Review: ‘Jimmy Olsen’ #9 Finds Pathos Within The Humor

by Tony Thornley

[++WARNING: some minor SPOILERS ahead!++]

For the last year, Jimmy Olsen has done his best to avoid hired killers and find the person who put the hit out on him. He finally gets some answers in the latest issue, and they’re answers he may not like.

Matt Fraction, Steve Lieber, Nathan Fairbairn, and Clayton Cowles pull the curtain back on the series villain in Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #9.

Jimmy has been trying to find answers. He knows Lex Luthor has them. Can he face the difficult truth that Luthor has for him, or will this be the thing to drive Jimmy Olsen over the edge?

Fraction and Lieber don’t stop the laughs in the issue, but that’s what makes the painful revelation at the end of the issue have even more weight. Interspersed with Jimmy’s modern stories, particularly his confrontation with Luthor, the duo flash back to his childhood. Lieber and Fiarbairn switch styles for these scenes, using a cartoony style that would fit in with Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes. At first glance, these shorts seem sweet and innocent, but in light of the revelation at the end of the issue, they take on a layer of sadness that is impossible to miss.

Even better, Fraction executes the twist perfectly – Jimmy’s brother Julian hired the killers. If you didn’t already guess it, it lands perfectly. It’s a shocker, but it’s a surprise that all the seeds are there for, acting as a reward for those that noticed them, and a surprise that isn’t all that surprising for those that didn’t. Add in Lieber and Fairbairn’s art, and it proves why the series is one of the best in comics right now.

Jimmy got the answers he wanted but now has a whole lot more questions. Thankfully we still have three more issues for the rest of this great ride.

Jimmy Olsen #9 is available now from DC Comics.

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