It's odd reading a Giffen-DeMatteis comic with Booster Gold in it and seeing Booster as the voice of reason, but that is the angle that Giffen and DeMatteis are using for their involvement in this series, and, not surprisingly, it works. Since Jurgens (and Johns before him) worked hard to establish Booster as a competent hero, Giffen and DeMatteis writing Booster as a confident, strong hero is less of a shock than expected.
This story is nowhere near as comical as some of the adventures from the JLI days, but that doesn't mean it isn't a good story. The writing duo makes the decision to have Booster be a hero (as Jurgens and Johns did before them in this volume of "Booster Gold"), though a very flawed hero who is no stranger to hard luck.
Dropped into the "Great Darkness War," Booster finds a situation he is completely unprepared for, and must rely on his experience as a hero seeing as his technology is heavily damaged at the start of the story.
As the "greatest hero you've never heard of," Booster gets a few moments to shine in this issue, mainly against the Emerald Empress. For me, as someone who has never been the most dedicated Legion fan, the scene that accompanies the sound effect of "PUNT!" is priceless, especially considering Booster's athletic career, which the creative team revisits more than once.
Batista's art may not be as deceptively effortless as Maguire's, but it is packed with detail, emotion, and energy. Batista is the perfect choice for this comic. He has a masterful sense of acting that he places upon the characters he draws, his expressions are well-rendered, and his backgrounds as intricately detailed. Additionally, he does a great job in portraying diversity among the comic's characters. Booster and Rip are undoubtedly distinct individuals. I do find the white "dead space" around the panels of this story a little distracting, especially considering the sheer amount of content in the panels on page. I was waiting for a transformation of some kind, but it never materialized.
This issue is jam-packed with story -- a monologue from Booster in the form of caption boxes, dialogue between characters, and comments muttered under breath -- and the creative team does a marvelous job of keeping the book moving despite the dense story. Cipriano presents the conversations in a fun manner, with the muttered commentary taking on a smaller point size, which adds a lively effect to the conversations.
The final page of this issue offers up the expected tie-in to "Justice League: Generation Lost." Fortunately for all involved (including us readers) Giffen's on both books, so there should be a naturally strong connection between the two stories.
While the "Booster Gold" title has been on my list since it relaunched, I was pleasantly surprised by this issue, and remain hopeful that this slight detour in the direction of the title might help this book gain more recognition. This is a title that I've been following for quite some, and I do not see that changing any time soon.