Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #4 – Matt Fraction, Writer; Steve Lieber, Artist; Nathan Fairbairn, Colorist
Ratings: Ray – 8/10
Ray: One of the oddest books in DC’s stable gets odder in Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #4, an issue that takes Jimmy Olsen where he’s never been before – the realm of the bad guys. Well, if you consider being a YouTube troll a bad guy. Jimmy’s been exiled to Gotham to make money for the Daily Planet remotely in the plot set up in the first issue, and the best way he can think to do that in the most crime-ridden city in America is to prank everyone in sight.
He creates a flash mob of Jokers, he steals a tire from the Batmobile, and he petitions to rename the city “East Bludhaven”, all in the disguise of his new alter-ego Timmy Olsen. It’s a suitably bizarre way to start the issue, and Jimmy seems to be taking it a bit too far – something he tells Lois when he invites her over to see his conspiracy board. It’s clear that being in Gotham isn’t good for Jimmy’s mental health – but it’s definitely good for the comedy in the title, which is more over-the-top than ever.
I’m not sure if that’s completely a good thing. This is a very broad book at times, that takes Jimmy’s adventures from slightly surreal to almost full-on parody. His ambush of Lex Luthor in his private helicopter by impersonating a pilot takes several ridiculous turns as Jimmy becomes a full-on conspiracy nut, convinced that the plot to murder him centers around his family’s Lion statue that Luthor wants to demolish.
Lois is written well here, and the running gag about her constantly falling back on her smoking habit is a bit exaggerated but still funny. The art by Steve Lieber is easily the highlight of the issue, especially in the double-paged spread of the history of the Luthor and Olsen clans, and it’s great to see the artist paired with a writer who knows how to bring out the best in his style.
But this series always has a loose grip on narrative, and the next issue is often not at all what’s hinted. I’m hoping that’s not the case next issue, because this one leaves us one hell of a cliffhanger.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.