B∞ster Gold: Blue and Gold

In the spirit of completion, the finale of Geoff Johns’ run on Booster Gold.

After saving Ted Kord from being killed by Maxwell Lord, Booster and the Beetles travel into the time stream. Once they return to their own time, they notice the OMACs roaming the skies. With Lord’s plan to control Earth succeeding, the Blue and Gold must reunite with some unlikely allies.

Johns’ goes out with a bang on this series. An alternate universe story can sometimes be an issue, like in Flashpoint where it was hard to care for these alternate characters. In this series it is subverted by having the location be the a timeline and not another universe so time travelling characters appear by the end to create drama. The original resistance team is an alright group of obscure characters like Mad Dog, Pantha, and Anthro. The world travelling scenes in the middle of the book are my favorite parts and harken back to the JLI era.

If I had one con it would be the predictability of the ending. This alternate timeline is too destroyed to be inhabitable, so they had to restore the timeline in the exact way you would expect. This is made up for by Booster Gold #1,000,000 a call back to the DC One Million event. It wraps up the story nicely with good character moments for Batman, Booster, and Rip Hunter. The art is also a plus, I’m always a fan of Dan Jurgens’ art.

Writer: Geoff Johns

Artist: Dan Jurgens

Rating: Vintage

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July Comics Ranking

Didn’t do this last month as I didn’t review enough comics to warrant it. With the history lesson out of the way, let’s get to the rankings.

7-6

#7: Martian Manhunter, 2006

Pros: Picks up near the end, unintentional comedy

Cons: Constant typos, multiple illogical moments, J’onn is out of character and overpowered

#6: Dark Avengers Vol 1 – Assemble

Pros: Some good jokes, great art

Cons: Sentry ruins fight scenes, Sentry takes up too much time, other characters have no personality or purpose

5-4

#5: Rann-Thanagar: Holy War

Pros: Varied and interesting cast, some good world building and space locales

Cons: Too preachy, The Weird settles most problems, Animal Man is treated like a joke

#4: Showcase Presents: Blue Beetle

Pros: Good art even in black and white, handles multiple subplots well, great mix of comedy, action, and drama

Cons: Stilted 80’s dialogue

3-2

#3: Carnage: Family Feud

Pros: Beautiful art, many good villains, horror elements integrate well with the humor and action

Cons: Requires a little backstory to get into

#2: Ant-Man and Wasp: Small World

Pros: Bright and colorful art, the characters bounce off of each other well, good jokes

Cons: An interesting character is dropped for the sake of a joke

And now the winner…………..

1

#1: Carnage, USA

Pros: Comic book cheesiness done right, a well done and poignant ending, The Thing beats up a giraffe

Cons: Hawkeye is in it and he complains for a bit

This was a pretty good month for comics and I hope next month is even better. Thanks to everyone that reads these reviews.

Showcase Presents: Blue Beetle

As a huge Ted Kord fan I was excited once I heard about Showcase. At the cost of losing the colors and the book being a bit big (almost 600 pages long) you get the entire 24 issue, 1986-1988 series and a secret origins issue. The series takes place in Ted’s home town of Chicago where he fights crime under the guise of the Blue Beetle. He fights against such villains as a guy who hate firefighters, a living drug dispenser, an alchemist, and a couple guys in colorful jumpsuits. Along the way he teams up with The Question, Mr. Miracle, and the Teen Titans.

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Ted is like DC’s version of Spider-Man, he has quick wit and a bug costume, but he doesn’t have the superpowers. He relies mostly on his BB Gun, which is loaded with pressurized air and a strobe light. He also has his trusty Bug, which has multiple functions which are added throughout the series. The great part about the series is the amount of subplots that they build up. Ted’s girlfriend, Melody, starts to have problems when Ted is never around, his assistant is stealing from him behind his back to support her uncle who turns out to be Chronos, a man named Carapax is searching the island where Dan Garrett died to find a weapon, and a detective is trying to figure out who the Blue Beetle is. Most subplots are brought up for about eight issues until they become the focus of the next three issues. My favorite part is from issues 11-13 where Ted teams up with the Teen Titans to fight the Hybrid, an X-Men parody.

While the writing is pretty good in general, it does have an eighties problem where everything is explained too heavily. The eighties references are also confusing to me in this day. The action scenes are pretty well drawn, because Ted is a very gymnastic fighter. There’s also a couple of tie-in issues to two DC events, Legends and Millennium which have a much darker tone than the rest of the series. The ending is very good, with the best use of a movie reference I’ve seen in a long time.

Rating: Full Price

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Convergence: Justice League International #2

Now for the next issue, the Justice League International finale. They should have renamed this one to “Convergence; Blue Beetle” because he’s the only one to get any focus. That was my main problem with last issue, and they upped that this time.

