Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #7 – Matt Fraction, Writer; Steve Lieber, Artist; Nathan Fairbairn, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: For the last few issues, this oddball title has taken a turn for the inscrutable. In Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #7, it rerails itself and the brilliant art and comedy is matched again by a compelling story. The big dangling plot since the start has been Jimmy’s mysterious family of talents and power brokers.
We get a little more into his history this issue with a series of hilarious “Lil’ Olsens” segments that show Jimmy and his older siblings as children drawn in the style of Charles Schultz and Chris Eliopolous. While the scenes are funny, they also shed some light on the family dynamic and show how Jimmy’s always been the chaotic side story to his talented sister and his ambitious brother. While he’s matures since then, we still see shades of this dynamic in his road trip with his sister Janie, as she attempts to ferry him to a safe city away from assassins only to run into an unexpected problem. The last two pages of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #7 deliver a great punchline.
Aside from the main narrative, a lot of the short segments in this comic deliver as well. There’s a flashback to Jimmy’s job interview at the Daily Planet, and it sheds some real light into why Jimmy wanted this job – as well as why Perry White puts up with him. The mysterious Detective Corrigan, investigating Jimmy’s “murder”, gets a little closer to the truth, while Lex Luthor finds out that Olsen men play hardball.
Fraction and Lieber seem to be positioning this series as some sort of comic, absurdist, Silver Age influenced take on “corrupt rich family” tales like Succession, and that’s a formula that shouldn’t work – but somehow it does. The only real problem this series has is that it often feels more like a series of gags than a cohesive narrative. With this issue, it seems to be getting closer to its central plot and it’s one I’m looking forward to following for the rest of the series.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.