JIMMY OLSEN #1
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Steve Lieber
Colorist: Nathan Fairbairn
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
Rating: 7/10 bow ties
The first time you see Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen in this book, he’s falling out of a spaceship as he turns into a giant man-turtle for some kind of kids’ charity event. It just happens. And you have to be okay with it.
I’ll admit that Jimmy Olsen isn’t one of my favorite characters. I have nothing against him but he just doesn’t interest me. But when DC announced a 12 issue series by Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber, I was pretty stoked. What I love about Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber is that they go all out with the absurdity in their projects.
This book is absurd. It definitely follows in the over-the-top tone of the original Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen book. What surprised me is that the issue isn’t one story. Instead, it’s a bunch of funny short Jimmy-hijinks that connect to a bigger plot.
Look out for some cameos and surprises littered in the issue. I won’t mention them because… well, it’s just… I’m not going to let it all hang out, okay? (Some people are so inconsiderate…)
Some of the short stories involve a flashback of one of Jimmy Olsen’s ancestor’s (hilariously) being pushed off a cliff by an employee of the Luthor family. Then Jimmy becomes a giant turtle during a charity event and Superman has to save him as he plummets to earth and causes a lot of property damage. After that, Jimmy moves to… Gotham City? All he has to do is stay in his dingy apartment and try not to get “moidered”.
The appeal of this book doesn’t come from its connection to that Leviathan event. It comes from two talented creators who get to let loose on a crazy story about Superman’s Best Friend. I dig Fraction and Lieber’s senses of humor and look forward to seeing what they do with the next eleven issues.
Lieber’s art moves on the page and Fraction’s writing makes me chuckle.
This is a good time to mention Clayton Cowles’ lettering. It pops and it’s some of my favorite lettering in a while. I know it’s solid work because I’m still thinking about it. Cowles’ lettering added a distinct personality to this issue.
I dig this issue because I appreciate self aware comics. Fraction and Lieber are both very self aware creators. Steve Lieber is one of my favorite artists in the business working right now. The visuals he creates have an identity of their own. Superman’s Pal wouldn’t be the same without him. Just check out Lieber’s work on The Fix by Image Comics or The Superior Foes of Spider-Man (about a Sinister Six with five members). Both books are collaborations with Nick Spencer (and they’ll both make you laugh).
Matt Fraction knows how to mix humor with emotional moments. He did it well with his creator-owned SEX CRIMINALS(if you know, you know). I’m curious to see how drama will be used to balance the humor in later Jimmy issues.
My biggest gripe is how you won’t know what’s going on with the Event Leviathan plot (unless you’ve been keeping up with it) . This book is still a spin-off of an event, anyway. My hope is that it does it’s own thing for the most part because Jimmy’s hijinks are the best part of the book. If the book does do its own thing, then I’d say that new Jimmy readers can still have a good time with this. That said, if you want some solid art and a good laugh, I’d pick up the first issue of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen.