Review by Win Wiacek
As a frontrunner of the new DC in the mid-1980s, Booster Gold was a radical experiment in character that didn’t always succeed, but which definitely and exponentially improved as the months rolled by. These adventures continue from The Big Fall, and present the remainder of his 1980s output under the guiding hand of his creator Dan Jurgens.
We’ve learned Michael Jon Carter is a refugee from 25th century justice, having travelled back through time after stealing the equipment that enables his superhero personality in the 1980s. This collection opens with Booster at death’s door, not because of his numerous injuries but because his 25th century body had succumbed to 20th century diseases. Set during the Legends publishing event, which saw the public turn violently against costumed heroes, the dying Carter is rescued from a mob, after which the cast resolve to take Michael back to the future where he can be properly treated, even though Booster’s offences carried a mandatory death penalty in his home era.
This close call has a salutary effect on Booster’s attitudes and character, and ‘Fresh Start’ sees a kinder, gentler corporate entrepreneur begin to re-establish his heroic credentials with the celebrity-crazed public of Metropolis. He succeeds to the extent that Maxwell Lord offers him membership in the newly re-formed Justice League, just as sultry assassin Cheshire began raiding a biotech company recently acquired by Booster Gold International.
As both writer and artist, the latter best served by Ty Templeton’s inking, Jurgens produces a consistently pleasing selection of fast-paced, fun adventures, with variety of approach key. Booster appears around the world, meets aliens, goes blind, heads back to the future and has the Justice League drop by.
The final chapters of Booster’s 1980s outings are intimately entwined with the Millennium crossover, so the inclusion of Booster’s participation in Millennium supplied by Steve Englehart and Joe Staton is welcome. Also included is a terse, brutal confrontation with Superman produced by John Byrne, while the final story content is Jurgens reprising the early tragic days of Michael Jon Carter in a brief and exceedingly impressive tale played as much to tug the heartstrings as tickle the funny-bone.
A few encyclopedia pages of Booster Gold, his enemies and his supporting cast round off a sparkling selection. By the time the volume ends it’s a real shame that the now thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable ride is over. The content can also be found in black and white as Showcase Presents Booster Gold, but be warned the art isn’t always as well defined as might be desirable.