At two comics a week I should be caught up decades after I’m dead.

§ July 15th, 2020 § Filed under this week's comics § No Comments

So the thing about the Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen series by Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber is that it seamlessly merges the 1960s “anything goes” sensibility from Jimmy Olsen stories from that period, with a more modern storytelling style that’s more palatable to current tastes. Nonlinear presentation of chapters, a surprisingly dense amount of plotlines, and an excellent punchline (not to mention a huge change to the relationship of Jimmy to another character, which I hope sticks) all make for a very satisfying reader.

Speaking of the denseness/Nonlinearity…due to my eyeball health issues, I had to put off reading most comics for…well, many months. So when it came time to start reading again, I had a pretty good stack of Jimmy Olsne to read, so all the weird twists and turns of the plot remained fresh in my mind as I went from issue to issue, in a way that they may have not had I been reading this once a month as it came out. The bite-sized chapters into which each issue was split made it easily consumable, but I’m sure this is going to make one satisfying lump of funnybookin’ once it gets all collected together under one cover.

Another book that evoked a prior era for me was Immortal Hulk #35 by Al Ewing and guest-artist Mike Hawthorne. I mean, yes, we’re still in the “Hulk as Horror Comic” phase of the character, but it feels very ’70s/’80s to me, especially with the classic Savage Hulk making a personal appearance to be thanked by a community he saved. Plus we get a bit of business where Banner and said Savage Hulk have a “face to face” discussion in Banner’s…well, their…mind about trying to coexist. It’s a thing we’ve seen before in Hulk comics, and the point is even made in dialogue that it’s been done before, but something about the way it’s done in this story. More emotionally adult, less melodramatic…a resigned Banner conceding to an angry and upset Hulk that they do need to work together…it’s affecting in a way that it hadn’t been before.

The horror aspect of the book is downplayed slightly, but the suspense is definitely there, especially in that aforementioned sequence with Hulk visiting that town to receive thanks from the populace. You keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, especially in the context of this series where a really awful thing can happen at any time. I said this reminded me of older style Hulk stories, but in those if a situation like this went bad, Hulk would just shout “BAH!” and jump away, not really hurting anyone. But now, in these modern stories, you just know something terrible is about to happen. And…does it? Look, I’ve already said too much, but I’m sure you can probably figure it out.

One thing I liked was the first page, text with illustrations catching you up what was up with Banner and IDing some of the other Hulks you’re likely to come across. I’ve been keeping up with Immortal Hulk best I can during the eye-enning, but having a little primer to jumpstart the memories is quite welcome, particularly in a story that can have its own set of twists.

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