Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #2 – Matt Fraction, Writer; Steve Lieber, Artist; Nathan Fairbairn, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: Matt Fraction is a writer who always manages to surprise, and he can be an acquired taste given how offbeat and non-linear many of his books are. Superman’s Pal JImmy Olsen #1, a comic tale of Superman’s best friend was surprisingly straightforward, so I should have known to expect a zigzag at some point.
Superman’s Pal JImmy Olsen #2 has four plots, not all of which connect smoothly, and yet they still manage to come together into a wildly entertaining but thoroughly chaotic whole. We don’t pick up with Jimmy in Gotham where we ended last issue, but rather back in Metropolis where (after a brief flashback showing the origin of the Olsen fortune) we learn more about Jimmy’s cold-blooded older brother Julian. The two have a tense relationship with Julian seeing Jimmy as a loose cannon that wrecks everything he touches, but the reveal that Julian is an anti-gentrification activist and rival of Lex Luthor’s adds some interesting layers to the character and gives me hope he won’t be a one-dimensional antagonist to his brother.
From there, Jimmy tries to stay out of trouble for a day, which leads to an entertaining and surprisingly heartfelt segment where he attempts to interview Superman about his “secret powers” and not cause any property destruction.
Fraction’s Jimmy is great, but I think my favorite part about this issue may be his Superman. It’s one of the first times in years I can remember a Superman who actually feels like the gentle, affable farmboy he’s come across as in the best story. This is a Superman who feels like someone’s best friend.
Steve Lieber’s art continues to be fantastic, especially in the segments showing Jimmy’s many bizarre transformations. We don’t revisit the Jimmy-in-Gotham plot until the end of the issue, where he’s suddenly immersed in a murder mystery that pulls in Lois Lane. This could be a good story, but the ending is sort of abrupt and the Metropolis segments are the stronger ones. Still, this is unlike anything else in DC’s stable right now and I can’t recommend it enough.
But where’s Dex-Starr?
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.