Look I know Booster Gold is no "hero" he just plays one on TV! However, he's not a emotionless, unempathetic, buffoon either. Enter Batman issue 45, "The Gift" part one! Is the book visually appealing? Yes. However, it's the story that Tom King chooses to tell here that really has me scratching my head...
WHERE THERE'S A WILL...THERE'S A WAY. JUST ASK HAL.
The opening pages of this book had me jaw dropped and curious. Hal talking about offing himself with the ring. Right before OFFING HIMSELF WITH THE RING! It was visually intense and set the tone for the rest of this comic. An issue which shows the results of "what if"! What if Bruce Wayne never became Batman? Well chaos and pandemonium is what! And those things have never looked so beautiful as drawn by Tony Daniel and colored by Tomeu Morey. The pages just jump out at you with drama and detail...and in all honesty compliments the tone of the story really well. For example. There is a page where Batman strings Booster up with a rope by his neck that flows so well panel to panel. This complemented by Skeets hilarious dialogue makes for a wonderfully humorous page.
And this is where King shines in this issue. It's is the dialogue both between Skeet and Booster and in general throughout the whole issue. The banter between Booster and Skeet is chuckle worthy and makes you smile the whole time reading it. You also get some great "ifs" of Talia Ghul, Tim Drake, Jason Todd, and Dick Grayson. You can definitely see what King was trying to do here. It's just unfortunate it falls quite short of it's goal.
BOOSTER GOLD ISN'T THIS DUMB!
The problem I have with this issue is how King choses to use Booster Gold. Fact is Booster makes a lot of mistakes. It's part of what makes him not only enduring, but relateable. He's smart enough, but not genius level iq with ultimate tactics. He's strong enough but not Superman strong. He's just enough without being over the top. And more than half the tech he uses, he stole. So AGAIN! He's not saint, HOWEVER, one generally gets the impression he means well. However, though King tries to bring all together at the end of this issue. That "means well" vibe is hardly apparent in this setting.
Case in point. Lets talk that beautiful opening of this issue. Right in front of Booster's eyes. Green Lantern kills himself and Booster is not only unphased by the whole thing. But mildly amazed by it. Impressed by the madness he himself brought about by fucking with the space time continuum. All for what by the way?! To "gift" Bruce Wayne the opportunity and understanding that his parents murder was a blessing in disguise? NO! That just doesn't make sense to me.
BRUCE WAYNE IS AN ASSHOLE!
Furthermore, when did Bruce Wayne become so self-centered. I mean I know he usually acts that way so that NO ONE could ever mistake him for the selfless Batman, however, he never became Batman in this timeline. So does that mean he's not smart? Definitely NOT the case, because this is the same Batman who fought his way out of a Barbatos induced dream state induced to keep him out the way. In fact King even has Bruce realize something was wrong and instead of trying to fix it. He destroys his only way back to normal? Again I say: NO!
Look I know that this is only part one. And maybe part two has more details in store. However this clear and utter misuse of Booster Gold is whats really unsettling. There's a huge difference between self-centered and sociopathic that this issue seems to miss in its portrayal of Booster. And that is unfortunate given how perfect King has written Mister Miracle. A comic run that we can't recommend enough. Daniel alone is not enough to make this run stand out. It has to be well written. I mean these are issues leading us to Batman's Wedding day! They have an obligation to deliver. We all know King is talented, lets just hope he can bring this one back down to earth!
What did you think of Batman #45? Are we being to harsh on the story or are we spot on? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.