Last time the Kingdom Come heroes arrived and prepared to fight. Now it’s a fight between the underdogs and the combat hardened heroes. I wish I could say that but there is no fight in this issue. The two teams charge at each other, then we cut to Ted and the Kingdom Come Blue Beetle meeting up. Neither want to fight, so they run off to find Telos. This is a great sequence, where both Beetles try to make jokes but the other already knows the punchline. They fail to find Telos and return to the battleground, where the JLI have all been defeated. Yeah, they are all defeated off panel which makes the scene where they get their powers back useless. Also the solicit mentioned how we might never see Martian Manhunter or Ted again but I don’t think Martian Manhunter even speaks in this issue. I only give points to this issue for it’s ending, but even that feels like pandering by Ron Marz. I’d skip over these two, which is sad because the cover art is some of the best of the event.

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April Comics Ranking

Time for part two of April’s comic rankings.

#10-9

#10- “Convergence: Justice League of America #1”

Pros:  Nice to see Ralph and Sue together again, best villain introduction of the event

Cons: Spends too long introducing characters, basically nothing happens until the end, muddy art

#9. “Green Lantern 23.4”

Pros: Great origin story, Sinestro is still a great villain

Cons: Hard to read with the layout, doesn’t explain why Sinestro has so much will

#8-7

#8. “Convergence: Aquaman #1”

Pros: When he arrives Deathblow is cool, Aquaman has the respect he deserves

Cons: Stilted art, spends too long introducing the villain

#7. “Convergence: Justice League International #1”

Pros: Good fight scene, Ted is a funny guy, nice setup for the next issue

Cons: Doesn’t focus on the other members much

#6-5.1

#6. “Convergence: Shazam #1”

Pros: Replicates Golden Age art, the battle against the Monster Society is really good

Cons: The dome doesn’t come down

#5. “Convergence: Batman and the Outsiders #1”

Pros: Gives equal focus to the team, colorful and bright art, very emotional scenes

Cons: I have a hard time buying that Batman can’t bring down the dome in a year

#4-3.1

#4. “Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax #1”

Pros: Bright art, delivers exposition very well, the fight kicks off quickly

Cons: Princess Fern is such a ridiculous villain even Parallax makes fun of the idea

#3. “Convergence: Green Lantern Corps #1”

Pros: Goes deep into Guy’s psyche, unique art style, great to see John and Guy interact

Cons: Ending scene doesn’t make much sense

2.2

#2. “Convergence: Booster Gold #1”

Pros: Very quick moving story, explains a lot about the event, they recognize all the things Booster has done for the DCU

Cons: There’s a lot of dialogue, but it is well written

And the winner is…

Winner

#1. “Convergence: Blue Beetle #1”

Pros: Focuses equally on the three heroes, funny jokes throughout, first glimpse of Telos, explores more about the dome

Cons: The other city isn’t shown

And that’s the end for April. Hopefully the second issue of these are better or just as great in some cases.

Convergence: Blue Beetle #1

And now for the final week of Convergence for this month. This week’s theme is Pre-Crisis Multiverse. We begin with Blue Beetle, which takes place on Earth 4. Brought to us by writer Scott Lobdell (Something which almost made me not get this one) and artist Yishan Li.

Despite the title, Blue Beetle shares equal page time with the Question and Captain Atom. Atom is combating an army of Madmen while the Question challenges his use of military force. Ted comes in as he prepares to blast the dome open.

Final Thoughts: I kept the description short, because this is the one I want to spoil the least amount of. A lot happens in this issue including the first time that I’ve seen Telos’s physical body. The actually enemy of the city doesn’t appear but battles still take place in Hub City. A villain named Dr. Spectro even makes a joke that sounds like it was about the Batgirl #40 variant cover with the Joker. Speaking of jokes this issue is very funny which is to be expected of Blue Beetle. I highly recommend this as it doesn’t follow the formula and is enjoyable. The art is also very good.

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#2. Blue Beetle

We’re almost finished with a character who’s life was sadly finished, Ted Kord.

Origin: Ted Kord was the apprentice of Dan Garrett, the original Blue Beetle. Dan was killed by Ted’s uncle Jarvis, so Ted took it upon himself to carry on his legacy. He however, couldn’t access the same magic scarab that Dan did, and had to use his brain and gadgets to fight crime. He fought crime in his home city of Chicago, where his own company Kord Industries was based.

Life: Ted is most well known for joining the Justice League International, where he met his best friend Booster Gold. They were known as the “Blue and Gold” and were the funny guys of the team. After he left the team he fell into obscurity, being in comics like LAW and Extreme Justice. He made some cameos in the Birds of Prey series where he and Barbara Gordon had crushes on each other. Then Countdown to Infinite Crisis happened. After discovering Maxwell Lord’s plan to take over the world, Ted is shot in the head and killed. His death shocked the world, mostly Booster Gold who couldn’t even speak at his funeral.

Why he’s on the list: If you’ve noticed a trend here it is that I enjoy the lighter side to comics. People like Ted are the reason why. His genius level intellect and quips make him the perfect answer to Marvel’s Spider-Man. Even after his death, Ted still makes appearances in Booster Gold. Carrying on his legacy is Jaime Reyes, who actually can use the Blue Beetle scarab. His crowning moments are the “One punch” meme and stealing Martian Manhunter’s Oreos.

Recommended Reading: Blue Beetle (Vol. 2), Justice League International, Countdown to Infinite Crisis.

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