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 here, also 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.