Today’s Super Comic — Booster Gold #1 (2007)

booster-gold-1Booster Gold resembles the CW’s Legends of Tomorrow closer than any book I can think of. It’s a time-travel series in which Rip Hunter guides his carefully selected superhero through DC’s history so they can repair damage to the timeline.

But this series has something the television show has lacked so far—a compelling character hook.

Booster Gold has always been a superhero who craved celebrity status. He performed good deeds first for the glory, and later he grew into the role. But even Booster at his most mature and heroic still wants to be admired and appreciated. And that makes him perfect for this book’s premise.

In order to stealthily save the timestream, Rip informs him, Booster needs to “go down in history as an ineffectual and incompetent fraud when in reality [he’ll] be the greatest hero history has never known.”

So, for the sake of the world as we know it, an egotistical superhero needs to sacrifice not only his present-day reputation, but also his own historical record for all time. That is a fantastic premise, and a guest appearance by the Justice League shows us just how painful this is to Booster. But he tries to do the right thing anyway.

This is a wonderful example of teaming up the right story with the right character.

Writers: Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz

Penciler: Dan Jurgens

Inker: Norm Rapmund

Publisher: DC Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Comixology; included in Booster Gold vol. 1: 52 Pick-Up (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 11 and up

Today’s Super Comic — The Adventures of Superman #476 (1991)

Adventures_of_Superman_476Early ‘90s Superman comics probably won’t go down as among the all-time greats, but they sure are reliably fun.

The Adventures of Superman #476 kicks off a time-traveling epic called “Time and Time Again.” Superman has just recently revealed his secret identity to Lois Lane (they’re engaged at this point), and as they’re adjusting to this new dynamic in their relationship, special guest star Booster Gold literally drops out of the sky. Time for both Supes and Lois to get to work.

In trying to help out his colleague, Superman winds up flung through time, and his first stop brings him to additional guest stars who are always nice to see.

Time-travel is a useful device for pulling Superman out of his usual element, and it allows him to embark on an archetypal “hero must find his way home” story, which generally is a bit harder to facilitate with a flying, super-fast protagonist.

A good time for Superman fans young and old.

Writer/Penciler: Dan Jurgens

Inker: Brett Breeding

Publisher: DC Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Comixology; included in Superman: Time and Time Again (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 9 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Booster Gold #6 (1986)

Booster_Gold_6I’ve always had a soft spot for Booster Gold. And if you’re not a regular comic reader, you’re probably asking, “Booster who? What?”

Booster Gold debuted in the mid-80s, and creator/writer/artist Dan Jurgens immediately distinguished him from the rest of DC’s superhero lineup. While most superheroes save the day for altruistic reasons or to avenge loved ones, Booster is pretty much in it for his own glory at first. He wants to be rich, famous, and adored. His path to doing so just happens to be crimefighting, but he’s totally comfortable marketing his likeness as any popular athlete would.

Jurgens could easily have misfired with this. (Well, the series lasted all of two years, so perhaps it was a misfire anyway. But the character was a creative success, and Booster has continued to play a role in the DC Universe ever since.) Booster could have come across as overly selfish and unlikeable—and at times he absolutely does—but beneath all the product endorsements and preoccupation with image, he’s a guy who truly wants to be the best superhero he can be.

As we learn in #6, his origin issue, Booster’s past is not one to be proud of. He starts from a very low point, and he’s determined to become something better.

To drive home just how un-heroic Booster initially appears, the big man himself, Superman, shows up and heaps considerable judgment upon the titular showboat. The two make for excellent foils.

Some heroes are born great, and others have to work hard at it. The latter is often the more interesting approach, and that’s what makes Booster Gold a somewhat hidden gem among DC’s cast.

Writer/Penciler: Dan Jurgens

Inker: Mike De Carlo

Publisher: DC Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Comixology

Appropriate For: ages 10 and up