Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Jimmy Olsen #1 review


Now this was worth waiting for. Nick Spencer's take on Jimmy Olsen debuted in Action Comics last year when the book was running a back-up strip. After four superb instalments as previously praised herealso here and here the Jimmy Olsen's Big Week serial was curtailed as price and page count fell. Well, here's the rest of the story along with the first four chapters - that's 68 pages of ginger-tinged brilliance for a bargain $5.99.

Dumped by girlfriend Chloe Sullivan for being glued to computer games, Daily Planet photographer Jimmy pulls himself together enough to deal with alien party animals likely to destroy the world, Lex Luthor's power-mad protege Sebastien Mallory and a Fifth Dimensional Bridezilla. He does this without the help of Superman, who's off walking the streets in his own book, and while wondering how to win back Chloe.

How can a kid with no super-powers accomplish so much? With brains, chutzpah and the odd super-friend. Years of crossing time and space with Superman, undergoing lunatic transformations and generally surviving life in the DC Universe have taught Jimmy to think like a winner - even when he's down, he has an out.

Spencer melds the madness of the Silver Age - Jimmy carried his own book for 163 issues, outselling many a superhero - with a modern sensibility to produce a comic like no other. There's Jimmy as Co-Superman, a techno-genie, Supergirl's secret hobby - every chapter has something to surprise and delight. Jimmy and friends are likeable, annoying, funny, smart, spunky ... down to the last alien princess, they're human. 

And they're splendidly realised by penciller RB Silva and inker Dym; every character has character to spare, while the layouts are imaginatively different without detracting from the storytelling. Additonal artwork comes from illustrator Amilcar Pinna and inker Rob Lean, while the talented duo of Dave McCaig and Rob Leigh colour and letter respectively. I'd love to have seen what Silva would have come up with for the cover - he really deserves the prestige spot - but I see why Amanda Conner got the gig, and she does the book proud.

Like Jimmy Olsen's pimped-up Flying Newsroom, this book is a wild ride. Don't miss it.

8 comments:

  1. Was SO looking forward to finishing this fantastic tale. The strength of the Jimmy and Gordon back-ups was what got me buying Action and 'Tec again. Very glad to see both being given their chance to shine, even AFTER the whole back-up strategy was trashed.

    I've never been a fan of Smallville, but enjoyed the fact that Chloe was given her OWN signal watch. Nice.

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  2. You're very welcome, RB. I'm looking forward to seeing your work in Action Comics #900.

    It was indeed nice, Chris. And did you see this week's Detective? Stunning, apart from the distracting signing of the spreads.

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  3. Fantastic issue! This was JUST what I needed after reading Detective, which was good, but gave me the heebie jeebies.

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  4. Man, this was a great book. Between this and this week's Detective, I feel like the contenders for Best Single Issue of the Year are getting crowded already!

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  5. Jeff, Rob, Detective was terrific, wasn't it? James Gordon Jr is fascinating.

    Anyone else remember Tony Gordon?

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  6. I was pleasantly surprised by this, even after all the positive reviews online. I think my favorite parts were the bits with the Superman supporting cast like Ma Kent and Supergirl. (It just makes sense that Supergirl should like knitting!)

    And anything that mentions Alpha Centurion (even mockingly) is ok by me.

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  7. I'd like to see Alphan Centurion back, I liked his look.

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