Review: Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #3

by Ari Bard
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[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writer: Matt Fraction

Artist: Steve Lieber

Colors: Nathan Fairbairn

Letters: Clayton Cowles


Reviewed By: Ari Bard



In Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #3, distant relative Joachim Olsson publicly shames Luthais Alexander, fueling the long term rivalry that will last for centuries.  Meanwhile, Lex seeks out a piece of ancient history, we find out the secret behind Jimmy’s troublesome fall from space that started it all, we see the origins of the Porcadillo and the end of Dr. Mantel, Jimmy’s life is in danger yet again, he has to fake his own death, and Lois Lane comes a-knockin’!  Holy moly, what an issue!


Jimmy Olsen is on the run because someone is out to kill him.  With the complicated history the Luthors and the Olsens have with each other, it appears obvious that Lex is behind all this, but Jimmy doesn’t necessarily know that yet.  All he knows is that his life is in danger after a series of unfortunate and slightly embarrassing events.  This issue doesn’t necessarily focus on next steps, however, but rather retraces previous ones giving us more pieces to the puzzle.  This is a very humorous issue, but also a rather sad one.  If you really look at these stories, you realize that this Luthor-Olsen rivalry is founded on nothing but ancient history, and people are still losing their lives over it.

Once again the issue is told through story chunks approximately four pages long and detail snippets of the events leading to Jimmy Olsen on the run from those who want to kill him and hiding out in Gotham. There’s a classic blend of tragedy and comedy in every segment, as it’s often easy to laugh at Jimmy’s misfortune. As things get more precarious for our favorite reporter, the smile on you’re face will only grow.  Such is life. There’s a ridiculous short story involving Jimmy and Dr. Mantel on a mission that takes them to microscopic size investigating a black hole the at the size of ultraviolet light waves that ends on a tragic note.  Jimmy and Dr. Mantel go in, but only Dr. Mantel makes it out.  Nevertheless, Lois and Clarke can’t help but laugh and tease at Dr. Mantel getting slowly crushed by the singularity as Jimmy walks away in terror.  It’s tragic and shocking but also ridiculous and hilarious.  Fraction brilliantly illustrates our ability to laugh at the suffering of others sometimes, possibly even to our detriment, and by doing so continues to show why Jimmy Olsen is an all-around stand-up guy.

The final segment at the end of the issue appears to get into the crux of the max-series with Matt Fraction pitting Olsen against Lex Luthor.  The odds are not in Olsen’s favor, but let’s not forget that Olsen has something special on his side: people.  Jimmy Olsen knows some powerful individuals, and if anyone can use their connections and experiences to take down Luthor, it’s Jimmy Olsen.  The guy has thick skin and has survived countless shenanigans, so despite Luthor’s resources, my money’s on Jimmy.  In the end, this series comes down to the crazy situations even an ordinary person can become involved with in the DC universe just because of who they know.

Lieber and Fairbairne continue to make a phenomenal art team that expertly captures the kooky and wild elements of the original series.  There are some crazy scenarios that invoke particular styles or levels of detail that are unreal and highly varied.  Lieber’s able to perfectly capture the humor in Fraction’s words through positioning and expressions. Fairbairne’s colors can echo any mood or emotional note need in the issue.  He uses a variety of palettes to make each snippet look distinct.


No negatives here!  This book continues to be a very fun time.



With Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #3, Matt Fraction has proven that he knows Jimmy Olsen and can craft a compelling book around the character.  Each issue is constructed in short segments that differentiate it from everything else on the market while keeping it compelling.  It’ll be fun to see how everything fits together in the end.


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