell.