by Jay Hill on October 16, 2019

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

The last issue saw, SPOILERS, I don’t know why you’re reading a review for issue #4 if you haven’t read issue #3, but still, SPOILERS: The death of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen (or, at least, a decoy) and the birth of irresponsible blogger, Timmy Olsen. As the story picks up Jimmy/Timmy is holed up in a ratty tenement in Gotham City. He is accompanied by his co-worker Lois Lane and explains what he has been up to in his new city.

Under the ingeniously named alter ego Timmy Olsen, Jimmy has been on a city-wide prank fest. Recording and posting such hijinks as: filling Dr. Fate’s helmet with bees (which he is allergic to), pestering billionaire Bruce Wayne with questions about him possibly being Batman, and, if that didn’t put him on Bruce’s bad side, he eventually brings to life the famous Christmas tune and steals a wheel off the Batmobile (no news on if Robin laid that egg, though).

This may sound unlike the Jimmy Olsen we’ve come to know, and that Lois knows, but it is apparently the personality of Timmy Olsen. And, Timmy has gained popularity despite, or maybe because of, his deplorable deeds. This is a, well-deserved, dig at modern-day influencers and prankers which plague sites like YouTube. And, although what Timmy is doing is terrible, he has many real-life counterparts doing things just as bad to just as many millions of viewers (we’re looking at you, Logan Paul).

In his Gotham abode, Jimmy Olsen is going a little stir crazy. This de-evolution into Timmy, and Jimmy’s descent into madness, isn’t helping with Gotham City’s apparent reputation of producing maniacs. And, in his manic madness, Jimmy has created a sociogram or “crazy board” to track his conspiracy of who is to blame for his misfortunes and murder. The board leads to none other than, the untouchable, Lex Luthor. Looking to Lois for confirmation that he is on the right track and also looking a bit like he belongs in Arkham, Jimmy explains to Lois the Olsens and Luthors' historic Metropolis blood feud. A feud that spans generations back to the formation of the city. Lois tells him that his obsession has caused him to miss the truth and she hopes he hasn’t told this incomplete conspiracy to anyone else.

Unfortunately, Jimmy/Timmy, in his self-assuredness, had hijacked a Lexcorp helicopter that was transporting the CEO and expressed to a confused Luthor that he was on to him and would get his revenge. This, although ill-conceived, was impressive, since Jimmy/Timmy did what many have tried and failed at, he got the last word in on Lex Luthor. And after doing so, absconded from the helicopter via parachute.

This was an exciting, intriguing and entertaining issue. A hard line to balance as perfectly as it did. Fraction’s writing knew when to be funny and when to be engrossing (I’m convinced this issue of pranking came to be just to use the brilliant pun “Olsnapped”). His use of classic feeling comic book prose with alliterations and hyperboles is great. And he can keep it feeling like a flashback of DC’s golden era while keeping it fresh and modern.

That is also helped by Steve Lieber’s art which is similarly reminiscent, but new and Nathan Fairbairn’s colors that harken back to the flat four-color style without keeping the disadvantages of that era. The art really shines when we get the Olsen/Luthor history via a splash page of Jimmy’s crazy board. The art and lettering blend together to make the page easy and entertaining to read. Your eyes follow the board's map and a miniature Jimmy as he relays the history, definitely a highlight of the issue.

It can’t be overstated how fun this issue and series is. After seeing Jimmy go through different transformations via body mutations, it was an interesting change seeing Jimmy’s mind be tested and his personality be split. And the underlying mystery of who has it out for Superman’s Pal is still a pull. But it seems that will be put on hold because Jimmy has to answer to an enemy Timmy made, as, in the next issue, the Olsen/Batman prank war begins.

Our Score:


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