Review – Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #3: Target Olsen

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #3 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #3 – Matt Fraction, Writer; Steve Lieber, Artist; Nathan Fairbairn, Colorist


Ray – 9/10

Ray: Less a straight narrative than a fascinating collection of shorts that are slowly coming together into a greater whole, Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber’s Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #3, as in issues one and two, takes place over so many different times, places, and characters that it can be hard to keep track at times – but you’re always left wanting more.

It once again starts in the distant path as the dark, yet Looney Tunes-inspired, battle of wills between Olsen and Luthor ancestors takes another violent and hilarious turn. In the present, Luthor gets a time capsule relating to that time period and it looks like the Olsen/Luthor feud might be reignited. But first, Jimmy is off on some other adventures. We get a better look at what turned him into a Turtle kaiju in the first issue (although the poor astronaut involved deserved better), and in another segment Jimmy shrinks to microscopic size and discovers just how horrifically close to death he comes in these adventures. It’s all very inspired by weird, gonzo sci-fi comics from the 1950s.

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It makes sense in context. Kinda. Via DC Comics.

But there is a central plot here, and it explains why Jimmy beat a hasty escape to Gotham City – beyond the management of the Daily Planet wanting someone else to suffer the property damage. It seems there’s an assassination plot against him, and after a bizarre slapstick segment involving an Assassination Dummy taking the bullets for him, Jimmy chooses to fake his own death and get out of town.

This may seem too bizarre to really capture any emotions – especially since the whole thing unfolds in multiple 2-3 page segments – but there’s a scene with Jimmy talking to Superman through his signal watch that packs more emotion into it than most comics do with walls of dialogue. I don’t know if this book is going to be for everyone – it feels very disconnected from the rest of the line, and the non-linear story and bizarre goings-on can be hard to follow – but it’s unlike anything else coming out in comics and I salute Fraction, Lieber, and DC editorial for going there.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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This post was last modified on September 17, 2019 9:06 pm

Ray Goldfield: Ray Goldfield is a comics superfan going back almost thirty years. When he's not reading way too many comics a week, he is working on his own writing. The first installment in his young adult fantasy-adventure, "Alex Actonn, Son of Two Seas", is available in Amazon now.
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