Comic Reviews: Jimmy Olsen and Collapser
Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #1 (DC Comics)
For being around for more than 80 years, Superman has sure been through a lot of different takes and interpretations. Throughout the decades he’s had numerous titles, and even his side characters like Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen have received their own series, both of whom are currently starring in their own miniseries events right now. While Lois Lane has Greg Rucka and Michael Lark, Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen has an even higher pedigree on the title, as none other than Hawkeye‘s Matt Fraction and The Fix‘s Steve Lieber are bringing their own very unique spin on the Man of Steel’s best pal.
Thanks to his online web series, Jimmy has become a major force for the Daily Planet, even becoming their highest source of ad revenue. But Olsen’t stunts are a huge insurance burden on the Planet, and it puts his place of business not only in financial danger, but legal ones at times. Despite this, Olsen is having the time of his life…until his latest stunt means he has to go into hiding so no one knows the fact that he’s alive.
If you’re familiar with Matt Fraction’s work on Hawkeye and Sex Criminals, then you probably know what to expect from this opening issue, and guess what? It’s great. Olsen has a bunch of fun nods to the old silver age stories that Jimmy Olsen used to star in, but they’re given a fun modern spin that casts the absurd antics in a brand new light. There are plenty of humorous moments to be found through this issue, and Fraction is clearly having a ball playing in this world. Despite this being a mainstream Superman spin off title, he’s clearly making this his own, and has made this feel like not other title in DC’s stable.
For my money, no one can draw comedy like Steve Lieber. From Superior Foes of Spider-Man to The Fix, Lieber has an uncanny ability to convey comedy in comics like no other artist, and Jimmy Olsen is another prime example of that. There’s plenty of moments of both physical comedy and subtle humor, and that leads to some hilarious moments that no one else would be able to draw. Lieber’s already a pretty well known artist in comics, but I have a feeling this will put him on a whole other level.
Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen is another strong step for DC that really diversifies their stable of titles. If you are looking for something different from the usual superhero fare that the publisher typically puts out, then this book is for you. While it shares a lot of DNA with Fraction’s Hawkeye, it’s still unique enough that it feels like something truly original.
Collapser #1 (DC Comics)
DC’s Young Animal imprint hit a few setbacks when it first launched, but things seem to be back on schedule for the new and improved version. The second of the titles being released, Collapser finds a young DJ struggling with anxiety being given the power of a black hole in his chest, and yes, it’s as trippy as it sounds. But seeing as how this is from Mikey Way and Shaun Simon, it’s not that much of a surprise.
Liam James is a down on his luck DJ who has crippling bouts with anxiety. He wakes up, goes to work as an orderly at a rest home, goes home, and sometimes has a DJ gig that allows him to really cut loose and live out his dreams. But after a mysterious package from his estranged mother arrives, weird things start to happen, and they reach a head during his big gig at a local club. After rushing home in despair over his failed gig, Liam has a strange dream where he meets an extraterrestrial being. Then he wakes up three days later, realizes that his life is not what it once was, and that there’s a giant black hole in his chest.
Mikey Way may not have the comic book pedigree that his brother Gerard does, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from this issue. Way’s pacing and character work is pretty rock solid on this issue, and he wisely keeps the mysterious box and Liam’s new powers under wraps throughout the issue. It’s clear that this is a story that means a lot to Way, and he’s poured a lot into the characterization of Liam.
Shaun Simon’s art is really trippy, even when there’s no crazy cosmic stuff going on. Amazingly though, as weird as Simon’s art gets, it never gets to a point that you can’t follow it. Simon’s style is definitely in line with other titles in the Young Animal imprint, and he easily puts out some of the craziest visuals you’ll see on the stands this week.
Collapser seems to be the start of something really interesting for Young Animal, and it’s probably the most personal story to come out of Young Animal’s imprint. A lot of buzz was made over DC’s decision to close down Vertigo, but this seems like something Vertigo would have put out, so in a lot of ways the future of that imprint could be with Young Animal. At the very least, this is a strong debut issue that has a lot of heart and an interesting hook that should stick with people.