Booster Gold #39 - 'Letting Go!' - Giffen, DeMatteis, Batista and Perrotta
Story - This was a strange issue of Booster Gold. For one, it contained absolutely no time-travel whatsoever. That seems impossible to me, a Booster Gold comic without time-travel? That's like a Batman comic without dark alleyways, a Hulk comic without smashing, or an X-Men comic without overwrought metaphors!
Yet somehow, Booster staying in the present worked out very well, allowing Giffen and DeMatteis to showcase what they do best, witty conversational banter, but banter with heart. And man, as a big fan of the Ted Kord Blue Beetle, this issue kind of got to me.
Giffen and DeMatteis' return to a character they so memorably worked on back in the day has been a lot of fun so far, tangentially related to the excellent Justice League: Generation Lost, it's featured Booster Gold travelling through time to try and find proof that Maxwell Lord exists, and the many diversions he's gone through, leading to goofy-yet-endearing team-ups between Booster, Ted Kord, Mister Miracle, Big Barda, General Glory and more, and all sorts of shenanigans. It's been a light-hearted side-story to the rather more serious Generation Lost.
But that all stops here, because while Booster may be able to go back in time and hang out with all those heroes, it doesn't change the fact that all of them, and crucially Ted Kord are dead as hell. This issue deals with Booster himself having to deal with that fact, and it's pretty strong stuff, I know some readers may find it trite, but screw them, I have a bias here and I admit it, I love the old JLI characters, Booster and Beetle in particular, and any issue that deals with them is a plus in my eyes. That's the real strength of Giffen and DeMatteis as a writing team, it's not just constant bwahahahas, they built a Justice League that was full of real people, a Justice League readers actually cared about, and this issue, as well as Generation Lost is a testament to that fact.
That's not to say this issue isn't funny enough, the DeMatteis patter is at it's best here, the back and forth between Booster and Skeets is wonderful, when he gets into full-flow, there aren't many better in comics at this kind of dialogue, maybe not even Bendis! I also liked the rationale behind the new 'Booster' character, topical! Plus, the huge amount of dialogue makes the silent sequences even more important, when DeMatteis goes quiet, you know something's up.
So yeah, I liked this issue a lot. I admit it's personal bias for these old characters and writers, but doesn't everyone have those? I imagine if you're not a pre-existing Booster fan this issue will do little to persuade you, and even if it did, you're likely to be disappointed as it's a very atypical Booster Gold story, but for me, and for legions of other JLI fans, this was just what we needed. This issue was a great trip into the past, and also holds great promise for the future. Perhaps we did travel through time after all?
Art - Chris Batista, is probably the 3rd most important Booster Gold artist, after Dan Jurgens and Kevin Maguire. Batista drew most of the character's stuff in 52, which was the start of his return to greatness, and he's just a great fit, he gets the facial, character conversational stuff, but also the superhero adventure stuff. It's not mindblowing, but hey, do you need it to be?
Best Line - The best line in this issue wasn't a line at all, it was a silent cry of emotion. Which is odd for a Giffen/DeMatteis joint I know, but then again, with them, the best line is never a line, and you'd end up quoting an entire issue, so the Booster Gold cry of anguish it is then.