Batman #45 Review: Booster Gold and the Wedding Gift
The last few issues of Batman have been setting the table for the upcoming nuptials of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, and this issue opens with some jarring images that make the reader wonder what happened between the last panel of the last issue, which showed Bruce and Selina sleeping, (see our review of Batman #44, for more on the last issue), and this issue that opens to an almost apocalyptic view of Gotham City.
The comic opens with a well-known superhero killing himself, and the chaos in Gotham spinning more and more out of control. We see Batman armed with guns, attempting to kill Booster Gold. Very much out of character for Bats, to say the least.
Booster Gold, as you may recall, is a blue and gold costumed hero from the future, who came into his past (our present), in order to use his future tech to be a hero, join the Justice League, and be famous (not necessarily in that order). Most stories about Booster show him to be egotistical, vain, self-serving, and not overly bright. His flying robotic companion, named Skeets, is generally smarter and has better common sense than his owner.
This issue starts off pretty confusingly, but as we get toward the end, it makes more sense, while setting up the story to be continued in the next issue. This storyline is called “The Gift” and this issue is part one of that tale.
Spoiler Alert from here on out, we give it away now…give it away now, give it away now…
As we move through a burning Gotham, our main character is actually Booster Gold, who carries on a rather immature discussion with Skeets, as Booster tries to find the real Batman (turns out the guy who tried to kill him is Dick Grayson in a Bat-outfit). We see hints and asides that the whole world is seriously messed up, and when, finally, Booster finds Bruce Wayne at a party at stately Wayne Manor, Bruce is dancing with his mother. Wait, what? Martha Wayne is supposed to be dead, right? Her death and the death of Thomas Wayne was the event that launched Bruce into Batman-land. Methinks something is amiss in Gotham-Land.
As Booster explains to Bruce what is going on, we find out that Booster, in one of his dumber moves, wanted to give Bruce a special wedding gift, and decided to go into the past, save Bruce’s parents from death, and then let Bruce’s life play out from there. The result, as we see, is not good for Gotham.
Booster’s goal was based on an event that, as he describes, “I remembered that story that you and Supes tell. About the Orchid thing, where Supes was trapped in his mind…” This references the “Black Mercy” (which first appeared in Superman Annual #11 (1985), and was also featured in Justice League Unlimited Season 1, Episode 2 “For the Man Who Has Everything” (2004), and, more recently in Season 1, Episode 13 of Supergirl), was an alien plant that latched itself onto Superman in a plot by the alien warlord Mongul. The Black Mercy took over Superman’s mind and let him have his heart’s desire, which in this case was to imagine a universe where Krypton never exploded and he never came to Earth.
Booster’s intent was to give Bruce his heart’s desire (or what Booster thought it would be) and to show Bruce how bad things would be if his parents had lived, then Booster would use the time machine inside Skeets to put things back the way they were (i.e. letting Bruce’s parents die), in order to allow Bruce to come to peace with his parents’ deaths. Like we said earlier, Booster is not overly bright.
The last scene shows Bruce destroying Skeets and basically telling Booster to leave, with Bruce’s last words being…”It’s my parent’s anniversary. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
Booster seriously misunderstood that this version of Bruce Wayne would not stand idly by while Booster went back and let Thomas and Martha die. Gotham may be falling apart, but Bruce has his mommy and daddy, and he likes it that way. Destroying Skeets keeps Booster from going back in time.
The best parts of this story, frankly, was the knowledge that the Black Mercy story from 1985 is still in continuity in DC’s universe. With all the reboots and relaunches by DC since the mid-1980s, it is becoming more and more clear that the current DC REBIRTH movement is keeping the old Golden, Silver, and Bronze Age stories alive and relevant to what is happening now in the world of Batman, Superman and the rest of the DC Universe.
We are curious how Booster will fix this big mess he created. And what a mess it is…stay tuned to the same Booster Gold Channel, and the same Booster Gold time…