Saturday, February 21, 2015

TOS: The World of Doomed Olsens!

"The World of Doomed Olsens"
From Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #72
Released August 15, 1963
Written by Jerry Siegel
Pencilled by Curt Swan
Inks by George Klein
reviewd by Metropolis Kid

The story opens with a mysterious alien called the "Collector" appearing on Earth. He claims that Jimmy is responsible for the total destruction of his distant world, citing the vibrations from Jimmy's Signal Watch that he received from Superman as the source of his planet's demise. As punishment, the Collector decrees that Jimmy must be destroyed by duplicates of the many wacky transformations that he's had over the years. These include Turtle Boy (Jimmy first became the giant Turtle Boy in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #53), Porcupine Olsen (Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #65), Fat Olsen (Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #49), Wolf Boy (Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #44), and Elastic Lad (Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #31).

The duplicate Olsens seem intent on carrying out the Collector's wishes, but Jimmy convinces them all to join him and unite to battle against the Collector together. As they battle the Collector, Jimmy realizes that he is on the wrong side of a prank, and after seeing the extremely powerful Collector flinch at the microphone he tossed, he deduces that the Collector and Olsen duplicates are the Legion of Super-Heroes in disguise. The Collector is really Mon-El (who flinched out of fear of the lead in the microphone), Turtle Boy is really Colossal Boy, Porcupine Olsen is really a disguised Cosmic Boy, Fat Olsen is really Bouncing Boy, Wolf Boy was actually a disguised Proty II, and Elastic Lad is really Chameleon Boy.
The Legionnaires drop the ruse and reveal to Jimmy that is was his initiation test. They then take Jimmy off to the Legion Headquarters in the 30th Century, where he is officially inducted as a Honorary Member of the Legion of Super-Heroes.

This is a really fun Jimmy and Legion of Super-Heroes story. I have always really enjoyed this story, to me it represents one of the better "silly" DC Silver Age stories. I have always had a fondness for Jimmy Olsen exploits, especially from the Silver Age, and this one is a blast. If you've been following along with our Round-Table Discussions on the very early Silver Age Legion appearances, it should come as no surprise that the Legion resorts to ridiculing and hazing their new inductees. All things considered, Jimmy got off easy on his initiation, and it should be noted how quickly he deduced he was the subject of a hoax.

So "Superman's Pal" Jimmy Olsen is now an Honorary Member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, but that also makes Jimmy one of the only (if not the only at this point?) member of the Legion to not actually know Superman's true identity as Clark Kent. Jimmy is constantly put into dangerous situations because he "knows" Superman and is then inducted into a club where everyone else knows Superman's secret identity, and Superman still doesn't let Jimmy in on the secret. Superman's Pal indeed.

 With regards to the page layout and storytelling, the art is pretty typical of the DC house style at the time, but it's done by one of the best, Curt Swan, who drew a number of Silver Age Legion exploits, and is undoubtedly the artist most associated with Pre-Crisis Superman. It has been reprinted in a number of places, including the giant-sized issue of Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #140, Adventure Comics #500 (digest), Legion of Super-Heroes Archives vol. 2, Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 1, and the Amazing Transformations of Jimmy Olsen TPB. If you have any interest in Jimmy Olsen's wacky Silver Age adventures and his wacky transformations, I highly recommend the Amazing Transformations of Jimmy Olsen TPB, it contains some real Silver Age gems.

A final point of interest (maybe) is regarding the name "The Collector." In this story it is obviously just a disguise used by Mon-El in a Legion prank, but if you're at all familiar with the history of the The Avengers or the Marvel Studios Franchise, that name probably stuck out at you. The Collector in the framework of the Marvel Universe is an eccentric villain named Taneleer Tivan. He is one of the "Elders of the Universe" and as his name implies, he goes around collecting rare and important artifacts and people. So we have two alien weirdos running around collecting people; you can't help but see the similarities. But Marvel's Collector doesn't appear until Avengers #28, which went on sale March 10, 1966, almost a full 3 years after this, Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #72. So DC beat Marvel to the punch on the name and motif, even if it was just a disguise used in a prank.

No comments:

Post a Comment