Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics

Jimmy Olsen #143

Jimmy Olsen #143

Cover date: November 1971

"Genocide Spray"

Writer/Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Vince Colletta
Superman and Jimmy Olsen Heads: Murphy Anderson
Cover Artist: Jack Kirby

Reviewed by: Charlie Niemeyer

Click to enlarge

Picking up from last issue, Jimmy and Superman are in a crypt underneath the Bloodmoor Cemetery and are still staring in awe at the small planet that is hidden there. Orbiting about the planet are what appear to be projectors that are projecting images down on the planet, which may, in some way, have something to do with why we saw a vampire and wolfman last issue. Investigating a strange looking statue, Superman notices that moving its arm causes a door to open. Inside, we have the credits page, er, I mean two coffins. Sliding open the first one, we see Count Dragorin sleeping. This makes no sense to Jimmy since it is still the middle of the night. Based on some of the gadgetry in the coffin, Superman guesses that the coffins are actually decompression chambers (anyone notice how much theorizing Superman has done these last two issues, and how he has so far been correct each time?). Just as Jimmy and Superman are about to open the next coffin, they are attacked by the wolfman. While Superman is dealing with him, Jimmy is attacked by Frankenstein's monster (suspiciously missing his neck bolts). Superman throws the wolfman at the monster, knocking them both out cold. Unfortunately, Dragorin has awakened and uses a micro-bomb to knock out our heroes.

Meanwhile, in a secret hideout, the Newsboys are sneaking up on the man who just confessed to killing Jim Harper. Taking him by surprise, they grab him, his gun and the phone, which causes the mysterious person on the other end of the line to hang up. Using an incredible amount of strength, the baddie kicks the table in front of him which not only splinters the table, but throws off all of the Newsboys as well. He runs down a hall only to be confronted by a large bomb with a video screen. On the screen is Morgan Edge telling the baddie that Inter-Gang is canceling his contract. This is followed by a large explosion.

Superman wakes up, surrounded by our previous monsters plus a guy who looks like the mummy, and a woman who looks like a female vampire. Superman has been tied up to the "rack" and its spikes are being lowered towards him in an effort to get him to reveal Dabney Donovan's current whereabouts. Since Superman can see that this is leading nowhere (he doesn't know either), he breaks free, destroying the "rack" in the process. The monster people now begin talking of the end of the world which, according to the picture prophecy, would occur with the demon-dog flies. Superman is about to get them to calm down and work with him to figure out where Donovan could be, but is interrupted by a loud bell, which is the signal that the demon-dog is about to take flight. At this point, Superman finally notices a faint hum of machinery being picked up by his super-hearing, machinery which is not visible in the stony crypt. Searching around quickly, he finds a seam in the rock and begins to dig in.

Back in the secret underground hideout, the Newsboys quickly recover from the explosion to find that the mysterious murderer died in the explosion. At that point, Scrapper suddenly remembers that he still had the little Scrapper Trooper in his pocket. He turns out to be okay, and points out a vent on the ceiling. Climbing through, the Newsboys find that they have finally made it to the surface, but are right in the middle of a street with traffic. They have returned to Suicide Slum.

At the crypt, Superman has peeled back a layer of stone to find a hi-tech complex under the crypt. Quickly coming upon some giant steel doors, Superman knocks them down just in time to have the demon-dog fly by. Superman chases it down just as it begins to release a genocide spray at Transilvane. Superman stops it with a quick chop to the mouth.

Cut to a little bit later as Jimmy finally awakens. Following the light from the techno complex below, he soon finds Superman. Superman shows him a complex looking microscope and explains to Jimmy that the coffins are similar to the Apollo capsules, except that the coffins also compact their atomic structures so that the occupants will be a more manageable size on Transilvane. Superman also discovered that the aliens, who actually have a "fluid atomic base" looked like monsters because they copied the images being projected onto Transilvane by Donovan. Superman, in an effort to help the aliens, went through Donovan's films to find something a little more appealing for the aliens, which turns out to be the musical, Oklahoma!, which is now being projected down to the planet.

4Story - 4: This was another solid issue that I really don't have too much of a problem with. The only really nagging thing is that over the course of the story, Superman was able to somehow guess and theorize what was really going on, and was 100% correct each time. Basically, this made it seem that Kirby wanted to explain things, but didn't have room in the story to allow the characters to figure it out, so he has Superman guess correctly all the time. Beyond that, this was a good, fun issue. This issue also reprints a golden age adventure of Guardian and the Newsboys from Star Spangled Comics #9, originally published in 1942.

5Art - 5: The art in this issue was awesome. I don't know if I'm just getting more used to it, or if it might have something to do with Kirby getting more and more comfortable with the characters, but we are at a point now where the art has stabilized. After complaining before of the art looking rushed and with screwy proportions, we are now getting good, quality art.

4Cover Art - 4: I love this cover. The colors are neat, the negative effect on the "monsters" is cool and Jimmy and Superman are on it. The only problem, is the little red box near the center. The box being there is fine, but after all the stuff from the past issues in which they used different fonts to help sell the whole "new, daring, different" direction, this font is just plain and boring.

Pre-Crisis Superman Comic Book Reviews



  • Superman #76 (May/June 1952) - “The Mightiest Team in the World”
  • Superman #80 (January/February 1953) - “Superman's Lost Brother”
  • Superman 3D (1953) - “The Man Who Stole the Sun”, “Origin of Superman” and “The Man Who Bossed Superman”
  • Superman #87 (February 1954) - “The Prankster's Greatest Role”
  • Superman #88 (March 1954) - “The Terrible Trio”
  • Superman #89 (May 1954) - “Captain Kent the Terrible”, “Superman of Skid Row”, and “One Hour to Doom!”
  • Superman #91 (August 1954) - “The Superman Stamp” and “Great Caesar's Ghost”
  • World's Finest #88 (May/June 1957) - “Superman and Batman's Greatest Foes”
  • Superman #115 (August 1957) - “The Midget Superman!”
  • Superboy #65 (May/June 1958) - “The Amazing Adventures of Krypto Mouse”
  • Action Comics #242 (July 1958) - “The Super-Duel in Space”
  • Superman #123 (August 1958) - “The Girl of Steel”
  • Superman #127 (February 1959) - “Titano the Super Ape”
  • Action Comics #252 (May 1959) - “The Menace of Metallo” and “The Supergirl From Krypton”
  • Superman #129 (May 1959) - “The Girl in Superman's Past”
  • Superman #130 (July 1959) - “The Curse of Kryptonite!”, “The Super-Servant of Crime!”, and “The Town that Hated Superman!”
  • Jimmy Olsen #40 (October 1959) - “Jimmy Olsen, Supergirl's Pal”




Compilation Volumes


Back to the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.