Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics

Jimmy Olsen #147

Jimmy Olsen #147

Cover date: March 1972

"A Superman in Super-Town!"

Writer/Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: Mike Royer
Cover Artist: Neal Adams and Murphy Anderson

Reviewed by: Charlie Niemeyer

Click to enlarge

In a hospital in Trevor, Scotland, we learn (thanks to plenty of expository dialogue) that it has been 10 days since the end of last issue, Jimmy returned to normal once he returned to his normal size, and the police placed "Angry Charlie" in the custody of 5 teens from the USA. We also learn that "Angry Charlie" likes to eat furniture because he likes the chemicals used in the manufacturing process, and that Gabby has been given tranquilizer pills to put AC in dream land. So, now that Jimmy has recuperated, he and the Newsboys decide that it is time to go home.

Meanwhile, underneath Suicide Slum, Superman has apparently taken 10 days to fly toward the same light from the end of last issue. It is a Boom-Tube, and exiting the tube is Magnar. Superman flies up to Magnar and attempts to subdue him, but Magnar simply flips Superman over, sending him flying through the Boom-Tube. When he exits on New Genesis, he is mistaken for a creature from Apokolips and is attacked by Magnar. Superman tries to explain, but Magnar isn't listening. Fortunately, Superman is ready for him this time and is able to withstand Magnar's punch. This just makes Magnar mad, and he belts Superman even harder, sending the Man of Steel flying.

Back in Scotland, Jimmy and the Newsboys, with Angry Charlie in tow, head out for Metropolis. After a few hours, they suddenly come upon some volcanic activity, which suddenly causes Angry Charlie to wake up. While he's busy tearing up the Whiz Wagon, a volcano rises up out of the ocean below, with a landing platform rising up from the volcano. As they near the platform (being drawn in by a form of tractor beam), a squad of pseudo-men emerge from a hatch in the platform and blast the heroes with an immobilizer.

On New Genesis, Superman finally gets a chance to explain that he is Superman of Earth, and while Magnar is skeptical, in the next panel he completely believe him. By that point, Superman has spotted Super-Town flying by and everyone decides to go up to the floating city. Superman offers to take Magnar's friends up by having them hold on to his cape, but they decline and head up by riding Magnar's magna-trail. As Superman reaches the city, he notices that no one is paying any attention to him except for a peace guardian, but he just waves Superman on as a "friendly."

On earth, Jimmy and the Newsboys awaken to find themselves in the presence of Victor Volcanum, who takes the opportunity to take a swig of his liquid-fire drink. He shows them that they are actually inside the platform from earlier, and he explains that he will soon be King of the World.

In Super-Town, Superman flies around, attempting to perform his usual quota of super-feats, but finds that he really isn't needed because everyone in Super-Town has superpowers. Finding it difficult to adjust, Superman sits down to mope and ends up sharing a bench with Highfather (although he does not introduce himself, so Superman does not realize who the old man is). He helps Superman realize that while he isn't needed in Super-Town, he is badly needed on Earth. To help him get there, he tells Superman to grasp his wonder staff (Steve, if you can figure out a better way to word that, be my guest). As he grabs the staff, he suddenly finds himself transported to the inside of a volcano, where he sees Jimmy and the Newsboys locked in a cage. As he steps toward them, the stone walls quickly close in on him, pinning him.

To be continued...

4Story - 4: Ok, I really like this issue. It was just a lot of fun to read. Sure, there were some things that irked me a little, which is why I knocked it down to a four, but they didn't kill the issue for me or anything. Jimmy and the Newsboys were completely in character the whole time, the action was well paced, and I just found my self unable to put the issue down.

Now for the negatives. First, in the last issue, Superman was flying toward the light that we find out here was created by a boom-tube. He was doing that while Jimmy and the Newsboys were taking down the Evil Factory. This issue opens up 10 days later, but Superman is still flying towards the light. Whoops! Also, on page 15, the first panel finally begins his explanation of who he really is, and Magnar is skeptical. By panel 2, he completely believe Superman. Now if there had been a caption somewhere on the 2nd panel that simply said, "LATER," I wouldn't have any problem with it. And finally, I have a problem with Superman basically moping because he isn't "special" on New Genesis. Superman does not mope. He realizes that his abilities are basically a gift. If anything, he'd be overjoyed to be in a place where he isn't really needed.

Also, as a side note: this issue has a letter written by Bob Rozakis, who just a few years later, would not only go on to become the Answer Man, but also a comic writer in his own right.

This issue also reprints a golden age adventure of Guardian and the Newsboys from Star Spangled Comics #13, originally published in 1942.

5Art - 5: Kirby's work is great as always, other than the hands. Apparently, they aren't his strong suit. This hands in this issue, for the most part (there are a few instances where the hands look great), are mostly fingers with very little palm.

Royer's inks this issue were vastly improved from last issue. They are much tighter where needed, and yet seem to be very true to Kirby's pencils. Two things I noticed though:

1. While the characters themselves have Kirby's usual "carved out of rock" look, their hair looks like it's really soft, which is not something I noticed with Colletta.

2. In several instances, the characters look more like they were drawn by Steve Rude rather than Kirby, which I know was not the case (this is an original issue), but never the less I can clearly see how Rude was influence by Kirby in this issue.

4Cover Art - 4: The cover does a very good job of summarizing the Superman half of this issue very well, however I knocked a point because, other than Jimmy being on the cover, there is nothing on the cover at all about the Jimmy/Newsboys half of the issue. Anderson inking Adams is very interesting, but just not for me. The crispness of Adams' work during this period is almost softened by Anderson's softer inks. Having said that, the artwork still looks great and is very dynamic.

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”




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