Fans reading solicitations will know that Booster Gold #29 involves Hank Henshaw, the astronaut who would later become the Cyborg Superman. That solicitation probably doesn’t bode well for some of our supporting characters who are, at present, apparently taking a little vacation in Coast City during the time that Superman’s presumed dead and healing at his Fortress…but it might give us a little flexibility on the long-established “solidified time” concept, since Rip Hunter’s board this month seems to call for Henshaw’s “elimination.”
That’s just one of the story beats set up by this issue—the other of which will be the subject of all kinds of speculation and conversation for months to come. All the while, they manage to put together an entertaining “Blackest Night” story that features more depth of character than most of the other superhero zombie stories circulating.
In another oversized Booster story, with art chores shared again by Dan Jurgens and Mike Norton, one of the central conflicts of the series—Booster’s inability to save Ted Kord from his death at the hands of Max Lord—is dealt with in a surprising and promising way.
Gold Exchange: So after going to Ted’s funeral to get away, Booster decides to head “home” to Pittsburgh for a while. Is this an indication that even before he and Rip had a disagreement during the battle, he was already looking for some time away from the guy?
Dan Jurgens: In part, yes. I think it’s pretty clear that Booster is beginning to resent Rip’s habit of ordering him around a bit more. Booster has a relatively healthy, maybe even large, ego. He likes to do things his way!
Rip always seems to have the answers and it’s usually backed up with little more than “trust me, I’m right”.
GX: Between Black Lantern Ted’s laundry list of JLI pranks and the montage at the end, this is an issue that the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League fans are destined to love. I know we’ve talked about “Gladys” off-the-record before, and I think you had a brilliant, one-line resolution to that story. Are we going to see that in print anytime soon?
DJ: I sure hope so. We’re going to have a story or two where it would be very easy to address.
At the same time, it’s easier in some respects to simply leave it on the floor where it belongs. The fact that he hasn’t addressed it sort of says it all, doesn’t it?
GX: I feel like this issue is a real showcase for how perfectly Norton’s style fits Jaime’s adventures. Is the second feature back net issue, so that both camps of fans can get back to their regularly-scheduled programming in terms of the art?
DJ: As far as I know, Jaime is back next issue!
GX: That said, did you decide as the writer what pages you would take versus what Norton would take on?
DJ: First of all, a bit of a background explanation will be required.
Just around the time we were wrapping up the previous issue and starting this one, I was called to jury duty. Considering the fact that I was in the midst of two 30 page issues, it was a problem. Mike was finished with his pages from the previous issue before I was so we simply determined it was going to be best to simply divide #27 in half and get him the front part of the book so he could get started.
I then jumped into the end, caught up and that was that!
GX: Regarding the chalkboard – “The Henshaw Directive = Elimination” is an ominous thing to have there, considering how this issue ends. Obviously, the last time anyone saw the Cyborg Superman, he was fantasizing about death. Is Booster going to have to find a way to grant him his wish?
DJ: Maybe. There will be more to come with Cyborg Superman for sure.
GX: This was a DENSE script. I noticed that Norton took on a few extra pages this month (half the book as opposed to just the ten pages that would have been a backup feature), but your first pair are nine, tiny panels each. It looks like a scene out of “Watchmen”. Is that why you used a few extra pages of help?
DJ: No. I wrote the story before I even knew exactly where I’d be jumping in. Multiple panels slow down the pacing and build tension, which is what we wanted there.
GX: Was Booster’s ultimate weapon something that came up in the original pitch for the story, or was it something you added later?
DJ: It wasn’t part of the first discussion but was certainly part of the first notes I put together. So it was there from a very early point in the creative process.
GX: I almost feel like the acquisition of the light gun, and therefore the revelation that Booster comes to in the lab, has been planned since the end of “Blue and the Gold.” Is that true?
DJ: In some respects, yes. Though not quite as specific as you might think.
GX: That asked, can you clarify the comments you made to Gold Exchange way back when you confirmed for me that it was Jason we saw “bwa-ha-hah”-ing in Ted’s lab? I asked you a while back if the shadowy figure from Reality Lost was the same shadowy figure from the lab, and you said yes. Was that a misunderstanding, a change of heart or just your playing with me?
DJ: I may have misunderstood the question. Can you remind me of what two shadowy figures you’re comparing? Obviously, one is from the end of Booster Gold #1,000,000, Geoff and Jeff’s last issue.
GX: Do you think dangling the carrot of Ted’s return will help some of the “Blackest Night” readers, who have made the book a sellout the last couple of months at every store I can find, stick with the title after this issue?
DJ: I always say that readers will stick with a book when they’re entertained. My hope is that a combination of factors, Booster, Beetle, Rip Hunter, story, art and more, will enough to keep people around. There’s some big stuff coming up.
GX: Here’s a question: Even in a world where Ted was the one who entered the cave, does that necessarily mean he’s still alive? I mean, he had a Time Sphere. He could have made a pit stop before heading off to die!
DJ: I think Ted died. I also think in a book with time travel at its core that numerous possibilities exist.
GX: That asked, whatever happened to that Time Sphere? I don’t remember if Rip recovered it on-panel.
DJ: The time sphere was left at Vanishing Point. By using his time platform, it’s easy for Rip or even Booster to go back and get it.
GX: Are the Black Lanterns really stupid? It seems like, from a strategic standpoint, carrying around a proxy version of the very weapon that could be your own undoing, and therefore reminding everyone that it exists, is kind of a silly thing for Dead-Ted to do!
DJ: I don’t know if they’re stupid. They certainly think of themselves as undefeatable.
GX: The coloring on the page where Black Lantern Ted gets blasted with the light gun is pretty awesome. You ever wish you could hop in a Time Sphere and have these guys recolor things like the sequence in “Superman” #82, where the Kryptonite blast filters through The Eradicator?
DJ: First, a tip of the hat to Brian Miller and his crew (Hi-Fi Color!) who work really hard on this book for us. In fact, we were bouncing comments about that very scene back and forth even as they colored it. They did a magnificent job.
And, yes, I often look back and wish we had the coloring and printing available to us back then that we have now.
GX: Thematically, it’s nice to have the story start and finish with Ted’s funerals. Is this going to be presented in a Booster trade, or as part of a Blackest Night book, do you know?
DJ: I would think it would be part of a Booster Gold trade, for sure.
GX: For the immediate future, there’s a question from a reader on the DC Comics Message Boards. “Bathulk” wants to know if there are any more plans coming up for Supernova.
DJ: There are some plans down the road for Supernova. In the more immediate sense, it’s time to turn our attention to Michelle.
GX: This might sound paranoid, but what’s the chance that Mac the Mechanic is actually Chronos, trying to take a shot at Michelle? The hair, the moustache, the hat covering the eyes completely…it all kinda looks like the Central City cop who turned out to be Chronos in disguise, way back at the museum.
DJ: Even thought I don’t like to give things away I’ll answer that one. No chance at all!