“52 Pick-Up: Meet the Beetles”
I can’t evaluate Booster Gold #6 objectively. I just can’t.
First of all, as I’ve made clear in previous reviews, I’m a Booster Gold fanboy. On top of that, I’m a Blue Beetle – Ted Kord – fanboy. So when a book comes along that once again unites the Blue and Gold…
Well of course I’m going to love it, right?
Complicating things even further in my quest for objectivity is the underlying wish fulfillment of the story – a story about someone going back in time and repairing the mistakes that cost them their best friend is going to appeal to me, seeing as I’ve been morosely examining the past for the last few months trying to figure out what I could have done differently to maintain some friendships of my own. And of course if I had me one of them time bubbles, I’d be at the vet’s office months ago getting my late, beloved parrot screened for fatty liver disease.
So this issue is one scrum-diddly-umptious morsel of wish-fulfillment, right? It meets my primary requirement for a superhero comic – escapism – right?
Well, therein lies the problem. The quest to save Ted Kord is such a simple one – all obstacles are so quickly overcome – that one simply knows the tale can’t be done yet, that there must be more trouble to come. And there seems to be a clichéd attempt at a red herring to throw us off the track of guessing what that trouble will be. Minor spoiler, here: Johns et al. do their best to imply that Rip Hunter will serve as the villain in the next story arc, but logic dictates that this is to throw us off of suspecting the mysterious Blue-Beetle-of-the-future. One can’t help but suspect that, like Maxwell Lord at the end of the introduction to Infinite Crisis, this future-Beetle will turn out to be hatching sinister, Machiavellian plans. If that proves to be true, at least they will have the luxury of creating a backstory for him that will logically explain his turn. The flimsy explanation of Lord’s betrayal contradicted everything that had been established about him it and was a cheap attempt at a shocking ending. In professional wrestling circles – did I mention I do ring announcing for local pro wrestling shows? – this is known as an unmotivated turn, a good guy – or “face” – becoming a bad guy – or “heel” – simply to surprise the audience.
But I digress…
I think I’m close to judging this book objectively, so let me give it a try: This book reeks so much of simplistic, fanboy wish-fulfillment that it defies all logic and leaves one with the unavoidable assumption that the conflict is yet to come. From a storytelling perspective, that of course means that this issue is all exposition, that the real story comes in the next arc, “The Blue and Gold,” which begins in issue seven. So unless you are, like me, a serious Blue and Gold fanboy who can never pass up a chance to see these two characters individually, let alone together, I can’t really recommend this book, as much as I’d like to. It’s just the warm-up to the next story, and judged on its own merits it is simply empty calories, almost like fan fiction: “Gee, wouldn’t it be great if Ted Kord were still alive? And it would be so easy, too! See, you could get Beetles from the past, present and future to…”
And furthermore, as a fanboy for Ted Kord, I can’t help but dread what I assume is coming – that Ted will once again die, or that his original death will be restored, in order to preserve the space-time continuum, or some other such nonsense that is inherently contradictory to the entire point of a time travel comic book: The past can be changed.
Ah, if only the past could be changed. There is so much I would do differently, although buying this book is not one of those things. Nevertheless, I can’t strongly suggest that you do the same.
What did you think of this book?
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