Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #9 Review

by Jay Hill on March 21, 2020

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

The story so far: Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen is dead, but not really. While being not really not-alive he has donned the persona of an irresponsible blogger, started a prank war with Batman, and reunited with his rebellious, goth-y, daddy issue having sister, Janie. Things he has not done is find out who is trying to kill him, produced any solid content for the Daily Planet, or gotten an annulment for his marriage to interdimensional jewel thief Jix. 

One of those things will change in this issue.

As the cover explicitly states, this issue is the one where Jimmy finally “gets a clue”. Between the hijinks and name changes a mysterious plot has slowly been unraveling. The person or persons behind the events that have caused Jimmy to go on the run and shed his name multiple times has been becoming clearer with each issue. After a few scenes have seemingly exonerated Jimmy’s prime suspect, Lex Luthor, it is by that same man’s mouth that we are informed of the (apparent) actual culprit. If it is truly them, looking back, clues have been sprinkled throughout the series to suggest this person. But even with those pieces of evidence it still isn’t completely clear why this person has it out for Jimmy so bad.

The way the revelation was executed was perfect, but also somber. Luthor’s smugness in revealing it gives such a terrible guy a moment of triumph, which is especially upsetting because earlier in the series Jimmy was able to get one over on the untouchable heel. Now, it seems they’re even. The worst part was seeing Jimmy react to the bombshell. The great art in that scene drove home the moment. Not even that hilarious suit-to-wetsuit gag could lift my spirits while reading it. Jimmy was in a full, “You broke my heart,” Godfather II-esque mindset.

But, before the heartbreaking and eye-opening conclusion, the issue was filled with some great humor. The entire “Fall-Off Family” segment was some more of this series’ bizarre fun. That was almost exemplary of the vibe this comic pulls off: obscure references, spot-on humor, crisp art and colors that almost feel nostalgic, and everything coalescing to move the story forward. The Porcadillo scene did something similar. It explained the character’s role in the story, had a little bit of fun “parodying” DC Comics’ more cerebral and artistic comics, and even pulled off a brilliant Frank Miller - Batman reference/joke (with the best illustration of a Croc sandal ever).

With only a few more issues left in this monumental and magnificent maxi-series, this issue begins to place the final puzzle pieces into place. It also reiterates that this team’s talent is unquestionable. There are some funny and bizarre scenes, some creative and unique ones, and some interesting and engrossing ones. And, this issue, maybe more than any yet, has an ending that makes the anticipation for the next installment all the greater. Now that Jimmy has gotten a clue, it’s time to see what he’ll do with it.

Our Score:


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