Dan Jurgens returns to writing and drawing Booster Gold in December when Action Comics unites the time-traveling hero with Superman, who's searching for more information about the mysterious Mr. Oz.
Jurgens has been guiding Action Comics since the "Rebirth" initiative returned the book to its original numbering in 2016. Throughout the run, readers have been learning about a previously unknown character named Mr. Oz, and in the just-finished "Oz Effect" storyline, the character claimed he was Superman's father, Jor-El.
The experience has shaken Superman, so in Action Comics #993, he turns to Booster Gold, who's been missing from DC comics for some time.
The upcoming "Booster Shot" storyline is also getting Jurgens back to drawing Booster Gold, a character he created in 1986 and has often guided since. Although originally solicited to be drawn by another artist, Jurgens has stepped in to do the interior penciling for the two "Booster Shot" issues, in addition to covers for the entire arc.
Newsarama talked to Jurgens to find out more about Booster's role in the story, what the experience of meeting Oz has done to Superman, and what else readers can expect from "Booster Shot."
Newsarama: Dan, let's go back to the beginning. Was Mr. Oz always supposed to be Jor-El? Can you take us through your part in that decision, or discussion, when the story was being formed?
Dan Jurgens: Mr. Oz had appeared in the Superman titles before I came in as part of the "Rebirth" effort. Jor-El had been mentioned as a possibility as the man in in Mr. Oz’s hood, but we had various discussions about others who might fit. Ultimately, we felt that Jor-El gave us the greatest opportunity for a dramatic story that would affect Superman on a personal level.
Nrama: Can you reveal why he chose the name "Oz"?
Jurgens: As much as anything, it isn’t like he could use the name “Jor-El.” As a part of the “man behind the curtain” effect of the story, “Oz” becomes a logical name.
Nrama: What exactly did the bladed staff - or is that a scythe? - do to Jor-El?
Jurgens: They scythe gave Jor-El teleportation/movement capability, yet also controlled him, to a certain extent. It also protected him from the effect of the Kryptonite that had been embedded in his skin.
Nrama: So was Oz able to kill Metallo because of the Kryptonite in his skin?
Jurgens: Not quite. Though Jor-El had kryptonite in his own skin, it was rendered non-lethal by the scythe. That’s what allowed him to reach in and take Metallo’s kryptonite heart.
Nrama: Will we find out who the other prisoners in Oz's prison were? (And what about the Tim Drake from Batman Beyond?)
Jurgens: I’ll leave it to Detective Comics (and James Tynion!) to answer any questions regarding Tim Drake. As for the other prisoners, we did answer some of those questions, such as existed with Mr. Mxyzptlk. For others, there are stories waiting to be told.
Nrama: We learned a little bit in Action Comics #992 about where Superman's head is now. What do you think this whole experience has done to Superman?
Jurgens: I think the biggest thing is that it’s thrown doubt into Superman’s life. He still isn’t entirely convinced that Mr. Oz is his actual father - the one, true, Jor-El.
That sense of doubt is plaguing him now, even as his absolute faith in the human race has been shaken. Superman doesn’t doubt his mission… but he might now wonder about his ability to accomplish everything he has set out to do.
Nrama: It's such a sad thought, that Superman's faith in the human race is shaken. If Superman doesn't have hope in humanity, can any of us?
Jurgens: Superman hasn’t given up on humanity. But I think it’s fair to say that he wonders about his ability to solve all the problems that are out there. The net effect of that, however, is that it makes him even more determined to try to do so.
Nrama: On a lighter note, Action Comics #993 is the beginning of your "Booster Shot" issues. Can I just say - it's about time! Yes, pun intended, but a lot of fans missed him! Did you too?
Jurgens: Yeah, it’s always fun to get back to Booster. I try not to force the issue when it happens, but in terms of Superman’s quest to go back in time to see if Jor-El really survived Krypton’s explosion, well… it’s a natural.
Nrama: Where the heck has Booster been?
Jurgens: Surfing the time stream. Like that wouldn’t be enough to keep him busy?
Nrama: Good point. OK, so what's Booster's role in the story with Superman?
Jurgens: If Superman is going back to the moment of Krypton’s destruction (which he is), he’s putting himself in a very precarious position. What happens if he’s stuck on Krypton when the planet blows? How would that change time? Because of that, Booster gets involved.
Nrama: What sorts of things do they discover along the way? Looks like Lor-Zod? And an unwelcome future? So they're traveling forward in time as well?
Jurgens: Booster and Superman get to see a Krypton that might be, as well as a Zod related planet that will be. It sets us up for some strong material going forward.
Nrama: You're getting to draw the covers for the Booster storyline. What's it been like penciling Superman and Booster Gold again with this run?
Jurgens: It’s taxing, as I’m still writing a lot of stuff as well, but it’s been fun to come back for the covers. I’m also drawing two issues, #993 and #994, which is also a lot of fun! I really wish I had more time to draw.
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell readers about Mr. Oz and what else is coming up in Action Comics?
Jurgens: I think the “Booster Shot” storyline will provide a lot of fun to the book. Coming out of “The Oz Effect,” we wanted to get a bit lighter, without forgetting the elements we were dealing with as part of the story. All of that comes together here in a storyline that I think readers will really enjoy.
And, as an extra bonus, we will continue to explore the theme of family as Lois and Jon get embroiled in a story that really involves her father Sam. We’re having a lot of fun with that as well.