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Image: Matt Fraction, Steve Lieber/DC Comics via Polygon

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Superman’s pal Jimmy Olsen is dead

At least, he’d really like you to think he is

If you know Jimmy Olsen as the red-headed photographer who’s perennially at Lois Lane’s side, you’re not wrong, but you’re also missing out on the hefty chunk of his character expressed in the infamous series Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen. The book, which debuted in 1954, was essentially a challenge to writers and artists to send the hapless teen photojournalist on increasingly bizarre adventures, culminating in Jack Kirby’s takeover of the title in the 1970s.

Now, that torch has been picked up by Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber. People keep asking me what the series is like, and I don’t have a concise answer for them. But this week’s cover is emblazoned with the giant question “WHO SHOT THE DECOY CORPSE OF SUPERMAN’S PAL JIMMY OLSEN?” and I guess I can say that if that doesn’t draw you in it’s probably not the book for you.

What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? I’ll tell you. Welcome to Polygon’s weekly list of the books that our comics editor, me, enjoyed this past week. It’s part society pages of superhero lives, part reading recommendations, part “look at this cool art.” Let’s get started!


Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #3

Jimmy Olsen completes his transformation into his new alias, Irresponsible Blogger Timmy Olsen, who might have a mustache, he hasn’t decided yet, in Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #3, DC Comics (2019). Matt Fraction, Steve Lieber/DC Comics

Somebody shot Jimmy Olsen’s decoy corpse, so he’s pretending to be dead in order to investigate his own murder, which also explains why he’s had to move to a roach-filled apartment in Gotham City. I am looking forward to the adventures of Timmy Olsen, Irresponsible Blogger.

Once & Future #2

Undead King Arthur knits his flesh husk back together an turns on one of his resurrectors for being Anglo-Saxon and not of pure Briton blood, in Once & Future #2, Boom Studios (2019). Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora/Boom Studios

Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora’s Once & Future is not not about Brexit, as the forces of evil resurrect an undead King Arthur who wants to cleanse England of everyone not descended from the island including Anglo-Saxons. But Mora’s rendering of Arthur’s bony, leathery body knitting itself back together over several pages of dialogue and carnage really sucked me in.

Steeple #1

Billie Baker, trainee priest, and Maggie Warren, trainee Satanist, meet cute, in Steeple, Dark Horse Comics (2019). John Allison/Dark Horse Comics

From John Allison, the writer of Giant Days and Scary Go Round, comes a new series about a trainee priest and a trainee satanist having a meet cute in a small English town beset by Lovecraftian monsters. It’s delightful.

House of X #5

The X-Men stand, naked and still slathered with orange egg goo, in the dawn of a new mutant future, as Storm announces them to the Krakoan crowd, in House of X #5, Marvel Comics (2019). Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz/Marvel Comics

The X-Men got very nakey this week, but, hey, it’s better than being very dead.

Superman #15

Superman’s father, Jor-El, tells a younger version of himself that their son unites the universe, just before they both perish in the destruction of Krypton, in Superman #15, DC Comics (2019). Brian Michael Bendis, Ivan Reis/DC Comics

A lot of things happened in this week’s Superman: The Legion of Superheroes invited Superboy to come live with them in the future; Superboy inspired the formation of the United Planets governing body, ushering in a new era of galactic peace for at least a thousand years; and Superman’s dad, Jor-El, aka Mr. Oz, was essentially sentenced to death for his crimes.

Jor-El’s presence in modern DC continuity, beginning around 2016, has always been kinda weird — for one thing, he’s kind of a human-hating bad guy? For another, doesn’t having Superman’s dad survive the destruction of Krypton tarnish the tragedy of his origin? Anyway: The United Planets decided to punish Jor-E by sending him back to his original origin story his natural time period, to die on Krypton.

And despite all of that, it’s hard to deny the emotion that Brian Bendis and Ivan Reis wring out of an older Jor-El telling his younger self that their son lives, nay, thrives, nay, changes the universe, in their final moments.

Batman #79

Batman explains that even though he and Catwoman met on the street, he was not yet Batman then, so he considers them to have truly met on the boat, in Batman #79, DC Comis (2019). Tom King, Clay Mann/DC Comics

Throughout Tom King’s run on Batman, Batman and Catwoman have argued about when they met. Batman says it was on “the boat,” a reference to Catwoman’s first appearance in 1940’s Batman #1. Catwoman says it was on “the street,” a reference to 1987’s Batman: Year One, the quintessential modern Batman origin story.

Now, Bruce finally explains why he insists it was on the boat — and, oh my god, Bruce, you’re so extra.

Absolute Carnage #3

The Venom symbiote merges with the Hulk in Absolute Carnage #3, Marvel Comics (2019). Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman/Marvel Comics

This week, the Hulk became Venom. Shockingly, this has never happened to the Hulk before!

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #12

“Hey, this isn’t the way to the airport,” protests the passenger in a limo. The driver is Spider-Man, and he is wearing a driver’s cap over his costume, in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #12, Marvel Comics (2019). Tom Taylor, Pere Pérez/Marvel Comics

Sometimes I put a panel in this roundup just because comics are even better without context.

Dead Man Logan #11

Danielle Cage shows she is worthy by lifting Mjolnir and gaining the powers of Thor, in Dead Man Logan #11, Marvel Comics (2019). Ed Brisson, Mike Henderson/Marvel Comics

Dead Man Logan, a 12-issue farewell to the even more grizzled, world-weary version of Wolverine from another dimension, capped off its penultimate issue with a bang this week. Fans of the original Old Man Logan miniseries will remember that in its post-apocalyptic Marvel setting, there’s a whole town in the American midwest that caters to pilgrims visiting the site of Thor’s hammer, which no one can lift. Well, this week, someone finally did it: Danielle Cage, daughter of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. Long live the new Thor.