As DC's big summer event Flashpoint kicks off this month, none of the publisher's ongoing comics have been affected.
Except one: Booster Gold.
This week, Booster Gold #44 began the character's immersion into the strange world of Flashpoint. Last week's Flashpoint #1 introduced readers to the concepts behind this alternate universe, which was created when the villainous Reverse Flash changed history so that superhero lives have taken different paths.
In Flashpoint, the Flash was the only person who noticed the world is off-kilter from its regular status. But Booster Gold #44 showed that he also knows. And while Booster functions in the regular DCU as the "greatest hero you've never heard of," the phrase can be taken literally in the Flashpoint universe. They've obviously never heard of him.
In this week's Flashpoint "Post-Game" (see last week's installment with Johns here), we talk with Booster's creator, Dan Jurgens, who returns to the comic as writer/artist with this issue. Jurgens already revealed precursors to Flashpoint in his mini-series Time Masters: Vanishing Point earlier this year.
But be warned: There are spoilers ahead for this week's Booster Gold #44.
By the end of Booster's first Flashpoint issue, the character was in about as much trouble as he's ever been. Booster's robotic sidekick Skeets is now damaged and shut down, the hero's friends and colleagues are missing, and the government is firing upon him, believing he's an Atlantean. (As readers of Flashpoint have been told, Aquaman and his army of Atlantis has already sunk much of Europe, killing millions. The U.S. fears Booster's appearance is an attack on their soil.)
But worst of all, the government has unleashed its most deadly weapon upon Booster Gold — the villain known as Doomsday. As long-time Booster fans might remember (and the character mentions), the two have some nasty history.
We asked Jurgens about this week's issue, what comes next for Booster, and how it all ties in with the main Flashpoint series.
Newsarama: Dan, how did you get involved with Flashpoint, and what was your first impression of the idea behind the event?
Dan Jurgens: Back before I started Time Masters: Vanishing Point, Geoff and Dan DiDio had mentioned the idea of Flashpoint. Even then, we knew we were going to build Vanishing Point as a series that started with the notion of a search for Bruce Wayne, but transitioned into a door opener for Flashpoint.
From the beginning, I was intrigued by the potential of the idea. If the nature of time is thrown somewhat askew, it opens all sorts of doors and story ideas.
Nrama: Geoff Johns has said that Booster Gold is the perfect tie-in book to Flashpoint, and it's the only regular series that is involved in the event. How did you see Booster getting involved?
Jurgens: Booster is drawn into the story through finale of Time Masters. Beyond that, Booster is an ideal choice because he's a time travel character himself. Booster Gold is to time what Aquaman is to the Atlantic.
Nrama: What can you tell us about how Booster's recent missions play into this story?
Jurgens: The final page of Time Masters: Vanishing Point #6, where Booster sees the enigmatic blackboard with mysterious clues like "S!H!A!Z!A!M!" written on it segues directly into Booster Gold #44. We see what happened there, and in the immediate moment or two after Booster discovers the blackboard.
Nrama: In issue #44, the loss of Skeets was heartbreaking for fans. He has proven he can save the universe in 52, but without Skeets, that job becomes much more difficult. What does the loss of Skeets mean for Booster in Flashpoint?
Jurgens: It means that Booster has to do this on his own. He doesn't have Skeets there to guide him or tell him what the answers are, or even suggest where to find answers.
For the past couple of years, Booster has been in learning mode, with Rip Hunter and Skeets to guide him. Now, he's on his own.
Nrama: That's going to be difficult, because he's got Doomsday after him now. But his history is obviously altered, because he's some type of government weapon. How is Doomsday different in the world of Flashpoint?
Jurgens: When we first met Doomsday in the DCU, he got out of his steel vault by bashing his way out. His story here is quite a bit different, as in the FLASHPOINT universe, he was actually discovered and dug up.
Nrama: Most fans of Booster remember his horrible past meeting with Doomsday, but for those who might not have read it, will you highlight it in the book? Was that meeting important to what Booster will do now?
Jurgens: Booster's first meeting was noteworthy for a reason many people may not remember. Booster was with the JLA at the time, and a mindless, raging creature had just torn through the League.
The creature punched Booster and sent him flying, at which point Superman caught him. Booster told Superman, "It's like Doomsday is here!" From that point on Superman and Booster called him Doomsday. So, Booster named him, and I see this story as a little bit of a full circle thing.
As for how that meeting plays into the current story, it's safe to say that he has to face Doomsday alone, even though he knows he can't beat him. I mean, he knows that, no matter what he does, he can't beat Doomsday and there is no JLA to call for assistance.
Nrama: That really doesn't bode well for Booster. What can you tell us about this ensuing fight?
Jurgens: That you'll see it in Booster Gold #45!
Nrama: So far, the story has been taking place in Coast City. Where else will Booster's fight with Doomsday take him in the world of Flashpoint?
Jurgens: Just as Doomsday's initial appearance was built around the idea of a violent march across country, this one is as well, though with some very different story elements. Doomsday's motivation is radically different this time.
Nrama: Solicitations have indicated Booster's fight with Doomsday will spill all the way into issue #46, but the cover to issue #47 features the Flash. Does Flash play a role in the Flashpoint story of Booster Gold?
Jurgens: As we start, only Barry Allen and Booster would appear to have any idea that time has been altered. Complicating matters even more is the problem that neither Booster nor Barry realizes the other is there. They both think they're the only touch point to the timeline they knew.
With that in mind, yeah, we have to have them meet somehow!
Nrama: We have seen a few hints about the world of Flashpoint in this story, including Cyborg and the current status of the Atlanteans. What other Flashpoint characters or situations show up in Booster Gold?
Jurgens: Hmm... can't quite spill the beans on that yet, but let's just say it's Doomsday related and appears very, very early in Booster Gold #45.
Nrama: Will issue #47 be the end of Booster's Flashpoint storyline?
Jurgens: In a direct fashion, yes, though some aspects of his adventure there will carry over, just as any experience would.
Nrama: Does Booster show up in the main Flashpoint mini-series? Do they cross over at all?
Jurgens: We're generally self-contained, though reflective of the Flashpoint mini. As I said, neither Barry or Booster are aware of each other's existence.
Nrama: This storyline is moving pretty quickly over the summer, yet you're writing and drawing every issue yourself. How in the world do you both write and draw a series, and do it so well — and on time?
Jurgens: First, thanks for the compliment.
Believe it or not, I actually like the process of working. (Nasty little secret time... a lot of guys don't like the process of working. They like having the job done but dislike the process of getting there.)
In this case, when you're playing with concepts as grand and as important as Flashpoint, there's a level of enthusiasm that really pulls you into the project and fuels the work.
Nrama: Now that you're back on Booster Gold, will we see you working with the character beyond Flashpoint?
Jurgens: Of course! I just got back, after all.
Nrama: Anything else you're working on that you want to tell fans about?
Jurgens: Right now, I'm swamped with this. It takes a lot to really make something like this work and work well.
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about Booster Gold and Flashpoint?
Jurgens: Just to have fun. It should be a good ride!