Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Jack Kirby's New Gods: Jimmy Olsen #144

[Andy Bentley continues his issue by issue look at Jack Kirby's New Gods.]

“A Big Thing In A Deep Scottish Lake!”

I’ve come to terms with the Jimmy Olsen title. Although I dislike the term “It is what it is”, it seems the appropriate here. So I will concentrate on the merits of the material presented. And away we go....

Once again, Jimmy Olsen and Superman have been placed in separate ‘A’ and ‘B” stories and an urban or cultural legend is involved. This time it is the infamous Loch Ness Monster who has reportedly destroyed a passenger vehicle in Scotland which has captured the attention of one Morgan Edge. Edge deftly denies all accusations Jimmy and the Newsies throw at him and then redirects them to Scotland to debunk the Loch Ness story. This plan isn’t cheap as the boys travel on a sleek looking jet and descend from the sky in the Wiz Wagon. They’re greeted by an elderly gentleman by the name of Felix MacFinney who after a meal and a good night’s sleep captains them to the lake. Flippa Dippa (who’s been in a state of perpetual bliss ever since water was mentioned) dives in for reconnaissance and is grabbed by another diver hidden in the darkness of the water. The boys get suspicious with no response from their diver and turn around to find MacFinney has pulled a gun on them. As the newly revealed Intergang member is about to pull the trigger, Scrapper’s tiny clone (from the Life Project) activates a sonar whistle which causes the monster to rise to the surface and overthrow the boat. Jimmy and the Newsies regroup at the lake’s shore where Flippa Dippa has been waiting for them. Ginny, MacFinney’s daughter, was the diver that saved Flippa and as the issue closes, she’s ready to give the boys some answers.

The Jimmy sequence feels very much like a Scooby Doo episode due in part to Kirby’s artistic choices. Gone are the dynamic muscled poses of Kirby’s superhero work. Our characters are now in simplistic cartoon poses, with the contorting facial expressions of MacFinney and the comical faces of the Newsies. In fact, I could imagine a Warner Bros. type cartoon soundtrack while reading the issue.

Superman anchors the ‘B’ story this time, as does the new Guardian. The two have accepted a invitation to a discotheque in Suicide Slum. The fact that Superman calls the club a discotheque is an indication that this is again “out of touch, establishment” Superman. The club is called the Cosmic Carousel, a name which sends Kirby almost into self parody. Terry Dean, Edge’s secretary, is in attendance and the familiar face helps Superman’s obvious discomfort. The panel of Superman and the guardian sitting at a nightclub is one to study. Superheroes doing pedestrian acts in costume is rare because it demonstrates how odd they’d be in real life. The entertainment consist of some hippie looking kids with odd instruments that resemble the ones used at the Life Project. Dubbliex, directly from the Life Project, is also in attendance and gives Superman the call to action he was desperately hoping for. The two discover a long tunnel under the club which the band doesn’t seem to want them to investigate. They hit a note in unison to summon Barriboy who uses his instrument to cause the ceiling to collapse. The conclusion is to be revealed next issue.

Final Musings

-I’m gonna guess that the monster in Scotland is somehow related to Superman’s debacle at the club with the Life Project being the common denominator. The band at the Cosmic Carousel had a lotta inside knowledge. Darkseid? Cloned Guardian?
-Flippa dippa and Scapper continue to vie for the title of my least favorite character. Flippa dippa won out this issue with the “ghetto gupppie” line.
- The silver haired temptress is a reoccurring character in comics. We have Ginny here in Jimmy Olsen. There is also Silver Sable at Marvel and Silver St. Cloud in the Engleheart penned Batman of the 1970’s
-Suicide Slum is another 40’s DC Kirby creation. It’s basically the bad side of town. Originally set in NYC, it has stayed part of Metropolis since the Fourth World saga.
- If I’m Morgan Edge, I’m just putting a bomb in the plane traveling to Scotland. Case closed, all hail Darkseid.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't know if Silver Sable was ever really a "temptress" figure. Quite the opposite, she was usually aloof, mysterious, and professional. I think the only time Marvel ever depicted her romantically involved with anyone was her love/hate relationship with the Foreigner.