Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #5 Review

by Jay Hill on November 20, 2019

Written by: Matt Fraction
Art by: Steve Lieber
Colors by: Nathan Fairbairn
Published by: DC Comics

In Gotham City, war has been declared between Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen and Batman, a prank war to be exact. Jimmy’s mischievous alter ego, Timmy Olsen, has started a fight with the Caped Crusader and this battle of wits and whimsy is putting our, already on the lam, protagonist in quite the predicament. Meanwhile, back in Metropolis, the mystery of Jimmy Olsen’s "murder" has taken an explosive turn.

This was another great issue of a great series. Every element of this comic is amazing. The prank war has started off with a bang and so has Jimmy Olsen's faux funeral. We're getting closer to discovering Jimmy Olsen’s hidden enemy. This issue featured a flashback that added to the last issue’s relaying of the Olsens/Luthors’ historic rivalry and with it, we are getting context moving us closer to the answers. The forbidden romance segment of this issue was one of the highlights. It only lasted a few pages, but the writing and art were in synch. Matt Fraction is still showing that he, like Batman, is hilarious. I laughed out loud numerous times. Especially at the fact that Jimmy’s goth-y sister named her play “i hate you dad”. I immediately liked the character of Janie Olsen, and hope there are more plans for her in the series. The fleshing out of the Olsen family is starting to become the best part of this series. The Batman of this issue was introduced with a scene that may have given more context to why Jimmy/Timmy chose to go after him. And, the reasoning given for why he’d jump into a prank war was as funny as the prank he pulled.

Just like the writing, the art is consistently great. Lieber is an artist that can use slight lines on a character in the perfect spot to give them detail. This issue, I noticed how great his character work is. His faces are expressive and are shown off in close-ups, and his group scenes where you can see multiple characters’ bodies shows off his ability to enhance the details of fabric and clothing with a few well-placed lines. Just like Fraction, Lieber’s best moment in this issue, for me, was the flashback scene. The period setting is drawn beautifully. And although only in this issue as a flashback, I love that his Superman is reminiscent of the “golden age” build in Superman's body; like Charles Atlas. The coloring also stood out to me more this issue. Not only when I noticed the change to a warmer palette in the flashback, but when looking at the backgrounds that are purely detailed with coloring. It’s easy to overlook it since it is paying homage to the flat coloring of old, but it is impressive when dissected.

I think it’s now safe to say, this series will go down as one of the essential arcs of Jimmy Olsen. It’s looking into his past and giving him a history that is tied to that of Metropolis itself and one of its most famous residents. The introduction and exploration of the Olsen family is beginning to be the series’ best element. Added to that, his unpredictable personality, a continuously interesting mystery and a hilarious prank war with Batman, and it makes this one of the best books being put out by DC and a must-read.

Our Score:


A Look Inside