I’m generally conflicted about how I feel about Time Masters Vanishing Point. On one hand, it’s a really interesting addition to the Booster Gold/Rip Hunter mythos that Dan Jurgens has been working on since he created Booster in the 80s and up through his run on Booster Gold, a book I enjoy. On the other hand, the book never lives up to its mission of finding Batman in the time stream, because that was being done in Return of Bruce Wayne (which I haven’t read all of yet). So, essentially, it’s like paying to see a movie featuring only a few side characters that don’t have much to do with the actual story, but might be appealing to a few people in the room, like if there was a Star Wars flick just about Chewbacca and C-3PO hanging out. It might have fun character moments, but overall it doesn’t really matter to what’s going on in the larger story, assuming the larger story here is the one of Batman’s return.
The idea behind the book is that Hunter and Booster are trying to find Batman after the events of Final Crisis, but they’ve also got Superman and Hal Jordan along for the ride which leads to the typical, “You can’t save those people because they’re meant to die now,” arguments which are boring and tired to me. I can’t be the only one, right? The story also suffers from another plot point I’ve seen a million times where the time travelers get thrown into different periods where they encounter obscure characters some people might be familiar with. In this case it’s Claw and a female warrior named Starfire, but not the Titan. I don’t care about those characters and therefore don’t really care about the adventures featuring them.
However, I really liked the bits that could have just as easily been shown in Booster Gold. Rip talks about his childhood, growing up as the SPOILER son of Booster. See, Rip is Booster’s son, but Rip as an adult is teaching a younger version of Booster how to become a Time Master. There’s also some moments featuring Supernova and Booster’s sister Michelle (who was also plucked out of time before her death, it gets confusing, I know, but it winds up making sense) that I really enjoyed.
I also really enjoyed Jurgens’ artwork, as I have been for quite a while. He was one of the classic Superman artists back when I started reading comics. I think of his style as very iconic and have a fondness for it but also appreciate how he creates these big bold figures that always look as impressive as they’re supposed to be. He has “iconic” down pat.
Overall, it felt like this whole “Let’s find Batman” idea was foisted upon the Booster Gold creative team which might explain why the big story beats are kind of rote and boring while the more specific, character beats are rad. The only bit that bothered me was Hal Jordan’s relentless haranguing of Booster for being a fame whore. How can you be all high and mighty when you’re the guy who tried to restart history? I don’t care if it was because you were possessed, YOU STILL DID IT! I thought that Hal characterization was off, but my buddy Ben has always thought he was a jerk, so maybe it does fit in. I think I’ll be keeping this volume around just because it will work as a good bookend to my Booster Gold collection, but if I read through that book again down the line and don’t enjoy it, I’ll probably bounce them all.