Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Steve Lieber
Colors: Nathan Fairbairn
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Fun. Entertaining. These were the two words that popped into my mind upon finishing the delightful Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #1. Jimmy Olsen has a long and storied career as Superman’s best pal and his long history is filled with whacky adventures, bizarre transformations, and bonkers shenanigans, all of which are kept alive and well in this new reimagining of the once long running series. Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen was first published in the ‘50s and was a staple of the Superman Family of Comics into the ‘70s. The series was notable for the myriad of transformations that Jimmy had, where it was a common occurrence that he would be subjected to some form of Kryptonite or science experiment and end up as either a monster or endowed with super powers for the remainder of the issue with everything status quo by the end page. Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber capture the fun and silliness of these classic tales but introduce a modern sensibility to the story that makes the book a truly fun and entertaining read.
Jimmy Olsen is often known for being the intrepid sometime inept photographer for the Daily Planet who more times than not finds himself in dangerous situations. Luckily Jimmy’s best pal is Superman, who found himself saving Jimmy so often he gave the young photographer a wrist watch that signals the Man of Steel any time Jimmy gets into a jam. Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #1 does nothing to dissuade this well-deserved character description, rather it embraces it. The book begins with Jimmy in low orbit, preparing to jump to earth sans parachute after injecting a formula from STAR Labs that may or may not save his life. The serum works, turning Jimmy into a giant Turtle Monster (a call back to a Silver Age story) and Jimmy becomes an extinction level threat as his large form plummets to earth. Luckily Superman is on the scene and he is able to, with minimal damage to the city, is able to save Jimmy’s life but can even he save Jimmy’s job? Now Jimmy may have been seen as careless and reckless in the past and should be fired on the spot for his actions. Yet in the 21st century these character traits make Jimmy a You Tube sensation and his viruses…. I mean viral streams are apparently the only profitable part of the Daily Planet as the printed newspaper continues towards financial collapse. So rather than being fired Jimmy is embraced but sent far from Metropolis for insurance liabilities and where he ends up could lead to an incredibly entertaining second issue and a team up I never even thought about but now must read.
Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #1 was a great first issue. Matt Fractions story was culturally relevant and incredibly fun. Steve Lieber was an inspired choice for this series. His cartoony depictions and wonderful facial expressions were a perfect fit for this series. I loved his humorous art on the sadly departed the Superior Foes of Spider-Man and it continues to excel here. I cannot wait to see what these two creators pull off over the course of this twelve-issue series.
Verdict: Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #1is an absolute Buy! It’s a fun and entertaining story and just the beginning of what will no doubt be an incredible twelve-issue series.