I’ve been compiling material for a forthcoming book called APOCRYPHA (which will be given free to former newsletter subscribers). In doing so, I’ve been digging deep into my archives, and have found two-dozen plus projects that died on the vine. A few weeks ago, I posted the outline for one of those projects, a novel called DAY OF TERROR. You responded with requests for more, and since I’m under the deadline gun and don’t have time to generate new content here, let’s take a look at another one.
As has been reported (by Bleeding Cool, The Outhouse, and others), I was to be one of the writers on DC Comics’ upcoming FUTURE’S END, but I ended my involvement with the project before scripting began. During that time, I was asked to pitch several other projects, including ANIMAL MAN, RAGMAN, VIGILANTE, and BOOSTER GOLD. What follows is my pitch for the latter. It should be noted that the only guidance I was given was, “We want Quantam Leap meets Doctor Who.” It was my impression (and only my impression) that editorial didn’t really have a vision of what to do with the character when they rebooted their line-wide continuity. This was the solution I offered, but it was ultimately rejected. It should also be noted that all characters in this pitch are the trademarked properties of DC Entertainment, and absolutely no infringement is intended. The pitch is offered here merely for educational purposes.
Quantum Leap meets Doctor Who…
THE PROBLEM: Booster Gold doesn’t fit in the New52. The most prominent reason for this is because readers don’t yet have a sense of history for the New52. They’ve seen only glimpses of its past and future. Booster is a time-traveler. That rich sense of history is what should inform him and drive him, allowing readers to identify with him. All of that is missing. I propose that Booster and the readers discover that history together.
THE FIX: So far, Booster has been seen uncontrollably phasing in and out of time. (It’s been hinted this might be the doing of Rip Hunter). What if, each time he jumps from one time period to another, Booster loses a little more of his memory, to the point where he becomes an amnesiac? As his journey toward self-discovery then begins, so does the reader’s connection with him — and thus, we have a broad tapestry in which to explore this character in ways we never have before, while simultaneously exploring the history of the New52.
I envision each issue as self-contained, focusing on Booster in a different time period. But there is a deeper, more mysterious sub-plot running through all of the issues, ultimately culminating in Booster rediscovering who he is, and unraveling the mysteries of his past (the death of his sister, what’s really going on with Rip Hunter, etc.)
THE FIRST SIX ISSUES:
1. Booster and Skeets materialize in Earth’s Cretaceous period, and Skeets is eaten by a Tyrannosaurus. Booster must ultimately fight the beast. After defeating it, he decides to search the dinosaur’s stomach for Skeets, but before he can, he phases out of time again and appears on the deck of a ship off the coast of 10th century “Vinland” (North America), where he is knocked unconscious and captured by Viking Prince.
2. Viking Prince interrogates Booster, believing him to be magic (which would account for his strange garb and sudden appearance). Booster tries to convince him otherwise, but in recounting his tale, is alarmed to discover that he can’t remember certain things about himself. He breaks free of his bonds, but does not attack the Vikings, proving he means them no harm. He then accompanies them ashore, where they encounter Arak, son of Thunder, and members of his tribe. The Vikings and Native Americans are suspicious of each other, and a battle ensues, but Booster diplomatically brokers peace between them (reminding the readers that he’s not just empowered by his suit and future weaponry, but also his charisma and showmanship). During a feast between the two groups, Booster phases out of time and appears in the ruins of Metropolis, where he is confronted by a walking, talking dog who introduces himself. “I’m Doctor Canus, and this is my boy, Kamandi.” When Canus asks Booster for his name, he can no longer remember it.
3. It is revealed that while Booster knows he’s a time traveler and can remember periods of history, he can no longer remember his name or any of his past, nor how he came upon his suit and equipment. He knows, for example, that he’s in the era of The Great Disaster, but doesn’t know how he knows that. Canus and Kamandi offer him shelter within the confines of a Tiger-controlled city ruled by Prince Tuftan. Both Kamandi and Canus are intrigued by Booster — talking humans are a rarity in this era. Booster is soon drafted into helping them repel an invasion by intelligent rats. One of the rats seems to have superpowers similar to that of a Red Lantern. The tiger army is helpless against this foe, and it is up to Booster to tackle this new menace. But then Booster sees a young human female killed and has a flashback to the death of a similar woman. Unbeknownst to Booster, this flashback is the death of his sister, for which he was responsible. As Booster struggles with this memory and is incapacitated, the rats regain the upper hand and breach the city’s defenses.
4. Still struggling to make sense of his flashback, Booster is on the run with Canus, Kamandi, and Tuftan. But as the Red Lantern rat lays siege to the city, Booster fights back. He defeats his foe, even as the others repel the rats once and for all. It is revealed that the rats seek an artifact—a mythical golden lasso—which the tigers supposedly hold. Tuftan doesn’t know what they are talking about, but mention of the lasso inspires another flashback for Booster — a powerful woman and a super man, whose love doomed the world… but before he can unravel this new memory, Booster fades from reality again, and appears in a World War II foxhole with Sergeant Rock and the men from Easy Company.
5. Booster’s grip on reality is slipping further. Now he can remember nothing, including how to work his futuristic equipment or suit. Panicked, confused, and terrified, he finds himself fighting alongside Rock and the members of Easy Company who are surrounded by German forces. Outmanned and outgunned, things look grim for them, but the men of Easy Company refuse to fall. Just as the German forces close in on them, Booster fades from view again… and this time finds himself floating in a black void.
6. In the void, a voice speaks to Booster, saying it’s all his fault. He cries out, desperate to understand what is happening to him. Then he finds himself in the cockpit with Enemy Ace. Throughout this issue, his time jumps increase in rapidity, as he pops in and out of reality and history like a cork bobbing on the surface of a fast-moving stream. He encounters the Justice League 3000, the Lady Johanna Constantine, Hiroshima as seen in Superman Unchained, the Demon Knights, Anthro, Bat Lash, Big Anvil, and many more. Bewildered, frightened, and bordering on the edge of a complete mental and emotional breakdown, Booster then appears in a futuristic looking chamber. As he lies trembling on the floor, curled into the fetal position, Rip Hunter, Skeets, and a future version of himself appear and loom over him. The time for explanations has come.