Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #10 Review

by Jay Hill on May 19, 2020

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

Your eyes do not deceive you, fair reader! This is the review for the 10th titillating issue of DC Comics’ flagship series, “Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen”. For 9 issues, tales of wonder and excitement have been woven for anyone brave or bright enough to pick up one of these fine funny books. And now, the pen-penultimate issue has arrived, and we have the rave review for all to read in an article we could only call:

“The Issue Number Spoils The Rating”

The last issue ended with a bombshell and answered the core question of the series: Who has it out for Superman’s pal?  The family focus of the narrative, that has been a highlight throughout the series, comes full circle as it is revealed that Superman’s pal Jimmy Olsen’s brother, Julian Olsen is the puppet master who has created the current havoc in Jimmy’s life; not least of which is trying to end said life. And now that the blue, blood barfing cat is out of the bag, this issue gives us a sense that we have finally caught up with the story. In this issue, one flashback gives us a look at the motivation behind this brotherly betrayal, another catches us, and Det. James Corrigan III, up to Porcadillo’s side of things, and, by the end, we get the fated meeting of the fiend and foil of the book.

In my review for the last issue, I noted the end for having a Godfather II-esque sentimentality to it, but I couldn’t have known how apt that phrase would be to describe the end of this issue. The meeting of the siblings in this issue starts as a hilarious scene and ends in a moment that caused me to laugh harder than I think I ever have at a comic book. That scene couldn’t have been better and exemplifies what this comic does best. It's the dramatic culmination of many threads of the story, and, while keeping its drama, it adds immaculate humor. “Spot-on” is how I have often described Matt Fraction’s comedy and that is exactly what he continues to be. Lines like “Half-man, half-armadillo, part-porcupine” to describe the, already hilarious in conception, Porcadillo, or calling out the familiar scene of someone saying, “Leave us.” when they want to be alone are the type of humor that is so perfect in execution and placement. I hate to sound like a TV Guide from the 50s (or maybe that’s the exact tone appropriate for this series), but Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen is a bonafide laugh riot!

Lots of great art of characters was what stood out about the visuals of this issue. Steve Lieber’s style is always great to look at and his way of using minimal lines to imply and define detail to his figures is such a crisp technique. With many close-ups and scenes that put a spotlight on facial expressions, we got to see and feel the effects the art has on the tone of this book. The world built up by both the unique writing and art style is what keeps this book feeling so fresh. In the many shots of characters in this issue, Lieber’s way of illustrating hair popped to me and seems to be an easily overlooked aspect, but one that shows off the great use of few lines I mentioned. And, the coloring brought the characters to life in a subtle way. How Nathan Fairbairn colored the skin tones of the characters added palpable breath to the illustrations. And, Clayton Cowles kills it as always with the lettering. This series has to be a bit of a "letterer’s dream" with all the scene intros, sound effects, and visual gags that are used.

All has been revealed and we are (unfortunately) close to seeing the end of this chapter of Jimmy Olsen’s adventures. This issue, like the whole series, balances the ongoing mystery with engrossing events, interesting revelations, and gut-busting humor. The pacing of this issue was great and led to an end that not only tied up some storylines but got us ready for what is to come next.

Our Score:


A Look Inside