Things Get Grim In Jimmy Olsen #2 (But Not Really)

by Tony Thornley

Jimmy Olsen probably has the most interesting life in the DC Universe. Even when things get low or grim for him, it’s still better than most people at their worst. Part of that is definitely who his best friend is, but what is the rest?

Matt Fraction, Steve Lieber, Nathan Fairbairn, and Clayton Cowles put Jimmy through the ringer in this issue.

Jimmy has to face challenges from all sides of his life. His brother wants him to take the Olsen legacy more seriously. The Planet needs his help, but they can’t take him seriously. Meanwhile several people linked to him and his stories have died, and he needs to figure it out before he’s next.

This is a difficult issue to analyze and review, because this issue is structured so unlike anything else on the market. There are no less than four different stories here, and they’re mostly linked together but they’re also totally disparate in tone. It absolutely should not work, but not only does it work, but it’s pretty great.

Lieber’s work is the absolute star here. Fraction’s script sparkles, and is full of great dialogue and jokes, but Lieber absolutely brings it to life. He has a fantastic sense of timing, with the ability to give a panel room to breathe before landing the punchline. He also fills the issue with the wonderfully absurd, which Fairbairn’s colors deepen and embellish wonderfully.

This isn’t to say that Fraction’s story isn’t good either. He writes an incredibly funny script and Cowles positively brings it to life with his letter work. Fraction is also able to bring a lot of emotion to the page. We see hidden depth to Jimmy himself, and the friendship between Jim and Superman is depicted so well. It’s a genuine human connection between the two, not just two characters on a page, a testament to the work that the entire creative team brings to the page.

This series is absolutely knocking it out of the park, with one of the best all-around creative efforts I’ve seen put into a comic series in years. You absolutely should be reading.

JImmy Olsen #2 is available now from DC Comics.

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