Monday, November 8, 2010

Review: Action Comics #894 Jimmy Olsen Back-Up

I don't usually focus on the 'second features' tacked on to the comics I read. But the Jimmy Olsen feature in Action Comics certainly has grabbed my attention. First off, Nick Spencer is taking over Supergirl in a couple of months so this is a way for me to get a better sense of his style. Secondly, unlike some of the other back material, the first part of this story was quite good ... snappy and engaging.

Would the second part in Action Comics #894 be as good as the opening chapter?

Last issue ended with a nice cliffhanger, Metropolis looks like it is going to be invaded by aliens and Jimmy says he is going to stop it.

Spencer opens this chapter a bit after that, dropping us into some action and then having Jimmy recall the events that took us from the end of last issue to the opening scene in this one.

The book starts with Jimmy in a spaceship with a lovely female alien who seems to be a bit tipsy. She ends up crashing her spaceship into the Daily Planet globe. It is amusing how often that globe is involved in disasters.

When Perry goes to investigate, the diva alien asks for some alone time with her new BF. Huh? As with last issue, this chapter seems to grab the Silver Age idea that Jimmy somehow worms his way to the center of incredible and crazy stories that are spinning a bit out of control. How did he get here?

Well, it turns out the alien fleet isn't on Earth to invade. They are there to party. They have an annual bacchanalia and are looking for the next planet to host. So this is an advance group to see if Earth fits the bill. Of course, the leader is a young beautiful woman alien who thinks that Jimmy is the cat's meow.

Should Metropolis open themselves to these partying aliens? The mayor calls on Jimmy and his LexCorp nemesis Sebastian Mallory to hear their opinions.

Jimmy has some reservations, wondering whether or not this is opening the citizens to danger. Sebastian is thinking about this from a purely financial point of view ... tourism, alien cash flow, prestige. For an emotional hook to his presentation, he wonders what would have happened if Metropolis turned away another alien looking for a home ... Superman. He is slick and the Mayor buys into it. The aliens can party-hop around Metropolis, as long as Jimmy is their tour guide.

To make matters worse, the aliens can get drunk on oxygen. It really is going to be a party. And so, Jimmy ends up in a ship that crashes into the Daily Planet.

With a little research by Chloe Sullivan in the background, it turns out that when the aliens party ... they really party. The hosting planet gets trampled beneath their dancing feet, razed and ruined.

There is only one way to keep the aliens away, Jimmy needs to be boring! If Earth isn't fun, the Dalwythians will move on.

I like this story as it really seems to capture the zaniness of early Jimmy stories albeit with a more modern flair. It is a very slick story, funny and irreverent with lots of pop culture references. It clearly was written to be an amusing story, not heavy or gritty. And as such, I think it is a nice contrast to the deeper darker main story with Lex. This chapter didn't sizzle the way the first one did but it was still fun and makes me want to read the next installment. That's always a good thing.

Overall grade: B+/B

1 comment:

Kandou Erik said...

I hate these Jimmy Olsen features. It was only a year ago that James Robinson was making Jimmy Olsen into the coolest side-kick possible. Now he's this lazy bum waiting for adventure to come to him.

This preview of Spencer's writing definately has warded me off from continuing Supergirl.