Friday, June 26, 2020

Review: Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #11

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #11 came out this week and was another smashing chapter of what has to be the most criminally underappreciated book on the market right now.

I don't think I use the word 'genius' a lot on this blog. But what writer Matt Fraction and artist Steve Lieber are doing on this title is genius. Somehow they are able to tell us a story, a nonlinear story about an assassination attempt on Jimmy Olsen, while just simmering in the pure joy of the Silver Age and the Bronze Age. This issue is no difference, even crossing company lines at one place.

And yet, instead of this just being a parade of homages and silliness, it tells a compelling story. And one that could become a big part of comic canon. And a new mystery is brought into play! Let's compare that to other Superman based maxi-series out right now which haven't really showcased the title character or told much of a story.

Lieber is called upon to illustrate this madness and he continues to shine here. There is a fight scene where you have the Reign of the Jimmy Olsens, Enemy Ape, Arm Fall Off Boy, and Dex-Starr fighting robots. And yet, there is consequences and punch to that scene of insanity.

There isn't a lot to celebrate about 2020. This book deserves to be recognized for the joy it is.

An alien warlord is ripping through Connecticut trying to marry Jimmy Olsen's alien wife Jix.

Jimmy needs help. So he heads into space and recruits Hunya and the Scrubb to help him with this problem. Jimmy is legally married. There should be no contest here. In a bunch of schoolyard rules and ethics, he describes how Jix is his wife. And Hunya agrees. His alien armada will help Jimmy fight the Jive Turkey.

That's right! It's Hunya from the famous Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali Treasury. So, of course, he is going to have the lingo of someone from the 1970's.

Small touches like that - a deep cut cameo locked into the time they were introduced - is what I mean by genius.

Meanwhile, the Porcadillo has told the Metropolis PD that Julian Olsen commissioned the hit on his brother Jimmy.

But this is Metropolis. These cops have a side hustle. They are on someone's payroll. One guess ...

Meanwhile, in Connecticut, Janie, Jix, and the Professor continue to try and hold off the Warlord and the Kevin robots. Janie talks about all the unguents they have used  to hold them at bay.

But then a new mystery! The Professor has an Olsonogram, a device which can find Jimmy whereever he is. And it says Metropolis! But how can he be? We know he is in space! When asked if the machine could be on the fritz, the Professor says absolutely not. He'd stake his reputation on it.

Of course, when you are wearing a garbage bag poncho and a newspaper hat, you have to wonder about the reputation. That is a nice subtle sight gag you have to be ready for or you'll go right by it.

Jimmy arrives and all heck breaks loose as every weird guest star all show up to fight for Everybody's Pal Jimmy Olsen. Jimmy even joins the fray wearing Metamorpho as a sort of battle suit. (Weird!)

It's a Crisis ... sort of!

One panel doesn't do this several page surreal fight justice. Please buy the issue.

Jimmy chastises the Warlord by saying Jix gets to make her own decisions.

And then he does the right thing, handing her annulment papers.

One more Olsen wedding in continuity and annuled.

In Metropolis, Julian is confronted by Lex Luthor.

Julian has bankrupted the family and put the hit out on Jimmy. And Lex knows it.

Julian has lost. Lost to Lex. And Lex loves a great picture.

Lieber is fantastic here, laying out the expressions of denial, shame, and guilt on Julian as well as smug satisfaction on Lex. Perfect.

With the Warlord issue wrapped up, Jix asks Jimmy where he will go next.

It's a big universe out there.

Like 'bitten by a radioactive spider', dressed as Wonder Woman with a beehive hairdo, Metron Jimmy, Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Jimmy, Flash-Jimmy on a stationary bike 'big'!

Are these ideas Fraction couldn't get to? A hint at the sequel? Or just random images?

Please, let me see some of these played out!!!!

And then we get a Jimmy Olsen credo of a sort. He either chases down weirdness or it chases down him.

That should be Jimmy's tag line from now on.

Even Jimmy wonders about the ping on the Olsonogram. Who could it be?

I immediately wondered if Julian is somehow Jimmy's unknown twin brother. But Julian is clearly older.

So now my guess ...

Jimmy, the real Jimmy, is in Metropolis. Maybe hiding. Maybe undercover. Maybe in suspended animation.

This Jimmy, the Jimmy we have been following, is actually one of the assassination clone decoys, but one that has come to life somehow. The Mr. Action we have been cheering for all this time is a replicant!

With one issue left, we are poised to wrap up this story. Time to bring in Superman.


We are at a place where I feel that the story can be finished in one issue. Somehow, despite the zany side adventures, Fraction and Lieber have moved the main story along. We are there! I can't help but compare that to my feelings after Lois Lane #11, a book that has meandered.

And the adventures that Jimmy has had feel ripped right out of the Silver Age, all while tinged with modern sensibilities.

This has been a fun wild ride of a maxi-series. I can only pray for a sequel!

Overall grade: A

1 comment:

Martin Gray said...

What a treat this series is and it really does look like the creators will stick the landing. If they can do even the occasional one-off Jimmy special after this, I’ll be delighted. The only bit of Silver and Bronze Age Jimmy business this book hasn’t touched upon is Lucy
Lane... maybe she could have a girls’ night out with Jix?

I really hope the Jimmy we’ve been with isn’t a Ben Reilly deal, that would make me pull a face!