This comic is fun for me, as I remember the goofiness of Jimmy Olsen comics in the 1950s, and a lot of that is here. I can’t say I was a fan of those comics, though I did like Jimmy Olsen on the “Adventures of Superman” TV show of the same era. Then Jimmy’s title became part of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World in the 1970s. I loved those comics, even if Jimmy wasn’t a big part of them really. The current series doesn’t have much of that influence, maybe a little in the outer space/inner space storyline. This issue we visit Jimmy’s psychiatrist who discusses the many Olsen personalities, see Jimmy and his siblings as small kids in a sequence not unlike “Li’l Archie,” follow current day Jimmy and his sister to Opal City (I didn’t get that one), find out what’s happening at Jimmy’s Gotham City apartment rental (a lot!), and perhaps most fun of all, we see Jimmy’s job interview at the Daily Planet that landed him his job. If that’s not enough, there’s another piece of the Olsen and Luthor families feud. The writing, art, colors and lettering are all excellent. And the story is so fragmented in this series, it almost doesn’t matter where you start.
Simon Spurrier’s writing on this title in this storyline is dreamlike itself, in that it vacillates between things that seem to make sense and things that don’t, as the dreaming mind struggles to tie together unrelated images and events into a story. There are many parts to it, and those parts are interesting, but I struggle to see the whole picture. Things that happen are gripping at times: the opening scene between Abel and Lucien is one. Others drift by like colored balloons that make little impact on me. The motivations of many events and characters are murky and unclear to me, even as I marvel at the visuals and the display of interesting ideas and clever language. I suppose it’s the perfect representation of a story you might tell yourself in a dream, even if I don’t connect with all of it. Worth the trip, for sure.
I am definitely not the target audience for this book, even though I did read a few Nancy Drew novels in my childhood, and plenty of Hardy Boys ones (they’re in here too). A mysterious anonymous and threatening letter brings Nancy back to her home town of River Heights, where she is soon involved in several murder mysteries with her old friends and a new one. As the mysteries deepen, Nancy is thrown into danger, literally, and she and her friends are soon investigating secret flash drug parties and a seafood restaurant tied to it. Can Nancy come up with a plan and keep it on track before a new murder happens?
While I have some issues with the art on this book — too manga in style for me — the writing is terrific and pushed me right past the art issues. I don’t think I’ve read anything by Kelly Thompson before, but now I’d like to. I also applaud the all-female creative team on display here, they’ve done an excellent job. I suspect this would be liked a lot by the target audience, teenage girls, and perhaps get them reading Nancy Drew books. Anything that encourages reading is okay with me.
Despite the cover, Batman is not in a lot of this issue as it continues various storylines in and out of any discernible timeline. I don’t mind that, each of the storylines is funny and interesting, and the bemused intro captions on each one help me remember where and who I’m reading about. Those captions are fun, if a bit repetitive. Even a storyline from another book that involved Jimmy is here, and it fits right in. If there is any overall plot, it involves who is trying to kill Jimmy, and that gets coverage here, if not answers. The situations and abuse that Jimmy is taking in this series reminds me a bit of Jim Rockford in “The Rockford Files,” if you remember that one, except I think that Jim was a bit smarter than this one. Whenever I think I know what to expect from this book, it moves in a different direction, which is good and entertaining. The art, coloring and lettering are all as good as the quirky writing, too.
I was a little disappointed in the first issue of this second Wrong Earth series because it lacks the crossover element between the two worlds, but it’s growing on me. Earths Alpha and Omega and their respective hero versions have both been corrupted by versions of Devil Man into turning on their partners, both called Stinger. While in one storyline Stinger is up to the challenge, in the other he’s been given a long-awaited excuse to rebel against his mentor. I like the way each story involves moral challenges as well as action, and the grim and gritty version plays nicely off the cheerful one. Of the text features, the one by Matt Brady was the most interesting to me.