Warning: This review contains spoilers.
Of all the one-shots released in DC’s Futures End event month, the one focused Michael Jon Carter’s time-travelling alter ego is perhaps the one with the most built in anticipation. Aside from his brief, albeit memorable appearances inAll Star Western, everyone’s famous glory hound has been largely absent from the New 52 since the cancellation ofJustice League International. With Futures End in full swing and the “Darkseid War” looming, Dan Jurgens is joined by several artists to navigate Booster’s adventures through not only time, but the multiverse itself.
Booster’s adventure begins not in the dystopian future of the main Futures End event, but in place nearly as bad: Gotham City. Specifically, Gotham City in the 1800s. At first look, there is nothing special about this. The Gotham of this era was heavily featured for much of All Star Western. It was glimpsed at in the Batman arc, “Court of Owls.” Booster is attacked by a some of the city’s more unsavory citizens, who crack wise at his “funny looking” garb. But as Booster flies away to deal with more pressing matters, an unexpected figure swoops in to deal with the criminal element: Batman. If this is Batman in 19th Century Gotham, then this is not the New 52 universe, but that of the 1989 story Batman: Gotham by Gaslight.
That opening is just one of the many stops in the multiverse featured in Booster Gold Futures End #1. Jurgens and his art team’s story is one that not only serves as a love letter to the publisher’s rich and grand history, but also raises multiple questions about the current state of the DC Universe. The decision to use a different art team for the various segments works extremely well. Moritat’s gritty style that was a staple of All Star Western is a perfect fit for the Gotham by Gaslight segment. Each subsequent artist, be it Will Conrad or Brett Booth, gives their respective world a distinct feel, while Jurgens’ art anchors the segments in the “real world.” When other books use multiple artists, the issue is disjointed due to the often linear and static nature of the story. By crafting a dimension-hopping narrative, the use of multiple artists instead adds to the experience, creating more engaging read.
If there is a flaw worth noting, it is the script’s insistence on having Booster talk throughout the entire issue. Normally, Booster talking isn’t a bad thing as his personality lends itself to comical and entertaining dialogue. Unfortunately, he isn’t saying anything funny. Instead, Jurgens has him spouting off exposition that would work as internal dialogue. As a result, the issue feels dated – really dated. If this issue was released fifteen years ago, it would still feel dated then. It’s a shame that these antiquated storytelling methods have found their way into this otherwise exciting issue.
Booster Gold: Futures End #1 contains big concepts that may shake the foundation of the current DC Universe. This issue is clearly intended play a pivotal role in DC’s grand plans, but the script causes it to feel dated in a manner that many readers may have difficulty looking past. Those that can look past it are rewarded with a book that explores concepts and worlds long thought to be lost in the wake of Flashpoint. The continuity of the DC Universe just became a much muddier… and a lot more interesting.
Note: This review was originally published at InfiniteComix.com