Booster Gold is stuck in a futuristic hell of his own making where everything is a twisted version of its rightful self and all the characters are crazier than loons…including Booster.  All this was done to show Bruce how messed up the world would be if his parents were to have survived, and surprisingly, Bruce doesn’t care one iota.  He is more interested in personal happiness than the well being of other people.  The good of the one outweighs the good of the many kind of thing.  Bruce is happy as can be.  That is, until Booster sets a plan in motion to kill Bruce’s parents.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t turn Bruce into a force for good, rather into a completely messed up version that bears no resemblance to the Bruce we know and love.

So, Bruce becomes…The Punisher???

Will Booster be able to set things right, or are we forever stuck in this pocket timeline of insanity?

Like Booster, I think I may be loosing my mind.  Why is that you ask?  Because I actually liked this.

In my previous review I acknowledge that there are some major flaws at play, but since they were flaws I was ignorant to, they didn’t count against the sensibilities that I usually adhere to.  Likewise, the fact that all of this is made up makes it impossible for me to judge it to my typical standards of how well things adhere to the way they are supposed to be.  It was always going to be impossible to judge this story in that way because the point of it is, none of it is the way it’s supposed to be.  With that, I was left to fall back on the humor of it all.  And it is exceptionally fun.  Which is why I am enjoying it so.  It’s been one of those rare instances where I’ve been able to primarily see a story for it’s positives while being almost entirely unaffected by its negatives.

The fact that I’ve enjoyed all three parts of this storyline puts me in a peculiar predicament.  Throughout King’s run, there hasn’t been a single arc in which  I have enjoyed every single installment.  There are definitely one-shots that I have given 9s and 9.5s to.  But no multi-part story has earned full passing marks in my book thus far.  Until now that is.  Yep.  This silly ridiculous little story did it.  Now what am I supposed to do, recommend this to people as the best story in King’s Batman run?  People will look at me like I’m crazy (and rightly so), because really, while this story is fun, it’s totally not what I think most people want to read about when they pick up an issue of Batman.  Fortunately, there is a little loophole to this.  While this story does take place in the pages of Batman and involves Batman characters, I still think you’d be hard-pressed to say that this is a Batman story.  Nope.  This is a Booster Gold story.  So, yay!  I found an out.  “Good Boy” from Batman Annual #1, along with Batman #38 and #44 are still my favorites and I don’t feel foolish recommending them at all.

In any case, I don’t think it’s a huge spoiler to say that things obviously work out.  I mean, I don’t think anyone ever expected that this would become the new status quo or anything like that.  If it had, that’s when I would have gone into “Brandon mode” and given it a huge unadulterated no-holds-bared piece of my mind.  But as it stands, let’s see how things unfold, shall we?


As the story starts off, we are greeted with another “One Year Later” plaque, the same way issue #46 opened.  And if you thought Booster was crazy after being trapped in this backwards and upside down timeline for only a year, wait till you see him after two years!  Eh, I’ll cut the suspense and just show you:

Look everyone…insanity personified.

Here is the gist of the story.  Punisher Bruce wants Booster to take him back in time before his parents were killed so he can kill Batman and Catwoman before they kill his parents.  That’s it.  Pretty simple.  There are some twists and turns, and it gets a little more complicated than that, but that really is the basic plot.  The real fun to be had here, once again, is Booster and all his goofball antics.  I can’t get enough of this crazy coot (and that term works even better now that he is sporting that insane beard).

Seriously though, I laughed out loud 9 times before getting even halfway into the book.  It’s non-stop humor with this guy.  Considering that everything that I loved about this story had to do with the humor, and I’m not about to just sit here and tell you all the jokes, I don’t really have too much more to say about the issue.  It’s just something you have to read for yourself since the humor is so situational and tied up with the visuals and timing and all that.  Trying to explain the jokes isn’t going to be anywhere near as humorous as if you just take the time to read it for yourself.

Spoiler

  • I thought the parallel at play between young Bruce “dying” and future Bruce actually dying was interesting.  It’s always been said that the night Bruce Wayne’s parents died, Bruce died with them, because on that night, Batman was born.  So, to see a Bruce not just figuratively, but literally, dying at the sight of his parents death was a rather intriguing bit of storytelling.

Interesting Facts:

  • King decides to change things up and make it that Bruce and his parents saw Don Quichotte, a French play, instead of The Mark of Zorro.  The purest in me knows that this is completely wrong, however, there is something about this that I find interesting.  But it’s not the switch that intrigues me.  It’s the fact that King, once again, incorporated something French into a Batman story.  The most notable time was when he had Bruce, The Joker, and The Riddler sit down to a 9-course French Dinner in Batman #29.  But he has done it on several other occasions, this being the most recent one.  Now I’m super curious as to what King’s connection is with France.  Is he French?  Does he have distant French relatives?  Did he marry a French woman?  Did he spend a significant time in France while he was in the C.I.A.?  What is it!?!  I have to know!!!!

Recommended if…

  • You want to laugh, and laugh, and laugh.

Overall:

Tom King is a funny dude, and the humor present in this story illustrates that quite well.  If you are in the mood to laugh, this is definitely a story you are going to want to check out.  Admittedly, the very end takes a seriously dark and disturbing turn filled with introspection and parallels, but up till then, it’s non-stop laughs.

SCORE: 8 / 10