Booster Gold #46
Written by Dan Jurgens
Art by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund
Booster vs Doomsday. Who thought we’d get to see that matchup again for the very first time? I mean, sure, Booster has fought the Armageddon Beast in the past, even going as far as to be the one to name him Doomsday, but this is his first attempt at doing it one on one. It’s almost fortunate that Doomsday in this world doesn’t have his bearings, because it means Booster gets to take free shots for a few pages! But alas, Doomsday can never remain dormant for too long or else the issue would be quite boring. So instead we’re treated to a big fight book the likes of which takes me back to the Death of Superman.
Booster has no chance against Doomsday. I’m saying this right here, I’m saying this right now, under no circumstances barring using time travel to dump him in some lost remote location of time and space should Booster ever even really stand a chance. Now, under some writers I could see this resulting in Booster getting broken like Ted Kord once Doomsday laid hands on him, or, under other writers, I could see Booster squeaking out a win that shouldn’t happen. Now, I’m not saying as a spoiler and waving a flag at you saying how it ends, I’m just pointing out that Dan Jurgens created both of these characters, and better than anybody he understands exactly what they’re capable of. So who better to put together this sequence? Who better to do both characters justice?
Nathaniel Adam retains his spot as the recurring villain for this arc, using a helmet to take control over the beast he calls Project Six. Adam, without the events that created the Captain Atom we all know and tolerate, is an older general with a mad on for Atlantis. He has a zealotry about him that makes him a somewhat generic villain, but the fact that Captain Atom is someone Booster calls his friend and in this universe he’s leading the “kill Booster” charge adds an entirely new layer to the character. Anyway, his dedication to killing the perceived Atlantean goes a long way to showing just how much fear the United States has of Aquaman’s people in the wake of the sinking of Europe. Now, honestly, during a scene where he’s talking to Booster directly through the helmet, without Doomsday, while Doomsday is off being Doomsday, I would have expected him to maybe rethink what he assumed to know. No dice. Then there’s the slight twist involving him at the end of the issue that makes next months finale look that much more interesting.
Doomsday regains his sentience early in the issue and Jurgens does a great job channeling some of the same energy that made him into such a great monster back during the Death of Superman. In fact, there are some very obvious parallels, not the least of which is that Doomsday still seems to have hunting down and slaughtering Superman burned into his DNA. This is what led him to Metropolis in the Death, and it leads him there again this time, complete with him grunting out “Muh-Trop-Lisss” after wiping out a bus filled with people. When he’s in control of himself he’s classic Doomsday, and I mean original Doomsday, not the big name jobber he turned into. Even with Jurgens clarifying repeatedly that Doomsday isn’t at full power, he’s still an engine of destruction, and anything less would be insulting.
There’s also more detail put into the character of Alexandra Gianopoulous, the Greek woman that Booster had to abduct/save last issue after being knocked into, and followed into her home by Project Six. We were shown last issue that she had metahuman powers, but the exact nature of which wasn’t gone into detail. This issue we find out that she can do whatever someone she touches does, like Rogue to a degree (the person she borrows from doesn’t seem to lose any of their power), but she cites a non-powered example as the debut of her abilities. Having her in the book is interesting, not just in that Jurgens is developing a character in an alternate reality set to wrap up next month, but also in the dual facts that there’s a mysterious black haired woman that was removed from the JLI cover in September (that most people believed to be Donna Troy), and as with any female character to enter Booster’s life the cloud of “does she marry Booster” floats over her head. As readers of the series know, Booster is actually Rip Hunter’s father (Rip knows, Booster doesn’t, future Booster does), and while Rip’s mother, Booster’s wife, has appeared, we’ve never seen her face or been told her name. If Alexandra were to cross back into the DC Universe after Flashpoint and retain memories of the event, then I could see her becoming a favorite for the spot.
As for the art? Dan Jurgens is the master in my eyes, and there are few writers who can pace out an issue visually quite in the way he does. He breaks the Booster/Doomsday fight down across the issue and despite familiar moments from previous Doomsday fights, it still feels different. Maybe it’s the fact that Booster might look like a big guy, but he’s not Superman. Or maybe it’s the visceral fury that he gives to Doomsday’s appearance. The destruction looks great, and the magnitude of the fight is captured perfectly. Jurgens has a style that I like to dub ‘iconic’, and it’s something few do better. The art alone makes the issue feel important, his veteran pencils complete an already impressive package.
It’s bittersweet to think about the fact that next issue is the last issue in the series, but Booster has had a much longer solo run than I think anyone expected. His Flashpoint arc, the only actual series tieing in with the event, hasn’t been about providing answers for how and why things happened, instead Booster has just found himself in another corner of the Flashpoint universe to grant added story potential. As much as I’d like to see Booster find and fix the time issues, this is really a more interesting story. I mean, I’m much happier with the truth behind Flashpoint being revealed in Flashpoint, and I doubt too many others would complain as it leaves an important question of the event answered in a book that many will (unfortunately) not read. Though I’d honestly put this book as more must read than ninety percent of Flashpoint, this is pure goodness.
Tags: Booster Gold, Dan Jurgens, Doomsday, Flashpoint (DC Comics), Reviews