This is it. Booster finally meets one of his heroes but it doesn't go exactly like planned.
OLDER SPOILERS AHEAD
Title: "To Cross the Rubicon"
A boy named Jason Redfern (who prefers the name Fern) finds an alien the size of a toy which wants him to help it by getting to Superman. Since Booster is the only hero with his number in the phonebook he gets contacted. The interaction between Fern and the alien he dubs as "Z" comes across like a kids' movie. That said it does read a little stiff at parts with Fern and I prefer how another kid is written over him later in the series. Booster in the meantime is still struggling with his studies. His business ventures are working out better as the first issue of his comic is finished and his movie has it's script done. A call later from Trixie and a meeting is arranged between Booster, Fern and his little buddy.
To help get the man of steels' attention Booster uses the subtle method of publically challenging him to meet to save the Earth. Smooth. Fern of course refuses to hand Z over and can't wait to meet Superman. Booster admits that he's been wanting to meet him too. At the Daily Planet things get hilarious pretty fast as a reporter named Trish thinks about having two hunky superheroes meet. Noticing how she seems to favor Booster Clark wonders why. Trish thinks Booster is hot while Superman is dull. This is the beginning of the great rivalry of course but this part's downplayed by many. He's not just mad about Booster making money off of his hero image. Clark is actually jealous of Booster, it's always there in the background as people keep saying positive things about the new guy while being less impressed with him. It's why I can't be too mad with Superman over his jerky behavior. Actually now that I think of it he usually has a cooler head with hero/anti-heroes he doesn't agree with. At least he's not this petty. Still Clark figures why not see what's up and goes to meet the new guy in person.
Booster waits with Fern and Skeets nervous over his first meeting with the man said to be the greatest hero of all time. Someone who was his hero too. He hopes to get Supermans' approval and that it will help him get into the Justice League. Being part of the League was seriously a huge deal for him. Not just for endorsement deals sure to come either. It means he's a real hero, accepted and part of something legendary. The shot of Superman staring down on him really says it all for how their relationship began. Booster hopefully looks up at his idol who doesn't see anything remotely as impressive in him. It's inevitable that they wouldn't get along, at least at first but it's still sad to see that it won't go like he hopes. Booster states what a honor is, hoping their be friends and suggesting an easier way to contact the man of steel. It'd be kind of awkward to contact him like this all the time.
The art really shows the contempt on Supermans' face, a stark contrast to the brighter expressions on Boosters' face. Superman informs him that he doesn't have a problem being where he's needed. Furthermore he doesn't like what he sees in Booster and already used his x-ray vision to discover his powers comes from the suit he wears. Here's where things feel odd as Booster turns away saying he can't tell anyone his origins. Should that matter? Just ignore him and explain the reason Superman was asked to come. Instead he leaves with Fern trailing after him as Skeets decides to reveal the whole story to Superman despite warning Booster against letting others know the truth. It sort of makes sense as Skeets likely wants the two to be allies.
Only it doesn't work out so well. I guess the main thing I take issue with in this scene is Booster storming off when he could have just handed the Fern/Z situation off. It's not a smooth transition. Superman certainly doesn't come off too well in this exchange as he says that he'll find out either way. He has no reason to expect the worst out of Booster outside his own personal dislike. At this stage he couldn't find out anything anyway because the only ones that know are Booster and Skeets. Regardless this is when the origin is finally revealed. Jurgens wanted the museum Booster worked at to be closely linked to Superman, parts of the costume to be from Luthor, etc. This didn't happen since Superman was going through a reboot at the time. Instead the museum holds items from more heroes and villains. (The editorial also decided to say they were sorry by letting Superman have a crossover with Booster Gold. But that's near the end of the run so I'll be getting to that in due time.)
This version of the origin is one where Booster is motivated by more selfish reasons. Readers didn't like this which later lead to Jurgens softening it up by adding details about his mother being sick, a supposed friend that was a bookie and other add ons. Personally I don't have a problem with the original. It wasn't like most origins but it was very human. Booster as a character, in my opinion, is already pretty likable and I don't think the scandal takes away from that. It shows he made mistakes and lost everything because of that. This is his redemption he just goes about it in a different manner than the norm. He's not a bad guy, yeah he still does selfish things but it's a growing process. Booster could have become a supervillain, he chose to be a hero. Superman doesn't feel the same and judges him for his past actions as well as trying to profit in the present. This starts off the epic bond the two will share for years to come. Anyway Z makes himself known speaking in a language Superman can understand enough of to know a warship is coming. Sure enough one come and knocks them all out.
I wasn't a big fan of the Fern parts and after he shows Z to Booster he really has no place in this story. That will become clearer next issue. Other than that this was a good read I just didn't like it as much as the prior issues.
Did You Notice?: The cover has Boosters' height and weight listed as 6' 5" and 220. He's canonically taller than Batman and Superman but this isn't always reflected in the art.
The same commercial Booster shot previous is seen by Fern.
The flashback of Booster walking in Gotham has a statue of Batman in the background. Batmans' also shown during his class session.
Booster wears the cape for most of this. If I remember right this two parter is the longest he wears it.
Say What?: The "crime busting HQ" is mainly a set to impress reporters. I love how fake things are set up to improve his image.
Since Superman no longer knew the Legion of Superheroes from his days being Superboy he has no idea where the Legion Flight Ring Booster wears comes from. He'll meet them later on.
They explain that Fern has been fitted with a suit from S.T.A.R. Labs in case they go into space. I didn't like the explanation of this which made me wonder too many questions. Like where are his parents, do they know where he is and did he have to stay in this story?