If ever a comic book deserved the old ‘Because You Demanded It!’ banner, it’s Blue and Gold #1. Fans have been asking for a series teaming Booster Gold and the Blue Beetle since their best pals’ act made them them two of the most popular Justice League International members. Thirty years ago! While they’ve each had series since then, the spotlight team-up never happened.
But now, finally, Ted and Michael have a series all their own, and if this debut is anything to go by it’s going to be a fun ride.
It’s another day in the big city and Booster is trying to eke out a living streaming his superheroics.
When Booster gets into trouble his trusty AI pal Skeets knows just who to call on for help, and despite some doubts that he’s up to the job, Beetle answers the call.
But can Blue and Gold possibly beat aliens who have bested the latest, extremely powerful version of the Justice League? If they manage it, surely Booster’s dream of being invited back onto the team is a sure thing?
Writer Dan Jurgens and artist Ryan Sook have all the answers in an entertaining tale that serves both as a satisfying done-in-one and the first chapter of a superhero serial.
Booster’s last series saw him as a super-competent time cop, and while I enjoyed that take, I don’t see the return of fame-hungry Booster as a step backward. It’s more a reminder of who Booster is at core, an entertainer who knows the value of notoriety.
Beetle is another prospect altogether, a guy with a massive heart who will get behind Booster’s schemes, but more to make sure his pal is OK than to make a mint. By the end of this issue, rather than suggest Kooey Kooey Kooey-style get rich quick schemes, he’s come up with a new way to make a living while doing good.
As Booster’s creator, no one knows his voice better than Jurgens, and as a former Justice League writer he’s no slouch when it comes to Beetle. I especially like that Jurgens doesn’t undersell Ted’s smarts – heck, he has the respect of a top 25th-century droid! Booster and Beetle’s chemistry on the page is palpable and I look forward to seeing who gets caught up in their web of fun. If I’m guessing correctly, one of Booster’s original supporting characters is right there on the opening page, but who’ll be dropping in from Beetle’s corner of the DC Universe?
The social media pop-ups are useful for exposition in this first issue but with Ted taking Michael in a different direction, the various voices are likely to pipe down. I hope so, I get enough of such things in real life… mind, I did like seeing at least one of Jurgens’ old Metropolis supporting characters in there.
The only off-note is new Leaguer Naomi being unnecessarily snarky about our stars… she’s usually much nicer, and it’s not like she knows Booster and Beetle’s reputation. Good on Black Canary, though, for speaking up for our guys.
Ryan Sook’s full-colour art is, as always, great. The storytelling is straightforward but with room for the occasional flourish – there’s a lovely shot of Ted reflected in Skeets’ shell – and clear characterisations. Booster’s solo sortie against the aliens shows how good Sook is with perspective and scale. With Sook we have a creator whose storytelling chops are as strong as those of Jurgens, which is saying something.
I didn’t initially notice who was lettering, the action scene having swept me quickly past the credits, but the smattering of little logos in the word balloons was a hint that it’s Rob Leigh, a man who always goes above and beyond. I don’t know if Leigh designed the Blue and Gold logo – more likely it’s someone from DC’s production department – but it’s excellent either way. I’m not mad keen on the black flaps at each side, but there’s no doubt some vital artistic reason that’s beyond my ken. I shall trust it!
Sook’s cover is terrific, a declaration that this book is going to be fun. And it doesn’t disappoint. If you’re a fan of either character, or just savvy superheroics, Blue and Gold is the book for you.