It's been a long time since DC fans have seen Booster Gold's smiling face, but there are a lot of signs pointing toward this spring as the timing for the hero's return.
The last time we saw the time-traveling Booster Gold was when he was seemingly erased from existence in 2012's Justice League International Annual #1.
At the end of that issue, Booster Gold was visited by an older version of himself, who had time-traveled from the future (wearing, notably, an A.R.G.U.S. patch). He warned the younger, then-current version of Booster that the relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman would have dire consequences.
But seconds later, as Wonder Woman and Superman kissed for the first time, young Booster and old Booster faded from existence — implying their future had somehow been erased by the superhero romance.
DC readers haven't seen the hero since that disappearance — except a brief, guest appearance in All-Star Western (set in the past of the DCU). It's not clear if that Booster had just come from present day, because he'd lost most of his powers and had no memory of what just happened (and even that Booster was lost to the time stream at the end of the story).
Of course, changing futures, erased timelines and trips to the past are old hat for Booster Gold, whose most recent solo series had him traveling through time with adventure hero Rip Hunter to "fix" time anomalies. So readers have been anticipating Booster's time-traveling return to the DCU… any…time…now
When Booster disappeared in the JLI Annual, the issue ended with a promise that the story would be "continued" in Justice League — a tease that could apply to any of the Justice League teams (or League-associated series) coming up in the next year.
Plus, as we pointed out at the time, the issue's content was given a lot of weight because it was co-written by the unusual and high-profile pairing of DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio and DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns.
When Booster returns, therefore, we're expecting some fireworks.
As Newsarama has theorized before, The New 52: Futures End weekly seems the obvious place for a time-traveler to show up — not just because it has the word "future" in its title, but more importantly, because the word is plural.
After all, the possibility of different futures is what Booster is all about.
But there are other reasons to expect Booster in Futures End. First is the fact that Booster's creator, Dan Jurgens, is one of the creators behind the series — and so is Keith Giffen, one of the character's other frequent writers (especially when he was in the Justice League series by Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis).
There's also the art that DC has released for Futures End — all of which is obviously tied to the villainous DC entity known as Brother Eye. The sentient satellite was also teased in 2012's Booster-centric JLI Annual. The issue, which must have been filled with clues for Futures End, featured Brother Eye saying "Eye am the Future," and an unseen villain saying, "No, Brother Eye. I am."
So the seeds for a story about Brother Eye were planted years ago, and they were sewn in the same field as the one about Booster's return.
Blue and Gold Return?
There's another reason that this spring — after the conclusion of Forever Evil and around the start of Futures End — is the perfect timing for Booster to come back: The introduction of Ted Kord, one of the fan-favorite characters who wore the superhero mantle of Blue Beetle.
After a passing reference to a company called "Kord Omniversal" at the start of Forever Evil, Geoff Johns finally announced here on Newsarama earlier this month that the end of Forever Evil in April would bring the first New 52 appearance of Ted Kord. And he'll play a role in Justice League post-Forever Evil.
So why does the promise of one character's introduction lead to thoughts of another?
Fans of Booster Gold call it "the Blue and the Gold" — the magical, oft-pairing of Booster and his former Justice League International teammate, Ted Kord. The two characters have a friendship that inspires loving laughter from their die-hard fans, and we guarantee that a reunion between the two characters would inspire fist-pumping — and sobbing — among DC fans worldwide.
Of course, there's already a Blue Beetle in the DCU — a new, popular, teen version named Jaime Reyes — but he could make his comeback soon as well. The character, who's been hailed as a successful recent introduction by DC, hasn't been around since he was one of the characters in the short-lived series Threshold. In the final issue of that series, Jaime was transported — allegedly to Earth, although we never saw him again.
Where has Jaime been since he was transported away in Threshold? Could Ted Kord's return mean a return of Jaime as well?
And now that DC will have the Blue… will we soon see the Gold?
Another reason to believe Booster's return is coming soon is, quite frankly, the mention of the character by a comic creator on his blog.
Horror author Brian Keene (who worked with Giffen on series like Doom Patrol and Masters of the Universe) was rumored to be working on a new weekly series for DC. It turned out those rumors were wrong — but only because things as DC change faster than rumors can get out.
As Keene explained on his blog, he was supposed to be working on the Futures End weekly series, but he ended up leaving the project before it really started.
And that's all well and good, but the fun stuff starts when he mentions a couple of the characters he was hoping to write. One of them is Animal Man, whose series is ending when Jeff Lemire leaves it in March.
And the other is… Booster Gold.
What? Someone who was supposed to be working on the Futures End weekly was also talking to DC about doing "something with Booster Gold?"
It's tough not to take those two dots and at least attempt to connect them.
Another interesting fact about Booster Gold in the New 52 is that the character is, allegedly, Canadian.
According to a report in 2011 on Bleeding Cool, DC announced during a panel at Toronto's Fan Expo that the New 52 version of Booster Gold would be Canadian.
Although Booster's Canadian citizenship wasn't confirmed in the pages of Justice League International (and thus, isn't really official continuity yet), it's important to note his possible Candian-ness because DC is launching a new Justice League based in Canada — and featuring Canadians — called Justice League United.
The new Canada-based series is being written by Lemire, who is also one of the writers on Futures End. It will feature what the writer called "world-hopping," and will include at least one new character next to DC mainstays like Martian Manhunter, Adam Strange, Stargirl, Supergirl, Green Arrow and Animal Man.
With a Canadian team, and hints from DC that Booster is Canadian, there's a real possibility of the character's appearance in the JLU. Perhaps Booster's return will have something to do with space travel and Adam Strange's zeta beams?
And let's not forget, there's a hooded prisoner that's been sitting for months in the pages of Forever Evil and the event's many tie-ins. While our favorite guesses about the hooded prisoner's identity are, quite frankly, the ones that involve Earth-3's Alex Luthor and a time-displaced Wally West, the possibility still remains that Booster Gold might be under that hood.
Even if Forever Evil doesn't actually show the return of Booster, the events being set into motion in the event are pointing toward his promised story. Johns gave Newsarama readers a lot of hints about A.R.G.U.S. going through some major changes after Forever Evil, and as we noted earlier, Booster's disappearance was linked to a time-traveler from the future who sported an A.R.G.U.S. patch. So the pot is definitely being stirred in a way that might inspire a reappearance of everyone's favorite timeline-hopping hero.
But wherever Booster shows up — whether it's in Forever Evil or elsewhere — there are a lot of clues that point toward this spring as the timing of his return. And for the loyal fans who adore the hero in all his self-serving glory, no point in time will be quite soon enough.