Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Review: Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #5

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #5 came out this week and while it nudged along one of the main subplots of this maxi-series, it was mostly Jimmy and Batman punking each other.

I don't know if I have ever laughed as long or as hard about a comic as I did with this one.

For me, the idea of an infallible and ultra-prepared Batman is semi-ridiculous. The fact that he has stood toe-to-toe with Darkseid, single handedly defeated the Justice League, and always has the right tool in his belt, stretches even my suspension of disbelief, and I will tolerate heat vision and sorcery!

So to see someone poke fun at Batman the way writer Matt Fraction does here is just perfect, a needed deep cleansing breath. And he also shows that maybe Batman has a sense of humor as well, a needed bit of humanity in the otherwise incessantly dour Dark Knight we get.

Artist Steve Lieber continues to bring solid art to the book, ranging from moonlit dinners to action sequences. But it all starts with the brilliance of this cover. Jimmy clearly can't handle the Batmobile. But even better is the fast food flying everywhere. I doubt Batman goes through the drive thru.

On to the book!

We start out with a classic scene of Bruce Wayne having dinner with some comely blond at an exclusive restaurant. The paparazzi are out in droves.

And for once, the woman isn't fawning over him. Instead she agreed to the date to up her social media presence as an influencer. She isn't interested. Even when he says he's Batman.

But the tone is set up by Fraction's description of the restaurant. Three fusions of food ... ludicrous.

This is Gotham.

Superman arrives with Jimmy to tell Batman how Olsen will be staying in the city for a while.

The first panel, almost Mazzucchelli in its starkness, begins the ribbing. Batman drones on about the dark nature of the city. And he rebuffs Jimmy's intro.

So emo! Such a meanie!

And then he gets angry at Jimmy taking his picture, smashing the camera out of our hero's hand.

Jimmy says the words we all have wanted to say. Batman ... 'what an assh___'!

Look at Superman's apologetic face. He knows his buddy is a mess.

I love this. LOVE!

We then cut to a riff on the Godfather. This starts similar to the opening scene where the undertaker Bonasera says he believes in America.

But this is someone who makes big props and was duped into helping Calendar Man. Now he has been labeled a villain by Batman. He needs 'Timmy Olsen', Jimmy's needling internet persona to get Batman's attention to try to rectify this.

We cut back to the scene of Timmy hiring people to dress like the Joker and hit an ice cream shop. We saw that earlier this title. What I love is that Batman didn't punch him in the nose (as stated earlier). Instead, Jimmy broke his own nose by running into Batman's chest.

I never thought about the people who make the giant props we see in Gotham. So again, this was innovative and hilarious.

Then we see Bruce Wayne using the toilet in Wayne Enterprise. He hears some employees talking about getting cash payments to fake laugh at Wayne's lame jokes.

It turns out it is Alfred, trying to spare his boss some humiliation.

In perhaps the best twist, we see that Bruce thinks he is funny and is constantly cracking jokes. Who would have ever thought that!

Remember earlier in this series when Dr. Mantel was killed in a subatomic accident and Jimmy and Clark just laughed it off. Turns out he wasn't dead. Just lost.

He pops out of Jimmy's coffin at the funeral of his decoy corpse. Nice way to go back to that storyline and perhaps have a new lead in who is trying to kill Jimmy.

While Lex is the leading suspect, it has to be Jimmy's brother sitting there under the umbrella at his brother's funeral.

Again, there is too much to laugh about here. Metamorpho gives a eulogy but it really is just to say Jimmy owes him money and he is going to hock Olsen's television to get what he is owed. Bizarre and fantastic!

We then get our first true nudge of a plot progression.

Lex is investigating his family's past. He discovers that somewhere in the past an Olsen and a Luthor had a star-crossed romance, one denied by their powerful families. As a result Jimberly Olsen and Hannah Luthor never married.

She married into the Hamblejamb family where she had 3 children. But there is the photo with 4 kids, one tall and redheaded in the background. Perhaps somewhere out there is an Olsen/Luthor lovechild?

Hmmm ...

We then meet Janie Lane, Jimmy's younger sister, a goth-y playwright.

Jimmy fills her in that he is still alive.

When they head back to his apartment, the see a Batman-covered gift package at his door. Inside is the blood vomiting Dex-Starr, last seen plaguing Jimmy in Leviathan Rising special!

I hope you are all laughing, because it doesn't get better than this.
Seriously, this book is such a balm from the gritty, serious, Year of the Villain, nonsense we keep being force fed.

Hope we continue to get Olsen books from Fraction even after this mini-series ends.

Overall grade: A


Martin Gray said...

I love this book, it's so funny, and different, while fitting into the DCU if you don't think about it much. I like that Jimmy has not just ancestors but siblings. I wonder if he still has a hot mom, and an archaeologist dad.

I was a bit confused by the timing of Batman being introduced to Jimmy, that implies it was years ago as they clearly would know one another today, but if this is part of the current trip to Gotham... best not think about it!

Didn't Silver St Cloud used to be involved with giant prop conventions, or something?

Martin Gray said...

Oh, and maybe Lex got his traditional red hair from the Jimberley side of the family?