What surprises await Jimmy in Gotham City?  Your Major Spoilers review of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #2 awaits!


Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Steve Lieber
Colorist: Nathan Fairbairn
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Editor: Jessica Chen & Brian Cunningham
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 21, 2019

Previously in Superman’s Pal Jimmy OlsenOnly Jimmy Olsen knows what Superman’s secret superpowers truly are, and now those mysteries will finally be shared with you!  And only you.  Don’t tell anyone.  And Jimmy won’t have any of his pal’s super-abilities to help him get out of his latest jam as he hits the dark and dirty streets of Gotham City!


This issue opens with another chapter of the sage of JImmy’s ancestor Joachim Olsson, left for dead by Luthais Alexander (Lex Luthor’s long-ago relative) staggering into a tavern after being left for dead last issue.  As everyone responds to his not-being-dead, Joachim slaps a fist-sized chunk of gold on the bar and announces that Olsson is now rich.  More than century later, we find Jimmy in the midst of an awkward conversation with his heretofore-unknown d-bag brother Julian, who blames him for the destruction of the Monarch of Metropolis, the iconic lion statue, last issue.  Their argument turns physical, with Julian knocking Jimmy down and barely restraining himself from beating Jimmy senseless.  We get the full story of Jimmy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of Lex Luthor, spend some quality time with the Man of Steel (who explains that one of his secret super-powers is the ability to get anyone to buy him a hot dog) and delve deeper into the mystery of Jimmy’s “death” and exile to Metropolis, ending with him calling in backup… in the form of Lois Lane!


This book is enjoyable on a number of levels, but the most interesting part is the use of multiple time-frames and narratives on display.  The back-and-forth storytelling gives us a much more nuanced take of Jimmy than we’ve seen, showing us the man inside the green suit and bowtie without downplaying his nonsensical adventures.  (There’s actually a multiple-page montage that shows us his many ridiculous and/or sublime adventures, from kissing aliens to turning into monsters to fighting Brainiac with a ball peen hammer, and it’s glorious.)  Fraction’s script makes it clear that even Jimmy sometimes thinks he’s nothing but a goofball, and shows us a personable, playful Superman unlike any in recent memory.  Lieber’s art makes the total package, though, as all every character has dynamic facial expressions and body language, with detailed (and wildly varying) settings throughout the issue.  He even makes Lex Luthor a terrifying sociopath, going from sneering disdain for Jimmy to an overly-broad smile during a public appearance, all the while making it clear that it’s the same character each time.  I’m interested in the mystery, but the journey is ass important as the destination, and this is a great journey.


In short, this Jimmy is a cool distillation of all that has come before and shows why the character is important to the DC Universe, giving us a street-level view of Superman, Luthor and the ongoing shenanigans of Metropolis without making it dull or colorless.  Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #2 is a fun issue, with really wonderful art paired with an interesting story that makes it clear hwo and why he’s Superman’s pal, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars overall.  Perhaps the best part of all of this is a Superman that I’d really enjoy hanging out with, and I’m really looking forward to seeing Lois in action next month.

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A Grand Tableau

The back-and-forth in time and the mutliple streams make for a fascinating study of a character who tends to get played for a fool or taken for granted, with some lovely art to make it all sing.

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About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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