Saturday, February 8, 2014

Golden Cameos: Action Comics #594

Originally Booster Gold was going to be closely linked to the Man of Steel mythos. The museum he worked at was going to be a Superman museum, which meant many of the items he took were going to be things from the lore. But Superman was being rebooted and as a way to make it up to Dan Jurgens DC agreed to do a crossover between the two heroes.


Title: "All that Glisters"

And what better way to open up a Superman/Booster Gold crossover than a shot of the bat signal above Gotham city. Batman and Robin arrive at the scene to figure out why the signal isn't coming from the police station. Robin is Jason Todd and unlike the last Booster Gold cameo I covered I knew Jason would be in this one since I've read this comic before. (*1) I like that Batman is very frank and at the same time very much a parent. Telling Robin to hold the line with both hands is such a small detail but I like what it says about him. Jason himself acts more like a kid than people expect, he's new to the part so I kind of expect to see him more excited. Like pre-crisis this Jason is a Superman fan and this is his first time meeting the guy. While I can understand Jasons' amazement it's a little weird to see Batman calling himself a mere mortal compared to Superman without being sarcastic much less admit something was beyond his own abilities. I can't say if it's the writing or it's just how Batman used to be but it's odd by todays' standard Dark Knight. Seeing them praise each other just comes off a little Twilight Zone-ish.

For some reason Superman decided to call with the bat symbol instead of showing up and Batman figured it was him which is why he brought his partner. Because he figured he'd like to meet Superman and that's actually rather sweet. Superman gives Batman a scrapbook to go over for clues and Jason asks for an autograph. There's a little too much explaining the how and why for Superman using a sheet of metal for the job for my taste but again that was the style of the time. Batman congratulates him for having the town throw a Superman day which does surprise him. In his thoughts Superman thinks how Robin brings out the best in Batman and how great it is to be loved by his city.

Trixie walks down the street only to be shocked by the posters of Booster Gold saying anti-Superman messages. I suppose I'm used to writers not researching the Corporate Crusader because I remember being surprised that Trixie not only thought how Booster is in another dimension but the fact she was briefly a superhero. There's also the detail of her privately referring to him as Michael. It's certainly more accurate than things are in comics lately but sadly the rest of the comic doesn't match up so well. She's shocked to see Booster back out of the blue as he flies off to blast a Superman statue.

At the Daily Planet Lois is furious that she's being assigned to get information from Booster instead of going to a conference. This part actually annoyed me, it acts like she never talked to him before and isn't thrilled with wasting her time. In Boosters' own book she considered focusing her attention on him since Clark had Superman covered. While she wasn't fair in the Rainbow Raider arc it ended with Booster saving the day. Before that she was fairly open minded, not swooning over him but realizing he was newsworthy. This scene happens right after the statue smash and she's not even interested in finding out why? Maybe Lois isn't aware of it yet but she isn't aware of the posters either? At Boosters' press conference he says that Superman must pay for his crimes since he invaded a foreign country. I didn't read the issue in question but this made me smile because of Superman telling Booster off for rushing into a situation with foreign power that he didn't understand.

Lois gets pissed off and says Booster expects to get paid for his services. Uh that's not how he works and she should know that. Booster does endorsements (or did as he's not currently doing so) and has his own business. He's not a hero for hired, never has been. I don't think the JLI paid them at this point if ever. With her rep Lois should know all of this regardless if she's just saying it to paint a broad picture of him selling his image vs. Superman. He in turn points out she's been called Supermans' girlfriend (which she denies and says has nothing to do with what she says) and that the Daily Planet can hardly be called unbiased. Which is actually a good point since reporters aren't supposed to take sides just report the news. Well in theory anyway.

The mayors' office debates keeping Superday then Booster only being in it for the money. Booster comes in and kidnaps the mayors' daughter to get Supermans' attention. Since she refuses to call the Man of Steel he makes her yell then declares she's going to be in pain to really get Superman rushing over. Sure enough Superman flies over to find her beaten up then the fight begins. He's surprised that Booster is actually hurting him this time and seems much stronger.

Lois and Perry talk over her piece slamming Booster which Perry tells her to rewrite. Good thing to as she hears about the fight and decides to race over to cover it. She arrives to Booster standing with the defeated Superman at his feet. Then a newcomer arrives calling Booster a two-bit imposter. That's right the REAL Booster Gold is here now.

Overall: This was a hard read even if I read this before. The reason for "Booster Gold" being a jerk in this makes sense but that doesn't make it any less uncomfortable. Trixie is the only person that really supports Booster and she's not involved in any of the debates. Pretty much everyone else badmouths Booster and praise Superman. In the BG Jurgens had both heroes act in rash ways. Neither came out looking perfect and the rivalry was a lot of fun because of it. This was uneven and felt mean-spirited. Superman is loved by all except Booster and most dislike Booster. Kind of iconic that no one mentions Booster being the one who's actually in the JL huh?

Having "Booster" attack a woman also felt very unneeded, it wasn't show but the implications are brutal. A straight forward fight between Superman and him would have been much better in my opinion. There just wasn't much charm in this and there were only three parts I liked. The Superman/Batman/Robin scene, Trixies' brief appearance and the reveal of the real Booster Gold on the last page. So technically there's only one page for the team up in this thing. If you collect the first BG series you might want to get this issue just so you're not surprised that there are two Booster Golds or see why Trixie thinks Booster lied but otherwise it's not needed.

*1 This is post-crisis Jason Todd not pre-crisis hair dying circus Jason Todd. How do you know? Because Booster Gold was the first hero (character?) to be created after the crisis and anytime you see him you know the crisis has passed. I do think it's possible JB thought this was Dick since Superman acts like there wasn't a prior Robin just mentioning how positively having a young partner affects Batman. Regardless while Jason is never named this is his first time meeting Superman and as we saw in the TT Booster cameo Jason is the Robin at this time.

Did You Notice?: The cover is a callback to the last time Superman and Booster Gold clashed.

The timeline is a little wonky here as Trixie tells Booster she saw him a day before Michelle's funeral in BG. This whole issue seems to take place on the same day. If it didn't then Lois should have mentioned Booster destroying property the day before.

Say What?: Apparently Lois was part of the paper since she was 16.

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