Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Booster Gold #6

So, in this issue, everything that fans have been asking for since Countdown to Infinite Crisis, um, happens. Time-traveler Booster Gold goes back to save the Blue Beetle from being killed.

Moreover, he does so at minimum personal cost (he gets bruised a bit) and with, he's assured, no repercussions to the timeline (everyone, including Max Lord, will still think Ted Kord was killed, Wonder Woman will still snap his neck, and Infinite Crisis will proceed apace.)

This is, on one hand, highly unsatisfying and, on the other hand, terribly exciting!

You see, if it were just this issue, then the ease with which Booster changes history to his liking would be emotionally hollow. Nothing so boring as unearned reward. Particularly since Booster's greatest wish is just handed to him by "Future" Blue Beetle, a cypher of a character who appears out of nowhere with a Deus Ex Machina, um, machine.

But but but, in context, the ease with which Booster Gold saves his best friend gives a fantastic sense of dread. Because in context, we know there is going to be a price.

Last issue, Rip Hunter painfully demonstrated the futility of trying to change a "solidified" event (and that's going to be another post, about what counts as a "solid" event in shifting comics continuity.) And next issue is a tie-in to Zero Hour: A Crisis in Time, and solicitations for the issue after that show Booster and Beetle facing a world where Max Lord won.

It's reminiscent of JSA #66, the last time Geoff Johns tied a story directly into Zero Hour where heroes from today travel back in time to save a hero just before he dies. Not only does the one hero (android Hourman) have to die to save the other (original flavor Hourman), but it opens a "window" that allowed a time traveling Nazi to take over the world (a Nazi who happened to cameo in issue #5 of Booster Gold, by the way)!

And that's one way the story could proceed ("Future Blue Beetle" will probably turn out to be a villain trying to change time to his liking). But tying it into Zero Hour presents a different route the story could take, and I'm really excited about the next issue.*

For those that don't know, Zero Hour was DC's first sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths, a weekly miniseries with the cute gimmick that it counted down to its final, zero issue. (Why doesn't DC do something like that anymore?) And while the meta-textual purpose of the series was to wipe clean some of the messy character histories, the story itself was about...

... okay, the story itself is the usual crossover mess where a lot of stuff happens but not a lot of it makes sense, and the entire plot occurs in the last issue.

But, in retrospect, Zero Hour is about Hal Jordan's attempt to fix the mistakes of his past, and utter destruction it causes. And the destruction of all time and space weren't unintended side effects of Hal's plan. That was his plan. That was his point.

Which neatly parallels Booster's position. Booster Gold is now capable of fine tuning history exactly to his liking. Not only is he likely to go save his sister, who was tragically killed, but he might also go and save Sue Dibny, or Spoiler. He might go back and, using the tech he had this issue, stop Barbara Gordon from being paralyzed.

But why stop there? He could keep Doomsday from ever "killing" Superman. He could keep Lex Luthor from even being born. Booster is a very fallible character (which is what makes him such a great character). Given unlimited power, what would stop him from using it? What stops Booster, like Hal before him, from playing God?

And that's a story I'd like to read!

*The other reasons I'm excited to read a tie-in issue to a twelve year old crossover are that a) if "all of time" was threatened, then "all of time" is still threatened, um, all of the time and b) it's Geoff Johns first opportunity to write Hal Jordan as Parallax since his reveal that Hal was possessed by a giant yellow space bug, and I'm curious to see how he plays that.


SallyP said...

On the one hand, I am just so delighted to see Ted. On the other hand, as you pointed out, it just CAN'T be this easy. You know that somehow, something is going to go wrong, or a price is going to have to be paid.

I liked Zero Hour actually. It was messy,but what the heck.

Siskoid said...

I liked it too. Or rather, I liked the various ways titles tied into it (the many Batmen cover on Superman the Man of Steel is still a favorite), and the Zero issues which dealt with the changes in a straightforward way.

Re: the post. Your bearing is exactly right, though I'm hoping the price isn't Ted's life all over again.

Will Staples said...

All I can say is that I've a sinking feeling that Future Beetle is Per Degaton, or is at least working with him.

Also: "My future science." Chuckle. If ever I get sent through a time warp to World War II, I shall refer to my laptop (or should I say "my informatioscope") as "my future science."