Jimmy Olsen and his sister Janie are on the run from the police and perhaps a murderer. What thrills await them in the boring town of Calvin City? Find out in Jimmy Olsen #8 from DC Comics!
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Steve Lieber
Colorist: Nathan Fairbairn
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Editor: Jessica Chen and Alex Antone
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: February 19, 2020
Previously in Jimmy Olsen: Jimmy along with his sister, Janie, are on the run. Somebody wants him dead. Could it be the Luthors? Could it be the international jewel thief he married on a whim in Gorilla City? Could it be Batman? Meanwhile, the police are looking for him to, in relation to the murder of a police detective. Life is never dull when you’re Superman’s Pal!
SUPPOSEDLY DEAD AND ON THE RUN
We’ve come to expect a somewhat meandering tale, and Jimmy Olsen #8 is no exception. Have no fear; all these little vignettes do work together and are parts of the narrative. Arguably, this is a structure that is more like the way real life works, although considering that this is also Jimmy Olsen we’re talking about, “real life” is not exactly what we’d expect for him.
As the story opens, Julian Olsen is sitting down to a privileged breakfast when the headline in the morning paper causes him to do a coffee spit-take. Remember that Metropolis believes that Jimmy is dead. Apparently now that Olsen-shaped hole is being filled by four more Olsen-adjacent Olsen’s. There’s a cyborg Olsen, not to be confused with the steel Olsen (a man of steel – I get it!), a skater-kid Olsen, and a super-model Olsen.
But wait – the supermodel Olsen is actually two kids in a supermodel Olsen suit! (File that under sentences I never thought I’d write.) Indeed, the Jimmy Olsen fan club is doing their best to keep up some semblance of him in Metropolis. At least they’re busy with this right up until the time they’re evicted from their headquarters by Julian Olsen himself.
But what about the real Jimmy? He’s off in Calvin City, CT, masquerading as Spanish-speaking reporter Jaime Olsen. We get a riff on Calvin Coolidge’s Calvin College, which isn’t quite “Who’s on First?” but is verbally amusing. Olsen’s problem is that he just cannot find any exciting news in this town. His thin disguise doesn’t fool Calvin City’s major, who is elated that he’s here. Calvin City is not exciting, and maybe the “Olsen Bump” will put them on the map. (“Olsen Bump?” Basically, the disasters that follow Jimmy lead to those sweet, sweet, federal disaster recovery dollars.)
Later that evening, as though on cue, or perhaps carefully scripted, a spaceship plows into their rooms, and it’s Dr. Mantel and Jix. Jix (who needed Jimmy to annul their hasty marriage) punches him and reminds him he had one job from the last time he was in Gorilla City. You mean the time he was transformed into a giant, mindless guy? Jimmy goes to Gorilla City a lot; it’s hard to keep track of things. And then Jix’s husband-to-be arrives. Too bad they don’t have any transportation or money to get out of town…
THE MANY FACES OF JIMMY OLSEN
Small details matter in Jimmy Olsen #8. Julian’s reaction to the newspaper is funny, but then we’re treated to one-page treatments of the newspaper stories. The cyborg Olsen is interesting and surprising, but they get funnier. The second story features a steel statue of Jimmy which is right in the road where a criminal crashes into it. As the police arrest him, we see some kids in the background taking the statue away on a dolly. It’s a brilliant set-up for the “two kids in a human suit” gag, which is admittedly silly but still delightful.
As we get back to Jimmy, I think he runs through practically every facial expression known to man, and it’s priceless. Frustration, caution, and boredom give way to a whole slew of cheerfully honest, if somewhat clueless, expressions as the angry Jix tries to get some sense out of him. Having Jimmy take things literally is a great way vehicle for the humor. And I had to take some time to appreciate the double page splash where Jix’s supposed-to-be husband arrives. I think Calvin City got more than it bargained for in seeking out the “Olsen Bump.”
BOTTOM LINE: A ROLLICKING GOOD TIME
I think what I like most about Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #8 is that underlying the vignette style, there is a story going on where all these little pieces of seemingly random narration matter, or eventually pay off. It’s a lot of fun.
Dear Spoilerite,At Major Spoilers, we strive to create original content that you find interesting and entertaining. Producing, writing, recording, editing, and researching requires significant resources. We pay writers, podcast hosts, and other staff members who work tirelessly to provide you with insights into the comic book, gaming, and pop culture industries. Help us keep MajorSpoilers.com strong. Become a Patron (and our superhero) today.
Jimmy Olsen #8
Jimmy isn’t even in town twenty-four hours before the weirdness hits.