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Abandoned Love: Booster Gold’s New Threads

Every week, we will be examining comic book stories, plots and ideas that were abandoned by a later writer while still acknowledging that the abandoned story DID still happen. Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of Abandoned Love. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

This week, we take a look at how Booster Gold went on a journey that took over a decade to end up where he began in the first place.

Booster Gold was introduced by Dan Jurgens in 1986 as a fellow who traveled to our present from the future and used a power suit from the future to fight crime today (while also trying to become rich and famous).

That was Booster’s setup for the next six years. A guy from the future who fights crime with a power suit.

Things changed during the 1992 crossover Death of Superman, where Booster and the Justice League run afoul of the murderous monster Doomsday (interestingly enough, Justice League was written by Booster creator Dan Jurgens, but he did not seem to play favorites with his creation).

Booster uses up all of his suit’s power cells trying to stop Doomsday…

And then Doomsday destroys his suit…

Since the suit is from the future, no one is able to fix it. Booster basically just hangs around with the Justice League for awhile, answering the phones and picking up everyone’s laundry while he waits for his best friend, Blue Beetle, to come out of a coma. You see, Blue Beetle also had some trouble with Doomsday…

It is a shame that Beetle was killed by a bullet to the head. It would have been interesting to see if he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Anyhow, Beetle eventually comes out of the coma and he then creates a series of progressively advanced suits of armor for Booster (writer Dan Vado had taken over from Dan Jurgens on Justice League). Here is the first…

So Booster used these armors for a time until the League fought against a powerful bad guy named the Overmaster. Booster knew from history books that he (Booster) led the League in a victory over the Overmaster, so he was pumped (this was the first time the idea that Booster knew of certain events in history – seemed like a bit of an odd idea). However, Zero Hour had made time unreliable, and instead of leading the league in a victory, Booster got his ass kicked, his arm cut off and basically left for dead.

He underwent surgery, but things did not look good…

And Booster ultimately flatlines….

Oddly enough, though, the Overmaster had actually temporarily ended all birth and death on Earth, so Booster was stuck in a sort of zombie-like state. He decides, what the hell, might as well go out fighting…

When the League defeated the Overmaster and returned life and death to the world, things didn’t look good for Booster, but Beetle had a plan…

The pair then joined a new group, Extreme Justice (in a new title still written by Dan Vado), with that being the setup. Booster needed his armor to live.

Eventually (after Dan Vado left the title and was eventually replaced by Robert Washington III), some bad guy named Monarch offered Booster a chance to get futuristic “quantum” implants that would essentially restore his body to its natural state. Booster went for it.

Monarch eventually revealed that he could control Booster’s new body…

However, somehow, Booster was fighting the Monarch’s control of his body. How as he doing that? Prepare yourself for a bizarre revelation! This 1996 comic decided to use the 1988 crossover Millenium to explain how Booster’s body could fight the implants!

Now that Booster’s body was back to normal, Beetle revealed his new suit of armor, complete with an uploaded Skeets to help run the armor for Booster!

At the time, this seemed like a fine job by Robert Washington III to get Booster as close to back to basics as you could get.

Booster’s creator, though, had other ideas. Roughly a year later, Jurgens had Booster guest-star in Superman soon after Superman had developed new energy powers. At the end of the previous issue, Superman had seemingly evaporated. Booster showed up to save the day, but at a high cost to himself…

Since this is now the second time that Booster had lost a suit while aiding Superman, Superman agreed to have his friend Professor Hamilton use some of the left over material from Superman’s new energy containment suit to give Booster a new outfit.

Conveniently enough, the outfit’s design was based on Jurgens’ rejected design for Superman’s new energy suit.

So Booster was now BASICALLY back to square one for the next six years until Formerly Known as the Justice League came out in 2003 and revealed that at some point off-panel, Booster had re-designed his new costume to look just like his old costume…

And now Booster was officially right back where he started pre-Death of Superman.

If you have a suggestion for a plotline/character change that was reversed by later writers, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com

18 Comments

I knew about the big ol’ clunky armor post-Death of Superman but didn’t realize the gradual slimming down of the suit. Interesting.

I notice that every iteration of his uniform kept the most important aspect. No, not the blue and gold coloring. His hair.

Are there any characters who didn’t have an awkward 90′s period?

Why were so many comics in the 90′s so fugly?

” Justice League run afoul of the murderous monster Doomsday (interestingly enough, Justice League was written by Booster creator Dan Jurgens, but he did not seem to play favorites with his creation).”
I think that is the only time ever that Jurgens has not played favorites with Booster.
Like his second Jurgens costume, but the reasoning for it to work is very flimsy.

Booster Gold is such an odd character. Jurgens gave him a great design and the idea of a profit/fame driven hero is a good one. It is especially good in the DCU where the core heroes are so damn noble. He fits nicely into the JLI family of characters.

His powers are a little generic and no one has ever done any work to make them visually interesting. He doesn’t have much of a supporting cast other than Skeets and the new Blue Beetle has sort of stolen that schtick. He has no rogues gallery to speak of. All of which sticks him solidly on the B-list. Nothing wrong with the B-list, but he was created to be an A-lister.

Booster Gold’s problem is that his origin is stupid. It gives him exactly zero motivation to do anything other than run & hide from anyone that drops in from the future. It makes him seem like a coward at best and a nitwit at worst. I mean … if anyone can just bop through the time stream at will, then becoming a famous person in the person in the past is the dumbest way to hide. Giffen and DeMatties turned those lemons into lemonade by playing up his stupidity in JLI, but not everyone wants to play him for comedy.

The only source of pathos for a shallow, dim-wit is to take away his stuff. Hence, the saga of the ripped super-suit.

So how/when did Skeets re-form as a separate unit, as seen in 52 and the Booster series following that?

Rao! The legs on that first suit on that cover, what the..?!

I’m pretty certain the Ron Frenz art is from the 90s and IMO it is, as usual, absolutely stunning!! One of the most underrated artist still working today. And Kevin Maguire and Dan Jurgen’s art is nothing to sniff at either.

The rest though… Yeah it’s pretty dreadful. Blame Image.

So how/when did Skeets re-form as a separate unit, as seen in 52 and the Booster series following that?

Sometime around Infinite Crisis and 52. He went to the future off-panel and returned with a fixed Skeets.

Y’know, Blue Beetle may have avoided an awkward 90s phase. He spent time in a coma, and he spent time being drawn badly; but as far as his costume and personality go, he was pretty much consistent with either the Len Wein version or the Giffen/DeMatteis version.

Is it bad that I really liked the last suit with the Electric Blue Superman? I never liked the armor … made him too aesthetically like Iron Man but did not fit the main idea of the character.

Kind of like what happened with Spider-man

@Winter, The last suit is very cool looking. I kind of wish he had it now. It is very visual, without being all 90s…

Ron Frenz is AWESOME.

Dean, I don’t see what the problem with his origin is. In the original series, it was explained that in his future, people could only travel through time once using a certain method. So it would be difficult to send a team to the past to capture Booster, since they couldn’t use the same device to return home. So hiding in the past made sense.

Ron Frenz is MEDIOCRE.

Even though it’s rather stilly, I like the costume with the Elvis style upturned collar.

Ron Frenz may be the worst artist to ever do a Superman title. I absolutely hated it when he was part of the Super team.

In the second set of panels which refer to the Millennium, what is that black squiggle between Booster’s legs on panel 3?

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