WARNING, Spoilers to Batman Beyond #49 by Dan Jurgens and Paul Pelletier, in stores now!
In DC Comics, the time-traveling superhero Booster Gold may be a fan favorite but he’s not one of the first choices when Earth’s heroes need to put together a team. Originally obsessed with obtaining as much fame, glory, and sponsorships that he could, the man is originally known as Michael Jon Carter has worked long and hard to change this first impression and earn the respect and trust of heroes that he idolized like Batman or the Justice League. Although Michael’s good intentions and tenuous grasp of time-travel continue to add speculation and doubt to those who work with him, a version of Booster from the Batman Beyond universe proves that eventually, Michael does mature enough to become a respected hero and equal in the superhero community.
Appearing at the end of Batman Beyond #47, Booster and his faithful robotic sidekick Skeets have arrived in this DC future with a mission to protect Batman. In the following issue, Booster arrives just in time to save Terry McGinnis from an unexpected lethal attack by a deranged Bruce Wayne. Upset to learn that his brother Matt has perished, Booster tries to ease a grief-stricken Terry by saying that the entire ordeal was due to a dormant telepathic command placed in Bruce’s mind years ago, something that they’re able to prevent. Pulling Terry into his Time Sphere, they travel back to 2020 Gotham where they are to stop the villain responsible while not revealing themselves to Bruce or doing anything that’d jeopardize the timeline. While facing the telekinetic villain Blanque, Terry goes to save a child and is shocked to learn he is Warren McGinnis, a reunion that is interrupted by the arrival of the original Batman.
In Batman Beyond #49, Booster stops Terry and Bruce from meeting by making himself known – although, Bruce questions his real purpose for being there. Booster and Skeets lie by saying they’re there to help fight Blanque, a battle which incapacitates Bruce and ends with Booster being mind-controlled to fight Terry. Together they’re both able to resist Blanque and defeat him, preventing him from infecting Bruce’s mind and thus saving Terry’s future. After saying goodbye to his father, Terry returns to his original timeline where both Matt and Bruce are fine, with only Terry having recollections of the other history. When everyone has left the room, Bruce speaks to a blue-hooded individual who is revealed to be an older, mustached Booster Gold who helped Bruce orchestrate the entire situation.
Dan Jurgens brings back one of his best-known characters and not only showcases his evolution throughout time but also makes him pivotal to Batman Beyond’s origin story. The younger Booster is DC’s most realistic example of the do’s and don’ts of time travel. In his attempts to help and please, Booster Gold treats time travel like throwing rocks across a pond; he’s so focused on his good intentions that he fails to see how his actions ripple and create consequences. Fortunately, that’s exactly what his older incarnation and Bruce Wayne were counting on, as Warren McGinnis’ journals told of him meeting and being inspired by this other version of Batman. By using his younger self as means to ensure Terry and Warren meet, Booster and Bruce ensure Warren is inspired to do the right thing later in life where his unfortunate death guarantees Terry’s destiny as Batman.
Michael John Carter has come a long way. He is no longer the self-promoting showboat but a hero who shows respect for time travel instead of abusing it for selfish reasons. Bruce Wayne no longer looks down on him but refers to him as an equal, assisting him in accomplishing what is possibly his greatest secret. With the series coming to an end, it’s a shame we may not get to see more of this version of Booster Gold within the Batman Beyond universe but when time travel is involved, anything is possible.