Wait, what happened now? Is this for real?
Jimmy Olsen 12
Written by Matt Fraction
Pencils and Inks by Steve Lieber
Colors by Nathan Fairbairn
Matt Fraction’s year-long examination of the Daily Planet’s cub reporter has finally come to an end, and the final issue did something that I really didn’t expect it to do. There’s a major change to the status quo in Metropolis, maybe just as big as when Superman REVEALED to the world that he was really Clark Kent and BATMAN pouted about it.
The 12-issue series was an absurdist murder mystery, as Jimmy Olsen set out to discover who tried to have him killed. More importantly, it established the Olsen family as one of the founding families of Metropolis – along with the Luthors – and Jimmy’s brother Julian as one of the city’s captains of industry and an industrial and intellectual rival to Lex Luthor. The rivalry between Lex and Julian is brought to a close, though, when Metropolis Police Detective Jim Corrigan (no, not that one, the other one) arrests Julian for the attempted murder of his brother.
On its own, that would be a lot to take in, but the creative team of Fraction and Lieber take things a step further. The Olsens and the Luthors are not only industrial rivals, they’re family, too! And when Julian is carted off to prison and the family fortune completely bankrupt, Jimmy learns that he has access to Luthor’s billions. With a little help from Luthor’s assistant, MISS TESSMACHER!, Jimmy pulls a trigger on a scheme to turn Luthor into a silent owner of the Daily Planet, which was sadly on the verge of shuttering after the reveal that it was owned by a notorious metahuman mafia boss. And Jimmy becomes the paper’s publisher.
On top of that, Jimmy’s obnoxious nature flusters Luthor into admitting that he set Julian’s whole plot in motion as a means to tighten his control over Metropolis, and he did it while Jimmy was filming the whole thing. Even one of the smartest men in the world can be bettered by an annoying Olsen in their face.
Fraction made sure to throw in bits about what was happening in the other Super-books over the last year, to keep his maxiseries in continuity, but I wasn’t expecting the book to have such a major impact on Superman’s goings-on. Now, in addition to being Superman’s pal, he’s also Superman’s boss, since Clark Kent still works at the Daily Planet and everyone know’s he’s also Superman.
Too often, a series like this gets shunted to the fringe of continuity to allow for some creative license over the course of the storytelling. It’s refreshing that all the creators on the Super-books managed to keep it that tight, especially given all the absurdity Olsen experienced. We saw him pranking Batman, getting married in Gorilla City and adopt a cat who also happens to be a dangerous Red Lantern. The addition of Dex-Starr, by the way, was easily my favorite bit.
So now, Jimmy Olsen is the publisher of the Daily Planet, which is being secretly funded by Lex Luthor, sworn enemy of Superman, who is also Clark Kent, who works at the Daily Planet.
This could get messy. I can’t wait.