A new creative team always makes me weary, especially when I thoroughly enjoyed the previous team. I also find it unsettling when the creator of a character is replaced on his own book by a team credited as bringing back the “Bru-Ha-Ha.” I loved JLI, but was weary of the Giffen/Dematteis reunion with Booster Gold because of the amount of development that has gone into the character since 52. So needless to say I was skeptical going into this issue. Possibly, my weariness made this issue that much better because my expectations were exceeded from page one.

The story starts with Booster in the future, more specifically the Great Darkness Saga. Tons of Dematteis dialogue was a good start, helping me to feel like I was getting my money’s worth. The issue had plenty of silliness, but the seriousness was felt, and felt like a ton of bricks when the Emerald Empress not only killed the majority of people that Booster was attempting to protect, but one of the remaining party members killed herself after witnessing the murder of her friends and colleagues.

I also have great appreciation for the level of class that these deaths were displayed with.  I don’t know about you, but by the murders being off camera, I felt the devastating blow even more. It took a second for me to absorb what really just happened and I think my eyes popped once the truth was clear.

The Batista art is a nice change of pace without being too drastically different. Booster actually looks more mature, rather than more cartoony, as you would expect from a “bru-ha-ha” session. I also greatly enjoyed the framing of the panels throughout this book.

Two big milestones were solidified this issue. First was Booster taking on a foe head on, without any of his power (well, except for flight). I felt right from the start that GIffen and company were attempting to convey Booster legitimacy as a strong and competent hero. Secondly was the further referencing of  Booster not only being a protector of the time stream, but also taking us full circle (to 52) by referencing Booster as a protector of the multiverse.

While I am sorry to see Dan go, I look forward to and welcome this new era for Booster Gold. I appreciate the red herrings and look forward to Booster’s continued escalation of prominence within the DCU as not only a solo title star, but as he appears in JLI: GENERATION LOST, RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE and VANISHING POINT.