Last issue saw Boosters' origin now it's time for the actual team up with Superman.
OLDER SPOILERS AHEAD
Title: "The Lesson"
Taken aboard an alien ship the man in charge, Lord Galeb, charges them for becoming allies with a traitor Ranzee--or as we previous known him, Z. They explain that they had no idea what any of them were saying until that moment, which is thanks to Galebs' wife who has magical/psychic powers. I kinda have a pet peeve with this just because it takes me out of the moment. If it's new characters with mixed genres working together it kind of throws me off if this is just mentioned in a off hand sort of way. Yeah the magical part was already alluded to but the way it was written felt like a quick explanation.
I forgot how much the Blaze Comic book guys were featured in this. Their bit in the issue isn't really important besides annoying Trixie but her choice in clothes is noteworthy. Usually she wears more demure long sleeve shirts and skirts. Her more business minded attire is classy. The more important part of the business side of the story has to do with the introduction of Jack Soo. He's being employed by Dirk to be Boosters' tech guy and will help bring two very important elements into the Booster mythos. The first part is spelled out for us (although the readers at the time had no idea what direction it would take) as Soo is tasked to create a female supersuit. The idea being to give Booster a partner in crime fighting that will be as adored by the male audience as Booster is with the female side. So literally promoting more sex appeal. Well, that was the reason it was created.
Back to the Superman/Booster team up--to be honest I've never been too thrilled with this issue. The dialogue has too many explain for the audience moments and well Fern really feels like a unneeded tagalong for this. The only reason he's there is because he demanded to be. What purpose does he serve to the story? His bond with Ranzee is sort of used at one point but it's not strong enough to make much of a difference. After that he's just scared the heroes will kill each other. I do like how Superman and Booster react differently to Ranzees' story. Experienced logic versus impulsive emotional reaction. I'm pretty sure Jurgens wrote them on opposite sides of this argument during his Justice League days which makes it hilarious in hindsight.
Dirk gets the start to his own character arc as he gets a phone call with his daughter Sarahs' voice on the end. Unless he does what he's told she'll die.
Through the powers of Lord Galebs' wife they know that the heroes kind of got pulled into this mess so Galeb is willing to let everyone but Ranzee go. Ranzee is sentenced to death something that doesn't sit well with Booster as he attacks. Why was Booster so affected by Ranzees' story? I don't think it was just because of his inexperience being a hero. He can relate to losing love ones even if his are simply out of reach. His time is more or less a police state and he can certainly get behind the idea of making a new life for one's self. To his credit he does start to see Supermans' POV but he can't bear the idea of letting Ranzee down after he lost so much.
I liked the surprise at what gets Booster to stop, it's a shocking moment to be sure. But the conflict sort of fizzles down with a couple people telling him that he wasn't thinking. Superman berates him for not getting more than one side of the story but how do they know they can trust the word of Lord Galeb? I suppose Skeets could have done a DNA test to confirm everything but it wasn't mentioned. Plus Galebs' wife (who I don't think was ever given a name or spoke once) was basically a deus ex machina for the whole story. Two thirds of which are off panel and given her power the conflict shouldn't have lasted as long as it did.
I'm not sure if this story would have done better if it was longer. On the one hand the main point is the meeting between the heroes and that Booster still has a lot to learn. On the other the alien plot doesn't have a lot of meat to it and it would have held more weight with me if there was more going on with it. I do think this is one of the weaker issues thanks to the conflict centering around something that is resolved by believing someone elses' word. Fern suddenly doesn't care that his friend is going to die because of this? He believes it too? I just couldn't get into it as much as other issues. Still to Jurgens credit he doesn't make Superman in the wrong just to show his hero in a better light.
I don't think Superman came off much better since his obvious dislike of Booster makes him pretty petty. Sure his thoughts during the fight are the type you'd expect as he mainly goes along with it to wait out Booster anger and get through to him. This isn't always the case though. His reaction to finding out Lois plans to interview Booster shows how annoyed he really is with the new hero in town. Her frank explanation is sure a blow to the ego even though she doubts Booster has the staying power. Apparently Clark Kent told her that he doesn't like him either so this opinion was partly formed prior to their meeting. So really both have faults and that's a pretty decent and unique way to explore their relationship.
Did You Notice?: Booster wears his cape for the whole issue and it does come into play during his fight with Superman. Just not how Johns/Katz said it did. Superman just grabs it to toss him.
John Byrne does his own version of the cover that has the heroes positions reverse. I'll look over that one when the cross over happens. I'm not sure I'll cover all the tie ins/crossovers that happen during this run but I don't plan on doing JLI.
Say What?: According to Boosters' answer he weighs 215 not 220 as the previous months' cover listed. He could have lost weight but a later issue might suggest otherwise.
If Galebs' wife could scan their minds while they slept to discover their innocence then while didn't she do it before when she first knocked them out?