Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics

Jimmy Olsen #148

Jimmy Olsen #148

Cover date: April 1972

"Monarch of All He Subdues!"

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

Reviewed by: Charlie Niemeyer

Click to enlarge

Picking up from last issue's cliffhanger, we see Jimmy and the Newsboys in a cage and Superman being squeezed between a couple of stone walls. Using super-strength, Superman busts up the walls, freeing himself, before ripping apart the cage holding the younger heroes.

At this point, their host, Victor Volcanum, makes himself known. He explains that he used to be a balloonist in the days when flight was rare. One day, during a flight, his balloon collapsed, forcing him to land inside a volcano. But, being both smart and resourceful, he was able to use his equipment to "distill life-giving extracts from the fiery energies about him!!" Also, using parts from various wrecked ships that were washed ashore, he was able to build his first robot servant. Programming it to build more, he soon had a large robot army. He has spent the last 110 years (not a typo) planning his take over of Earth so that he can rule it.

Volcanum sends some robots after the heroes, but Superman is able to take them down. Suddenly the fire pits inside the volcano begin erupting. While Superman deals with that, Jimmy and the Newsboys are attacked by another robot. Jimmy is eventually able to take down the robot when Superman catches up. They enter the next room, but are knocked out by Volcanum's "brain blocker." Volcanum then has his robots pack up all of his files and mementos, then takes off in the Gondola he used to trap Jimmy and the Newsboys last issue.

When Jimmy wakes up, Superman wastes time showing Jimmy a model he found which demonstrates exactly how Volcanum is planning to take over Earth. They catch up with the Newsboys who have found the Whiz Wagon and Angry Charlie (who is sleeping), and they all take off after Volcanum as the volcano self-destructs. They catch up to Volcanum as he approaches Metropolis. Catching Volcanum by surprise, the Whiz Wagon attacks with all weapons while Superman enters the Gondola from the rear. As Superman destroys the circuits that control the weapons, Volcanum activates the self-destruct, destroying both him and the Gondola.

Superman rejoins Jimmy and the Newsboys and they head back to Metropolis.

4Story - 4: Once again we get another fun issue from Jack Kirby, which is fortunate since this is his final issue on the book. This neatly wraps up the story from the previous issue, but there are some sub-plots that were left dangling, namely Morgan Edge and Inter-Gang, and their connection to Apokolips.

We get to see Superman perform some super-feats, and Jimmy really takes charge as leader of the Newsboys. On the down side though, the Newsboys were pretty pointless, other than cheering Jimmy on. I found it weird that Superman would stick around and wait for Jimmy to wake up so he could explain Volcanum's plan with a model (which can really only be used once) instead of going after Volcanum. Also, Volcanum was going to take over the Earth one city at a time? For someone who had 110 years to plan, this wasn't a very good plan.

This issue also reprints a golden age adventure of Guardian and the Newsboys from Star Spangled Comics #14, originally published in 1942.

5Art - 5: Another great issue by Kirby. Things did seem a little more simplistic compared to last issue, but that could have something to do with Colletta inking this time rather than Royer. Anderson returns to ink the faces of Superman and Jimmy one last time, even though they had looked fine for the last 2 issues, but I'm not going to knock points off for it.

3Cover Art - 3: Great art by Neal Adams, but for one thing there isn't enough of it, and for another thing, it doesn't have much to do with what happens in the issue. There is no background which, considering the scene takes place in a cave, shouldn't have been too hard to actually draw (well, for a professional artist anyway). Also, it depicts a scene that took place over 2 panels of the story, and showed Superman ripping up the cage with little effort.

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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