WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Action Comics #988, by Dan Jurgens and Will Conrad, on sale now.
This week's Action Comics #998 by Dan Jurgens and Will Conrad killed off Lois Lane and her father, at least for a few minutes. Then Booster Gold jumped in and saved the day.
To recap, the "Booster Shot" storyline saw Superman travel back in time to witness the destruction of Krypton in order to see, once and for all, whether Jor-El had actually survived. Unfortunately, the trip altered time and created a reality where Zod ruled over a Kryptonian galactic empire. This issue brought Superman and Booster Gold's adventures to a close, but things took a tragic turn in the end -- for a short while, at least.
Just as our heroes return to the present day, Skeets makes the horrific discovery that Lois Lane and her father have been killed. Lois and Jon had traveled to a foreign country to save Sam Lane's life. It was a dangerous mission for a journalist and a child to undertake, and it apparently didn't turn out as well as they had planned.
Upon hearing the news, Booster quickly rushes into action, travels back in time, and saves their lives. It seemed simple enough, but as we have come to know, there are consequences for such reckless actions.
The Rules of Time Travel
The story serves as a lesson for all those who wish to alter horrific events in the past. The rules of time are tricky, but they are firm. We learn that while the future is malleable and ever-changing, the past is solidified. This means Superman can't save Krypton and Batman can't defend his parents. To go against what has already happened is to subject the timeline to dangerous and disruptive changes.
Booster even explains that for events that can be changed, you still shouldn't do it because then there's nothing to stop you from changing everything else. It's the same argument Batman uses to explain why he doesn't kill. If you take out the Joker, what's to stop you from killing Two-Face, or the Riddler. If you stop this tragedy from happening, what about the next?
Just as soon as he explains this rule to Superman, he immediately decides to break it. They had just witnessed the destruction of Krypton, and Kal-El had to watch his mother die a terrible death up close. Reasoning that the man had already lost one family, he decided to make sure that he didn't lose another.
There Will Be Consequences
Lois' death and rebirth might not seem like a big deal, but just as Booster told Superman, every decision we make has its consequences. In a bizarre role reversal, Jurgens—the creator of Booster Gold—cast Michael as the stickler for rules with Superman playing the part of the rebel who wants to changes things for the better. It's not always that simple, though, and there are two ways of looking at what Booster did.
This could be a simple matter of showing that Booster Gold does have a heart. Since the incident had only happened seconds ago, he decided to play the hero and hope the timeline had not set yet. Superman didn't even know this was happening, so it was just a quick little moment to tell the reader that Booster is no longer the fraud looking for fame that he once was, he's a real hero now.
On the other hand, saving Lois could have major consequences to the integrity of the timeline, an action Booster says he is likely to be punished for (by who, we wonder). Whether Booster's punishment will be played out in another story, or the after effects will be felt in upcoming Superman comics is yet to be seen.
Booster is set to appear in Batman starting in April and Action Comics #1000 is right around the corner. The consequences for changing the timeline, however small, could still very much be felt in the coming months.