As I mentioned to slugboy via e-mail, it started out pretty good. For a while, Johns tricked me into thinking that maybe the writer of "Stars and STRIPE" had returned to give us a nice, fun action-adventure time travel comic book - without his usual injection of "pointless angst" to mess with the fun. Booster flits around time righting things that others have set wrong - kind of a superhero "Quantum Leap" or maybe "Peabody and Sherman" given his team-up with Rip Hunter. And for the first part of the book things are actually great - Johns has Booster be both creative and relatively "grown-up" about his predicament as the guy who no one can know is really a hero.
And then Johns has Rip Hunter torture one of his enemies for information. There we go - that's the Geoff Johns I was expecting. Let's inject some pointless angst into this nice action-adventure comic, shall we?
After that, I started to lose interest in the story. I started looking at everything with a cynical eye, suspecting that every plot turn is just another way for Johns to set up his characters for failure. I have no faith that the "happy ending" at the end of the book is anything but Johns setting up a more extended version of the "lesson" that Rip Hunter taught Booster Gold about the impossibility of changing history. I'm also fairly certain that "Future Beetle" will turn out to be a villain who has manipulated Booster into setting up something bad that will enable the Future Beetle to take over the universe or something. And I haven't poked around the Internets for spoilers, so as far as I know this may already have happened in the monthly title.
So that's that - if slugboy snags the next collection from Half-Price Books I'll probably read it, but this didn't do anything to convince me that I needed to start picking up the monthly series myself. And it unfortunately reminded me of why I have a negative reaction whenever people start talking about Geoff Johns - he's a decent writer, but his incessant need to throw his characters into pointlessly angsty situations just drives me batty.
One final observation - the premise of the series has a definite piece of "fridge logic" that jumped out at me about a day after I finished the book. Booster has to be an ineffectual superhero because Rip tells him that if anyone knows that he's actually responsible for saving the world, his enemies will be able to hunt him down in the timestream and kill him as a baby to stop him. Fair enough. But then Booster continues to fight time-travelling baddies as Booster Gold. And he's effective at it. Which means that the guys who he most needs to fool into thinking he's an ineffectual doofus are the ones who know that it's just an act. It would have made more sense if Rip had had Booster use his doofus-hero identity as his "secret identity" and then use the persona of Supernova when he's battling baddies in the time stream. Not a huge deal, but it is a bit weird when you stop to think about it.