Timmy Olsen Reeks Of Flop Sweat And Desperation But Jimmy Olsen #4 Doesn’t

by Tony Thornley

When Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen faked his death last issue to go into hiding, he adopted a wholly new identity- TIMMY OLSEN (yeah we didn’t say it was a good identity). But as we learn in Jimmy Olsen #4 there’s a big difference between Jimmy and Timmy- Timmy is a total jerk.

Matt Fraction, Steve Lieber, Nathan Fairbairn, and Clayton Cowles chronicle the debut of a complete jerk.

Lois had arrived in Gotham to try to help Jimmy unravel the mess- I mean- mystery that has dominated his life of late. However, Jimmy might have made things worse thanks to his alter-ego’s immature pranks and half-baked comedy. Even worse, his exploits may have put him in the crosshairs of both Batman and Lex Luthor, the two most dangerous men on the planet!

Fraction and Lieber have worked together extremely well before this point, but this issue things really click. They both have a great sense of humor, and put that on full display in this issue. The Timmy Olsen scenes are hilarious, and Jimmy’s reactions to him, in both dialogue and visuals make it even better.

It’s not often you see a character acting as his own straightman in comedic situations, but that’s exactly what they do here. Lieber does a lot to distinguish Jimmy’s two personas, from hairstyle, to expression, to body language. He’s been one of my favorite pencillers in comics for a long time for exactly this reason. Fairbairn’s colors compliment it perfectly, switching palettes seamlessly to compliment the frantic tone shifts in the story.

Fraction pushes the pace through the issue, covering a lot of ground in such a limited page space. He also ties the disparate threads of the last three issues together here, which was a smart move, advancing the plot in some necessary ways, but also twisting it to show that Jimmy is smart… but not the smartest. Cowles’ lettering works really well with that, using bubble placement and captions to pace out the story.

This series is one of the most fun reads every month, and I’m excited to see where it goes next.

Jimmy Olsen #4 is available now from DC Comics.

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