Review: BLUE & GOLD #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Ryan Sook
Colours: Ryan Sook
Letters: Rob Leigh
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Blue & Gold #1: Desperate to regain the spotlight, Booster Gold looks to attract the public’s (and Justice League’s) attention the same way any washed-up, second-rate hero would-social media. The not-so-tech-savvy hero from the 25th century enlists the help of his best friend, Blue Beetle, who possesses both the money and the brains to help his old pal navigate the scary world of internet influencers. Watch out, evildoers, our heroes are live and online! Don’t miss Dan Jurgens’s triumphant return to Booster Gold with the help of all-star artist Ryan Sook (Legion of Super-Heroes), telling a tale filled with heart and maybe even redemption for DC’s two favorite underdogs!
DC has a lot of notable friendships between heroes: Superman and Batman, Green Lantern and Green Arrow, The Flash and Elongated Man. Blue & Gold #1 reintroduces readers to what has been one of my favourite pairings: Blue Beetle and Booster Gold. Keith Giffen’s Justice League first brought these two together, often using them as comic relief. But there was always a strong bond of friendship between the two heroes.
Beetle and Booster are formidable heroes on their own, but rather immature when placed together. Ted Kord is a technological genius and an able fighter. Booster is somewhat vain and attention-seeking, but he’s also the secret defender of the timestream. Batman himself has avowed that Booster deserves more respect than he usually receives.
As a fan of the Ted Kord version of Blue Beetle, I am especially pleased to see this title. DC introduced a new Beetle, Jaime Reyes, which proved successful. With the focus on Jaime, Ted faded into the background and was eventually written out of continuity by the New 52 reboot. Luckily Rebirth reintroduced him, but as a minor hero who had never been in the Justice League. But Blue & Gold #1 shows us that Ted’s entire history as the Blue Beetle is fully restored in the Infinite Frontier era.
Blue & Gold #1 also hints that Ted may not be the wealthy business owner he had previously been. We first see him at his father’s grave, apologizing for an unspecified failure. Also, when his ship, the Bug, gets destroyed, he seems unduly upset. Booster tells him to just build a new one, but Ted responds, “You don’t understand… It’s all I had left”. It appears that Beetle no longer has the resources of Kord Industries to rely on. And that could be dangerous, as it would make him more susceptible to get sucked into one of Booster’s get-rick-quick schemes.
The Justice League plays an important role in Blue & Gold #1. Our two heroes are tasked to save the current roster of the Justice League (minus Superman), who have been captured by alien invaders. When they manage to succeed in saving the League and defeating the aliens, they are certain that they will be offered membership in the team.
However, it doesn’t quite work out that way. The team talks to Beetle alone afterwards, offering membership to Ted. But their offer does not include Booster. Ted shows how much he values his friendship with Booster by refusing their offer. He tells the League, “We are a team, and that means… no Booster Gold… no Blue Beetle!”. On top of this, he spares Booster’s feelings by telling him that the League didn’t invite either of them to join.
I also found it interesting that when the League is telling Ted their reasons for not wanting Booster, Batman stays silent. Batman is one of the few characters that has expressed any respect for Booster. He doesn’t join his teammates in dumping on Booster. But he doesn’t defend him either. And as the League leaves, we see Batman looking back. Is he perhaps regretting not speaking up?
As always, Ryan Sook’s art is gorgeous. I especially love his depiction of the titular characters, as well as the heroes of the Justice League. I feel that Ted Kord has one of the coolest looking costumes in superhero comics, and Sook’s art does it full justice.
The duo of Blue & Gold originated during the Giffen Justice League era. Thus, whenever these two heroes get together, they tend to bring a lot of silliness with them. Now this isn’t a bad thing. A title with a light, humorous tone is not an unwelcome change of pace. A writer could easily overdo this, making it into a one-note story.
However, Dan Jurgens is a talented writer that I trust to avoid this rather obvious pitfall. And with Ted’s hard choice in this story, we can see that Jurgens is already establishing a fair bit of depth to the characters. Jurgens appreciates that Blue Beetle and Booster Gold are more than just comic relief.
Blue & Gold #1 is a promising start to this new miniseries. With two fan-favourite characters written by Dan Jurgens and drawn by Ryan Sook, you know this is going to be good. And this first issue bears that expectation out.