Friday, December 20, 2019

Review: Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #6

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #6 came out this week and was another great chapter in this amazing, label defying book by Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber. Since the beginning, this book has been equal parts action, mystery, zany science fiction, and pure humor. How such an omelet has gelled is beyond me. But somehow this team has pulled it off.

Prior issues of this title have felt like a jam piece of tangentially connected anecdotes showing how crazy Jimmy's life is. This issue, Fraction pulls the purse strings a bit, bringing some of these chapters closer together, as if a big picture is coming more into focus.

And, it turns out, that Jimmy has a special and truly unexpected benefactor in this story. Shocking.

Add Lieber's clean pencils and you have a winner. After seeing this book, I want to see Lieber do a comic about boxing. He draws the best bashed in faces!

On to the book!

This book has been written in a nonlinear style leaving it to the reader to piece together the chronology.

A few issues back we saw Jimmy arrested for some crime he didn't commit.

Now we see how he was sprung. It was Lex Luthor who gave the police the tip to arrest him. A day later it was Luthor who exonerated him. That's strange.

Knowing Luthor, my thoughts immediately thought that Luthor didn't want Olsen out on the streets to interfere with some evil scheme. Perhaps I am right.

I do love that Jimmy Olsen's alibi for the crime was that he was hanging with Superman in a televised event. It shows the power of Lex. He could override that ironclad defense.

Next we see interdimensional jewel thief Jix about to get remarried.

Thankfully, the narrator in the always amusing chapter openings reminded me that we met Jix in the Olsen part of the  Leviathan Rising special. Whew ... I don't know if I would have remembered that on my own.

Ahhh ... Leviathan Rising. Where my Blue Beetle Leviathan Theory really seemed like a lock!

It turns out that Jix is in line to marry some ogre-like alien. Alas, she is still legally married to Jimmy so the union can't go through.

But this whole thing is ridiculous. The groom has enslaved Jix's world. She can't be too happy with that. And when the ceremony can't proceed, he wants her taken to the flay-pits. That's not nice. I love the look of consternation on her face.

But best of all, I love how she yells smoke bomb. And how the effect of the bomb suddenly blurs the panel borders, the only panel to do that, as if to show the spread of the cloud. Nice subtle touch.

We again trip backwards in time as some of the details of events that have been shrouded in mystery become clear.

Here we meet Nathan Guy, the assassin who shot Jimmy's clone corpse.

This was far and away my favorite chapter. We see Guy wander through this world commenting on its inherent beauty and how he is taking stock in his life. Earlier we saw him put six bullets into the LMD. What a cauldron of contrdiction.

Just fantastic. An assassin who ponders the beauty of a Mondrian while casually offing someone. I love how he is whistling happily.

But then he steps into the wrong cab, one driven by Eve Tessmacher.

Turns out that Lex doesn't like hits being put out on people in his city. He wants to know who hired Guy.

After all, Lex already had Jimmy thrown in jail to protect him from the contract. And all Guy did was shoot a clone. Ahh ... so Lex had Jimmy arrested to protect Mr. Action. That is a nice wrinkle and only furthers my theory that Jimmy's brother is behind the assassination attempts.

Guy won't talk, taking the coward's way out.

Cool to see Miss Tessmacher!

All these facts about Jimmy being arrested and released on the word of Lex is confirmed when we see the murder investigation by Detective Jim Corrigan ... no not that Jim Corrigan.

That's hilarious!

And it isn't only the plot about Jimmy's murder that gets pushed forward.

Here we see that Dr. Mantel saw  horrible visions in the microverse, of a world overrun because of Jimmy. I love the smirk on Superman's face as he says Jimmy's antics are always hijinks and not universal threats.

But that plot has to be real. We'll see more.

Back in Gotham, we catch up to what I think is the present with Jimmy and Janey attacked by thugs, probably out for the hit money.

I love how Dex-Starr has become a low key guest star in this book.


But the most perfect part of this book has been Fraction's perfect representation and near parody of Batman.

The Dark Knight swings in to save the day.

He immediately praises Janey for her plays giving a succinct commentary about her play with some 10 cent words and analysis. Then he tells Jimmy he hasn't figured out who wants Olsen dead. He then sees the Batmobile's tire in Jimmy's apartment. It is just ludicrous.

And then a moment I didn't think I would see in this era of an unstoppable Bat-god. Batman is basically broken. He can't deal with Jimmy any more. He can't figure out who wants Jimmy dead. And he is done trying to figure it out. Jimmy is on his own.


This book, month in and month out, is the balm for the dark comics that burn on the shelves.

I can only hope, once this maxi-series ends, that we get more of this team and these characters.

Overall grade: A


Gear said...

This is one of the most entertaining books in my pull list. I wish DC would put out a few more titles that are this much fun.

Martin Gray said...

Great review of a wonderful issue, it’s so great that what seemed random vignettes are indeed being shown as linked. And seeing Jim Corrigan III, presumably the son of patrolman Jim Corrigan from Jimmy’s Mr Action days, made me grin...hey, perhaps Meg Tempest, who debuted in the same issue as Corrigan, will show up after all.

And speaking of throwbacks, boy, that awkward smirk on Superman’s coupon doesn’t half evoke the great Kurt Schaffenberger’s work.