Olympia #3 Review

by Jay Hill on January 30, 2020

Story by: Curt Pires & Tony Pires
Written by: Curt Pires
Art by: Jason Copland
Colors by: Dee Cunniffe
Lettered by: Micah Myers
Published by: Image Comics

Elon is attempting to help his favorite comic book hero return to the pages he came from. With the news that the Olympia comic has been canceled, Elon and Olympian are now on their way to find the creator of the book, Kirby Spiegelman. Hopefully, they can make it to him in time or the comic won’t be the only thing that meets an untimely end.

With such a heavy cliffhanger, this issue had to find a delicate balance. Not just with the serious subject matter, but also in comparison to the mostly light-hearted tale it’s told so far. I think it achieved that with precision. This issue focuses on the creator of the Olympia comic. Not the Olympia comic I’m reviewing, but the Olympia comic inside the Olympia comic I’m reviewing. The creator, as seen at the end of the last issue, has reached an emotional low point. We are given some insight into his life and why he thought this was the time to end it. The narrative is a well-written exploration into a man’s life plagued by poor events. But this is more than just an indulgence of misery or an illustration of a tortured artist. Being that this is an ode to comics, and a great one at that, it couldn’t have been done to its fullest without addressing the unfortunate history of the medium’s mistreatment and mismanagement of its talent. The character of Kirby Spiegelman gets his first name from a creator that’s career was full of mistreatment.

As Spiegelman experiences his string of bad luck, a score of emotional and philosophical questions enter. While Curt Pires still makes great use of cinematic, dialogue-less scenes, this issue made even better use of dialogue. Spiegelman has a few drunken monologues, an important chat with his mentor, and even an outburst at God. The father/son elements of this story continue to get deeper. Spiegelman finds a father figure in his mentor Wally Toth, a grizzled veteran of the comics game. Spiegelman also has a son. And, Spiegelman is the “father” of Olympian. The themes of this book are crafted so neatly. This digression wasn’t one that seemed needed for the book, it was doing quite well without it, but once you read, it becomes obvious that Pires knows exactly what he’s doing. I’ve praised his scripting before, but this issue merits another applause. The pacing of this story is like one of a great drama film. And, the larger uses of dialogue are great and assists in giving this issue a distinct mood. I thought this book was unique and creative before this issue, but this adds another level of greatness to this series. It was apparent from the first issue that this comic had more behind it than a fun little wish-fulfillment romp, but to change tones and show a completely different side has given this series more substance.

The guest artist for this issue is Jason Copland. Copland was able to bring linework that is reminiscent of the style of the book but with tighter lines that bring in a certain humanity. He uses thin, scratchy lines to create the messy hair and stubble of Kirby while also using swooping lines for his facial features. The 9-panel layout also helps with the details shown in shots. That panel layout is great for character shots, cinematic cuts, and dialogue rich scenes. Dee Cunniffe stays on colors but uses an identifiably muted palette to match the tone of the story. Seeing Cunniffe work with another artist shows off what they bring to the table. This change in artist feels almost necessary given the nature of this issue. It seems like it could have left an overcast over the rest of the story if it kept the usual, “more fun” in retrospect, style for such a solemn story. This very human feeling issue was paired with the most human feeling art.

I’ve praised it once and I’ll do it again, this book is fantastic. It’s a story that has been waiting to be told and I’m glad I’m getting to read it. This issue deals with some heavy matters, but it does so with skill. The writing makes this a joy to read even if the character involved is experiencing the exact opposite. And, this issue features a great guest artist that brings to life a narrative dealing with death.

Our Score:


A Look Inside