Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fire and her odd friendship with Booster

Out of the core 5 JLI members (Booster, Ted, Tora, Bea and Guy) I have to say I like Bea the least. I'm not really sure why, she just never caught my interest as much as the others. It's strange too because she has been in Boosters' place in terms of losing a best friend. 

I do find her relationship with Booster to be an odd one. (Granted none of the JLI bonds seem typical.) Both are big flirts, models, etc. But Bea always gave me the impression that never seemed sure of what to make of Booster. Like she knew he was hiding something and that bugged the hell out of her. 

I could never see the two dating because of how they interacted in the past. She flirted with Ted (who usually ignored her) and usually insulted Booster. When he played the photo shoot prank on her it seemed more like a gag to piss her off than a "I'm pulling your pigtails" sort of thing. Even when she makes the effort to be there for him like in 52 she ends up giving up on him. And well, Booster always comes across more vulnerable to me.

In ICBINTJL/FKATJL it seemed very random for them to hook up when I never saw the signs that I've seen with Oberon, Guy and Gavril. Neither seemed to be overly concerned about the other as anything more than a friend. Rucka and Johns write her differently as Bea tells Booster and Guy to leave knowing that their there to tell her about Ted. Knowing that Booster is going through the exact same thing she did--worse because he didn't know who his best friends' murderer was. Johns has a different take. When she turns up in JSA asking Powergirl for helping tracking down Teds' killer Bea admits that it hurts to see someone else go through this. And says she has to be there for him. While she does fight along his side she doesn't reach out until 52, storms off and apparently never showed up to his funeral. 

In the timeline where Ted lived she's thrilled to see Ted but rather cold when she sees Booster. Interesting to note that while Tora was filled in on Ted and RRs' deaths as well as Maxs' role in them neither one mentions Boosters' supposed fate. Were they ashamed for him? Something else? Either way they know he was supposed to be dead later on. When he saves Jaime revealing that he's alive their shocked. And when the JLI visit graves Bea is the one chiding Guy for talking about Ted saying that if anyone is going to say anything it will be Booster. I liked that scene not just because it says a lot about who Guy is but because it feels like something she'd do with Tora. It's understanding, protective, a reason to jab at Guy and it's more than a little bossy.

Here's how I see their relationship: It's a friendship where they see a little of themselves in each other which is one of the reasons there's never been romantic tension between them. I think Booster likes to push her buttons, not like Guy does, but just for fun every once in a while. Because her reactions are priceless. She's someone he knows will be there when he needs them but she's also one of his worst critics. Usually saying things he doesn't want to hear and/or things he already knows. He trusts her (*1) but I don't think he really gets her 100%. Remember how shocked he was to see what Guy was like before the brain damage? I don't think he has a clue to how dark her past as a spy is. Sure he knows she was one but it's likely something he wouldn't give much thought to. Nor think she'd be blackmailed into the things she did in Checkmate for Waller. 

I think he'd be more shocked than Tora was and less understanding as a solider like Guy would be. Given how he reacted with Magog it might make a good story with him trying to understand how Bea got trapped in something like that. He'd get the need to earn a fathers' approval but likely have a hard time seeing how she could kill for someone. I do think he'd get over it but be uncomfortable with the notion that there was someone else he thought he knew but didn't.

Bea doesn't fully get him either. She tries hard to be a good friend and be there for others but he frustrates her to no end. I don't think she writes him off as a complete moron it's just that she can tell he has potential that he seems to be ignoring. Booster comes off badly and she knows damn well that he's capable of more yet he shows no interest in trying. As a result she does buy into the act a little, often surprised when he does show his potential and do things she didn't think he was able to do. So when he takes charge of the new JLI she's stunned to notice, "Booster is our leader"?! Sure her and Cap call a few shots, after Boosters' speech in JLGL #2 she even tries to tell him something before Tora interrupts. 

But it's plain to see that she's impressed, not enough to give him a pat on the back (not until everyone has to) but enough to run things by him instead of telling him what their doing. Enough to mention the oddness of following him to Ice (*2) , there's never any conflict to listening to him. Of course Beas' a little out of sorts when he demands to know where Max took Jaime but then again Boosters' never really yelled at her--or anyone else--like that before. While Bea is willing to let him lead she seems puzzled with his genuine concern when he asks if she needs to talk after their Checkmate attack. I don't think she really sees how much Booster truly cares until the team overhears his talk with Skeets over what they think is Jaimes' body. If they heard all of it then it might be the first time Bea really gets a good look into who Booster is. 

*1 Booster did let her come up with the plan to get into Checkmate after all.
*2 The art may have Ice telling Bea that Booster is the leader but the back and forth of the conversation implies Bea was the one to inform Tora.


  1. I've always found Bea to be one of the more enjoyable JLI characters, probably because she is so much like Booster. Bea, like Booster, has always been very selfish. Their need for external gratification and support has always made them an ill fit romantically, but they are so much alike it would be hard for them not to find common ground for friendship.

    Honestly, that's how I personally interpreted the end of ICBINTJL: not as the beginning of a romantic relationship, but as two people with a friendship tempered by history who could console one another over during shared pain over lost comrades. Remember that Ted had already been killed in the DCU when that story was published, and the end was a very meta-textual kiss goodbye to the character.

  2. I'm not saying that I don't enjoy her character, I do. I'm quite fond of her and her interactions with the others. I just find the others a bit more interesting. That might change when I get into more Checkmate back issues.

    I could see that but even so it seemed a little sudden and kind of random given their interactions in that series. Sure he flirted with her but he also flirted with just about everyone and was OOC for most of it. She was furious with him, for trapping them in hell among other things.

  3. I love Bea to death. Not quite as much as Tora, but she is an...interesting character, and one that certainly deserves a lot more attention.

    It's true though, that I have never ever gotten any sort of sexual vibe from Bea and Booster. I think that Booster is younger than she is, for one thing, and as gorgeous as he is...there just isn't the chemistry there. Plus, they are both attention hounds, at least Booster certainly was at the time, and they were probably in direct competition for the spotlight a lot of the time.

    I think that they are friends of course, in the way that the old JLI WERE friends...more like family really. I think she's fond of him in a sort of exasperated way. And maybe vice versa.

  4. Same here, Tora won me over more than Bea did. She's a lot of fun though.

    I could see Bea treating Booster like she does because he's younger than her. Yep, never saw the chemistry either. True, I could see that getting on her nerves (because Booster often won the attention contest) but not so much with him. Booster would likely get a kick out of it.

    Ditto with everything you said although I really do think he was more amused than exasperated with her.