Graphic Novel Review: Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen: Who Killed Jimmy Olsen? by Matt Fraction and Steve Leiber

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen: Who Killed Jimmy Olsen? by Matt Fraction (writer) and Steve Leiber (artist). DC Comics, 2020. 9781779504623. Includes Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen 1 – 12 and material from Superman: Leviathan Rising Special 1.

This graphic novel opens with Daily Planet photographer Jimmy Olsen on a book tour, waking up naked and married in Gorilla City after an evening of drinking. His wife, Jinx, and interdimensional jewel thief, makes him promise to get their marriage annulled. Then a cat attacks him in the bathroom, then barfs blood all over Jimmy and the room. Both the cat and the jewel thief play into the plot of the book, which involves Olsen getting “killed,” going into hiding, a series of ridiculous impersonations, and the history of Metropolis (involving the Olsens and the Luthors). It’s a beautiful piece of non-stop ridiculousness involving the hero Metallo, the greatest Batman gags ever, and, of course, a little Superman (but not as much as you’d expect in a book about Olsen if you’re a comic reader about my age). There are a ton of pages that are formatted like the first pages of a comic book, featuring a lot of explain-y text and narration and a logo — a brilliant bit of silliness that keeps the whole book rolling along at high speed even as they seem to restart the story. Leiber is one of the best artists working in comics; his mastery of tone, storytelling, and character are evident on every page.

This is favorite “superhero” comic of the year, and the funniest book I’ve read in a while.

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