So Sayeth the Odinson: A Look at Comics History: Part 3 of 10 – Superman and Booster Gold

Greetings from the Odinson,

A Look at Comics History: Part 3 of 10 – Superman and Booster Gold

Not every team-up goes over as smoothly as peanut butter and chocolate.

The Odinson is taking a look back at Comics History.  More specifically, I will be looking at interactions and relationships between characters that do not necessarily have much in common but when they do interact, it’s always noteworthy. 

I’ve written down the names of ten different odd couples on Post-its, threw them in my winged helmet, and each week I will pull one at random. 

This week, DC Comics’ Last Son of Krypton and their least competent Time Master.  

Superman is the greatest super hero of them all, a paragon of truth and justice.  Booster Gold is a time-traveler from the future that plans to use his future tech and knowledge of things to come to become the world’s greatest super hero.  The only thing stopping him from achieving that goal is himself. 

One is the bar by which all others are measured, and the other is the ultimate case of untapped potential.  Together, they have one of the oddest rivalries in comics history, especially since one of them, Superman, doesn’t even know they are in a rivalry. 

Action Packed Encounters – In Booster Gold #1, right out of the gate, wanting to establish himself as the world’s greatest super hero, Booster takes up residences in the world’s greatest city, Metropolis, home of Superman.  It does not take long before their paths cross. 

In Booster Gold #6-7, using the local news, Booster lures the Man of Steel to a meeting with the knowledge of a coming threat from beyond space.  It doesn’t take Superman long to size up the new guy, especially since Skeets, Booster’s robotic sidekick, willingly spills the beans on their origins.  Superman is the best, and Booster wants his spot.  However, as this caper puts on full display, Booster is a neophyte hero and makes mistakes.  Superman teaches Booster that he still has a long way to go and a lot to learn before he can challenge the Man of Steel for the championship belt. 

In their next close encounter, which plays out in the pages of Action Comics #594 and Booster Gold #23, even though they did not part as friends after their first meeting, it is still a little odd that Booster would suddenly call out the Man of Steel as an enemy against mankind.  It’s even more concerning that he would kidnap a woman in order to lure Superman into a battle with him.  Things get even stranger when a second Booster Gold arrives on the scene. 

Even though things work out in the end, it is safe to say the relationship between Superman and Booster Gold has gotten off to a rocky start.   

A League of Legends? – In the Post-Crisis DCU, for years Booster Served as a perennial member of Justice League International, a premiere super team comprised of mostly B-List super heroes.  Though the roster would sometimes include top drawer talent like Batman, Martian Manhunter, and Captain Atom, more often than not, the antics of Booster Gold and Blue Beetle would keep this team from ever really being taken seriously.  That all changed in Justice League America #61 when Superman joined the team and gave this Post-Crisis League some real legitimacy.    

For the next eight issues, the Man of Steel along with Booster Gold and the rest of the team would embark on some truly stellar adventures and campaigns as they faced off against the Weapons Master, Starbreaker the Cosmic Conqueror, and the Thing that Owned the Earth!   However, it’s what happens next that will probably make the Man of Steel wish he had his original Super Friends at his side and not a handful of misfit heroes. 

The Doomsday Fail – The hulking monster simply known as Doomsday arrives and tears through this B-List Justice League like a runaway Mac Truck.  This leaves Superman as the last man standing and the only thing standing in Doomsday way.  And though he was one of the last to fall, perhaps if Booster had been half the hero he likes to think he is, the world would not have had to witness the Death of Superman?   

Gold Standard Crossovers – By time we get to Superman #124, since the coming of Doomsday, both Booster Gold and Superman have undergone some startling changes.  Superman has been transformed into a being of pure energy (see Superman #123), and Booster has become a total 90s cliché, complete with over the top elaborate armor and extreme attitude (see Extreme Justice).  But in these pages, Superman and Booster actually come to an understanding and the Man of Steel (err, Man of Blue), actually starts to see the true potential in Booster Gold 

This potential really starts to shine in the second series starring Booster Gold.  While under the tutelage of Rip Hunter, Booster becomes a stalwart steward of time and a true heroic force to be reckoned with in the past, present, and future.  He is even instrumental in stopping Starro the Conqueror from taking over the planet when all others, even Superman, had failed.   

In Time Masters: Vanishing Point, Booster’s credibility as a true hero grows even more as he is among a select group of handpicked heroes, including Superman and Green Lantern, which are tasked with traveling the time stream in search of the missing Caped Crusader.  NOTE: At this point, Batman has been lost in time after the events of Final Crisis.    

Time Traveling Mishaps – As a time-traveler and a bona fide foul-up, Booster Gold has had his share of time-traveling mishaps, and a few of them involved the Man of Steel.  In Adventures of Superman #476, Booster and Superman attempt to stop a troublemaker from the future and for his trouble, the Last Son of Krypton gets hurled through time and space.  His time-traveling adventures are chronicled in the pages of Time and Time Again.    

In Blue and Gold, Booster sets out to save his friend, Blue Beetle, from being murdered (as seen in Countdown to Crisis).  However, their time-traveling escapades lead to some very unsettling mishaps like a world where all are under the thrall of Maxwell Lord, even Superman

Booster Gold made his live action debut in the final season of the long running Superman biopic TV series Smallville, but it was in the pages of the comic book follow up Smallville: Season 11, and the time-traveling tale Argo, where Booster’s particular brand of foul-up would get the Man of Steel into trouble. 

With Friends like These… – The history and current status of the friendship between Superman and Booster Gold comes full circle in the tale, Booster Shot.  Seeking answers that can only be found in the past, Superman taps his time-traveling friend, and embarks on a trip to the past.  Of course, their time-traveling meddling creates a paradox and a future where General Zod’s word is law. 

This time around, it’s Booster, the veteran time-traveler, having to teach the Man of Tomorrow a lesson about tampering with the threads of time.     

Throughout the years, Booster has come across as that annoying sibling that means well, but just cannot stay out of his own way long enough to do get the job done, and poor Superman has to take on the role of the disappointed big brother.  I believe the Man of Steel sees potential in Booster Gold becoming a legendary hero in his own right.  Now, if only he could get Booster to see it.

Fun Fact: Booster Gold was created by the great Dan Jurgens, a writer/artist who is primarily known for his work on Superman.

Be sure to tune in next week as the Odinson picks another pair of random names from my winged helmet and explores their shared Comic Book History. 

This is Odinson bidding thee farewell     

NOTE: Be sure to check out my new book – Autumn Dawn: A Glen Haven Tale.  Available in Paperback, on Kindle, and Audiobook.

About Odinson

I am a lifelong comics fan and pop culture enthusiast. Comic books, novels, games, television, movies, I love it all. From fantasy to science fiction, drama to comedy, as long as the writing and execution are interesting, I love it, and I want to talk about it.

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