MATT FRACTION – writer
STEVE LIEBER – artist
NATHAN FAIRBAIRN – colorist
CLAYTON COWLES – letterer
LIEBER & FAIRBAIRN – cover
Synopsis in a Sentence: A brief history of Olsen, before he gets shipped to Gotham.
We begin our journey with Superman’s pal with Superman’s pal’s ancestor on top of a waterfall, fighting for his land before Metropolis was Metropolis. He gets pushed off of said waterfall, and then the story starts. Again. Get used to this, as every few pages there is a new introduction to some form of “Jimmy Olsen, fill-in-the-blank.” It got a bit stale for me, I have to say.
The next meaningful bit finds present-day Jimmy jumping out of a spaceship, turning into the beloved turtle alter-ego I’ve heard of but don’t get, and being rescued by Superman before crashing into Metropolis with the force of an atomic bomb. This bit, bizarre as it all sounds, was actually fun- the funnest part of the book at any rate.
Next we’re treated to yet another intro, and we get some Daily Planet moments, complete with a heaping helping of Perry White. Who DOESN’T say “Great Caesar’s ghost.” In a comic seemingly built on nostalgia it really felt like a glaring omission.
At any rate, this section does have the funniest moment in the book to me, when the owner of the Daily Planet asks Clark Kent to keep an eye on Jimmy, who costs the paper a ton in insurance money from his shenanigans. Clark replies that may be a job only Superman can do, with a wink to the reader, on the last panel of the right page. Then we turn the page, expecting another story opening, to instead find Clark still standing there with one eye closed, and the befuddled paper owner dismissing this hayseed. Funny stuff.
Cue another “Yada yada Jimmy Olsen” open and we find Jimmy checking into a dumpy hotel in Gotham, relocating to not only help the Planet’s insurance rates, but because dunh…dunh…DUNH…- he is believed to be murdered! So I guess we’ll see what that’s all about next issue. And when I say “we” I don’t mean me.
In this first issue Matt Fraction serves up a fractured storyline that gives readers an unnecessarily far back background into the title character. It reminded me of the tired joke used in movies where the interrogator tells his captor to start at the beginning, and they literally start at the beginning, reciting childhood memories. There were some genuinely funny moments, and I have no complaints about the art. I think I have to just chalk this one up as something I don’t get/it’s not for me.