One of the things I got the chance to do whilst not blogging was to take a look at the latest episode of Smallville. As normal, there were things I liked and things I disliked, and as normal, the big money-shot moments just seemed to come across as a bit flat. I really dislike this new version of Cat Grant. The super-bubbly-perky character, the relentless parroting of 'Godfrey' (if she's such a hotshot young reporter, shouldn't she have her own opinions?), the forced pairing with Clark. I would be happier if they wrote the character as a normal person with the views that she has, and let the performance lead the irritating side of the character. I also found the 'lifestyle' comments regarding vigilantes to be incredibly heavy-handed. It's been covered elsewhere in more detail, but I also need to point out that Deadshot and Jonah Hex are two different characters, and nothing is gained by combining the two. And the revelation of the new costume for Clark was spoiled by some really bad CGI, especially on the flags waving limply in the background.
What I absolutely loved about the episode was the Carter Hall/Lois Lane subplot. Michael Shanks was great in Absolute Justice, but playing the identity rather than the hero really gave him the chance to shine. I loved his annoyance at Lois in the first scene, but what really sold me was the closing scene where he wonderfully conveyed centuries of love and loss. Erica Durance as Lois Lane has come on by leaps and bounds since I last really saw her in the role, back when she was first introduced. For probably the first time since the early days of Lois and Clark (or The New Adventures of Superman, if you're British), I was watching the Lois Lane that I have read for years in the comics. I wasn't expecting to be this impressed by her, but she is something I will enjoy watching in future episodes.
I also read the recent JLA/JSA crossover, but if you want to know about that, check out this episode of The LanternCast. The poor guys did the episode once, then lost the episode before it could be released, so they had to do it all over again. And the only way one of them could cope was... well... let's just say he wouldn't have been driving that day!*
To Cross The Rubicon
Creator/Writer/Artist: Dan Jurgens
Inker: Mike DeCarlo
Letterer: Augustin Más
Colorist: Nansi Hoolihan
Editor: Al Gold
Cover Art: Dan Jurgens and Mike DeCarlo
Cover Date: July 1986
Release Date: 14/04/1986
Jason Redfern (Fern), a teenage boy, discovers a miniature spaceship in Centennial Park, long with a miniature alien. The alien’s language cannot be understood, so Fern calls him ‘Zee’. When Zee pushes him out of the way of the exploding space-ship, Fern is convinced of his good intentions, and takes him home. At home, Zee projects an image of Superman’s ‘S’ shield, which Fern interprets as Zee’s desire to locate Superman. Catching an advert featuring Booster Gold on the television, Fern realises how to get hold of Superman. He travels to Reilleau Towers, where he is able to see Booster and tell him his story. Booster then publicly calls Superman out through the media to meet him the next day.
The next day, the media is buzzing with Booster’s decree. Clark Kent hears about it at the Daily Planet, and sneaks away to become Superman. Booster Gold arrives at the rendezvous point, having stopped off at STAR Labs to grab a life-support suit for Fern. Although Skeets is sceptical about whether Superman will show, the Man of Steel arrives. Superman is disdainful of Booster, his publicity seeking ways, and the fact that his powers are artificial. Disappointed in the reactions of his hero, Booster walks away. Skeets speaks to Superman, and reveals the secret origin of Booster Gold.
Michael Carter was a prodigious football player, the biggest name in college football in the 25th century. As he was on the verge of being signed up professionally, he was caught betting on his own games, and expelled from college. With no further hope as an athlete, and needing to make a living, he took a security job at the space museum, as well as enrolling as a student of 20th century super-heroes. Whilst participating in the studies and his duties at the museum, Michael formulated a plan, cemented when he discovered Rip Hunter's time machine in the museum. Disabling the security robot Skeets, Michael steals various exhibits to create a power suit, then travels back to the twentieth century in the time machine, taking Skeets along with him.
Superman is shocked to hear this, and accuses Booster of theft, and using the stolen equipment to make himself rich. As the two argue, Zee starts speaking. Superman recognises snatches of the language, and is able to discover that a warship is chasing Zee. Suddenly, an energy burst renders Superman, Booster and Fern unconscious. Another miniature alien appears, abducting the heroes, Fern, Zee and Skeets onto his ship, which departs for space.
pre-dates The Man Of Steel #1 by three months, meaning that we have here the very first appearance of the post-Crisis Superman. Booster does it again! This also means that Dan Jurgens debuted his art for Superman before John Byrne, and it's great art. His first panel, featuring Clark changing to Superman in an interpretation of an iconic pose, is wonderful to look at, and as fans of this era know, Jurgens' Superman art is a real keystone of the next fifteen or so years of the character.
This is a great Superman issue, and fits neatly into the timeline between The Man Of Steel #5 and #6. Superman here is confident in his position in the world, having already met and worked with one wave of heroes. Now, with the appearance of Booster Gold several years into his own career, Superman is starting to encounter the next wave of heroes, people whose motivations lie in places other than benevolence. His outrage at Booster's self-centered money-making activities, all of which stem from theft, is entirely justified, and comes from a place of confidence in not only himself but his position in relation to other heroes. The first panel in which Superman appears, a one-page splash where he stands above Booster, looking down with an expression of derision, neatly sets up how he feels, and completely wrong-foots Booster, for who Superman is a personal hero.
Of the two parts of this story, I feel that this is the stronger of the two. We get the first revelation of Booster's origin, devoid of the later embellishments and cliches that Booster would add, and the force of Superman's anger towards Booster has a powerful effect on the reader.
The Geeky Bits: Booster Gold is pretty much the first post-Crisis superhero, despite his first issue being released before the Crisis had finished publication. He has been a mainstay of the DCU, thanks to his high-profile membership of various incarnations of the Justice Leagues from the JLI onwards. He was also the first solo creation of Dan Jurgens for DC, but as before, I'm going to hold off on a full bio of Dan for a bit longer.
The title refers to the Rubicon river, which was crossed by Julius Caesar in 49BC, initiating a civil war. In general, the phrase 'To cross the Rubicon' refers to the point of no return, in this case the moment where Booster travelled in time to the twentieth century.
Next on World of
Superman Booster Gold: The second half of this tale where Booster smacks down with Superman. Unless you've seen the cover, in which case you'll see that it's more a case of Superman smacking Booster down. Ouch.
*worldofsuperman.blogspot.com does not condone excessive alcohol consumption for the production of podcasts, blog posts, tweets, or any other type of new media (unless it's Lit Beer: My beer).