Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle are getting married. This has left their friends with one big question: what do you get as a wedding present for the man who has everything and the woman who can steal anything?
This question inspired Booster Gold to think seriously. This is something that rarely ends well given Booster Gold’s inexperience with thinking in general, never mind anything approaching a serious thought. Still, Booster concluded that rather than something material, he would get his old buddy Batman an experience. A feeling, if you will. The sense of well-being that comes from knowing that your life truly means something.
Naturally, Booster being Booster, he totally messed it up.
Now, the world Booster Gold knew is gone. The Penguin is now The President of the USA. Ra’s Al Ghul rules an empire that takes up most of what was Europe and Asia. Multiple Jokers are running wild in the streets of Gotham City and Batman is now a gun-totting murderer obsessed with killing any metahuman who comes to Gotham before they too are transformed into Jokers.
Yeah. This is going to take more than one issue to fix.
Your enjoyment of Batman #45 will ultimately come down to one simple question – can you abide a character being written out of character for the sake of a joke? If the answer is “yes” and you aren’t particularly attached to the character of Booster Gold, you’ll probably laugh yourself sick reading this issue. If, on the other hand, you are a fan of Booster Gold or have enough respect for the concept of inter-universe continuity to decry any character being subverted for the sake of a story, you’ll probably just shake your head in sad acceptance or go vent your spleen on Twitter.
Understand that I have no objection to Booster Gold being portrayed as shallow or short-sighted. I don’t even have any particular objection to him being portrayed as a dumb jock. I do, however, have a problem with Booster being written as being so stupid as to alter the timeline in order to prove a point to Bruce Wayne and then return to an altered future… only to forget that he should be looking for Bruce Wayne and not Batman. Particularly when the whole point of this exercise is so that there was never a Batman in the first place! This is also particularly vexing given Booster’s recent role in Action Comics, where we saw he is still a defender of the timeline… for what little that is worth in a post-Dark Nights Metal, pre-Doomsday Clock reality.
Ignoring that, there are quite a few good bits of dark comedy in this issue, as we see what has become of most of the rest of The Bat Family in a world without Batman. The best one involves Jason Todd and a commercial for his business. The artwork is also fantastic, with Tony S. Daniel performing at his usual high standard, with an assist on the inks from John Livesay and Tomeu Morey providing the perfect finishes with some vivid coloration.
Despite this, everything still comes down to that question – can you abide idiot Booster for the sake of a joke? Personally, I cannot, but that doesn’t change the fact that this issue is technically accomplished purely in the terms of its craft beyond the premise.