Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #8 Review

by Jay Hill on February 19, 2020

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

Another new issue, another new town, and another new name for Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen. As Olsen hides out from the dangers that seem to follow him, the reaction of his “death” by some of his biggest fans starts to bother his brother back in Metropolis. All the while, another danger is hot on Olsen’s trail in the form of his interdimensional jewel thief wife.

The start features an absolutely hilarious play on the “Reign of the Supermen” saga of DC Comics’ past. A slew of Olsen impersonators pops up to take the place of the dearly departed journo. This was just the beginning of the hijinks in this issue that became one of the funniest so far. I loved all the “Subparmen” vignettes, especially the “Steely Thieverman” joke and the radical Olsenboy; this issue didn’t miss with its humor. The entire book reminded me of an episode of Arrested development where everywhere our attention is turned something hilarious is happening. The use of the scene intros and comedic cutaways had jokes coming from every angle. Jimmy Timmy Jimphony Jaime Olsen’s report on Calvin Coolidge’s Calvin College in Calvin City, Connecticut was a great way to introduce us to Jimmy's new persona and setting. I liked that we got the first case of someone seeing right through one of Jimmy’s completely infallible disguises and the idea of the “Olsen Bump”. The Metropolis and Calvin City scenes were great, but my favorite part of the issue was the reunion of the unhappily wedded couple, Jix and Jimmy. The “Gorilla City” scene deserved to be on the cover because that whole segment about “the last time Jimmy was in Gorilla City” gave me one of my hardest laughs in a while. The end, once again, shows troubles catching up with Olsen. First Jimmy’s life was on the line, then drama went through Metropolis, trouble and a Dark Knight prank war met him in Gotham, and now Calvin City, and perhaps the planet, is at stake because of him. I’m now convinced that this comic is going to end with Jimmy Olsen putting the entire DC Multiverse in danger somehow.

The art in this issue featured a lot of great character illustrations. This issue featured plenty of jokes based on “situational comedy” and the art excelled at capturing it. The first page features possibly the greatest spit-take in comics history. The way the panels are set up felt like a three-dot ellipsis of the idea loading in Julian Olsen’s mind before it hits home. The spit-take is a staple of physical comedy and to be able to express that so well with sequential art exemplifies how the art succeeds in illustrating Fraction’s humor. The designs of the Olsen impersonators along with the shots of the kids operating them (and the Jimmy Olsen Official Fan Club logo) were perfect. The pages set-up with torn newspaper pages were great, along with the hidden little jokes in them. Applauds to Clayton Cowles for the lettering in this issue. To go with all the other places this issue shone with its humor, the lettering in multiple scenes was a highlight.

So many great lettering moments filled this issue. Along with the background SFX’s like “SHAKE” (for Janie Olsen shaking an ATM) or “VRRR” (for an impending UFO), the lettering of dialogue like Jimmy reading the entry on the “Olsen Bump” with links included, “Ook ook ook…” on Gorilla CNN, the flashback breaking “Wait wait wait…”, and my favorite “Wife!! Space Wife!!” made those scenes that much funnier. Also, the lettering for the scene introductions has been top-notch throughout the series. I like the font for Janie’s intro, and in this issue, we get uniquely lettered intros for scenes like “...Apeth Wonder...” and “My Olsen, My Olsen, My Olsen and Me!” which is a nice shoutout to the “My Brother, My Brother and Me” logo.

And the palette, let alone the coloring itself, is another huge part in achieving the lighthearted tone the book has. Its innocent, but intricate throwback to classic ages of comics solidifies the atmosphere of the book. Lieber and Fairbairn are such a great team. I like to note how coloring can affect the tone of a book, and since this book’s writing has such a defined tone with the humor of Fraction’s writing it is great that the art team is right behind him giving the perfect visuals for the occasion. The creative team recently made an appearance in "Superman: Heroes #1" and before you even start reading their installment, the familiar style of “Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen” is identifiable and if you’re a fan of the series, and how could you not be, you’d immediately get excited to see a tale in that fun world this team has created.

Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #8 is the 8th issue in a series that has consistently produced some of the best comic book-ing around. This chapter is filled to the brim with gut-busting humor. The characters continue to be a blast to watch. Jimmy is still going through transformations and getting into trouble. And the mysterious happenings surrounding him are getting bigger in proportion and closer in proximity. The team behind this book is on fire and making sure this maxi-series goes down as one of the greats.

Our Score:


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