- Posted by Johanna on May 22, 2006 at 8:25 am
- Category: Superhero Reviews
- PUBLISHER: DC Comics; $16.99 US
Showcase Presents Superman Family is a big slab of wacky old comics. Don’t read it all at once if you value your sanity, but for browsing, it’s lots of fun.
The book reprints in black and white the first 22 issues of Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen, each of which contained three short stories starring the plucky cub reporter. Most of the stories are written by Otto Binder with art by Curt Swan and Ray Burnley. These craftsmen weren’t out to create great art, but they provided entertaining escapist adventure.
In his quest for the story, Jimmy rushes into dangerous situations, chasing criminals and testing new inventions, all the while knowing that his buddy Superman is looking out for him. His special watch emits a ultrasonic “secret Superman SOS signal” to alert his pal when he’s danger. Even with this extra edge, Jimmy is noticeably reckless, disregarding safety when he’s on the beat. Thankfully, he’s got the smarts and the guts to pull through. Even when Superman’s not around, he can hold his own in a fight, often working towards his own rescue, and he solves mysteries by placing together clues he’s observed. He’s a master of disguise and a technological wizard when he needs to be.
He’s also much too curious for his own good. When he discovers a previously overlooked oddity in his collection of Superman souvenirs, he decides to try drinking an unidentified potion just in case it gives him superpowers. His foolhardiness makes for entertaining stories, even if they sometimes turn out to be nothing but dreams or hoaxes. In just some of the tales here, he’s mistaken for a boy king; raises a baby dinosaur; diets to become a jockey; becomes a jungle boy, a marble champion, or a clown; and gains, at various times, the temporary powers of x-ray vision, invisibility, super speed, and invulnerability. It’s all a bit much for just one lucky boy, and sometimes he’s the butt of the joke, but Jimmy also helps out his buddy, trying to cover for an absent Superman to raise workers’ morale or rescuing him from Kryptonite.
Also included are the first Lois Lane solo story from the 1944 Superman #28 and the three Lois Lane stories from Showcase #9.