Friday, November 16, 2007

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #66 (Story One, Part 2): THE BURGLARY KIT FROM THE FUTURE

So what do you do when you spot a futuristic thief in the next room? Jimmy, Lucy and Clark saunter into the room to confront him. Luckily the green-skinned future-thief speaks English. Jimmy threatens to call Superman with his supersonic signal watch. The thief drops the vibrating gun and picks up a black-out gun which knocks the earthlings out. Clark, of course, pretends to be knocked out (and we get a large thought balloon explaining the weapon, his fake black-out, and why in truth it doesn't affect him. What would silver age DC's have done without thought balloons?)

While the thief steals Jimmy's watch from his unconscious body (he appears to have a swarm of flies above his head. It's really that swirly "I’m unconscious" effect but just in case, I hope Jimmy closes his mouth. I wonder if he has sleep apnea? Oh, but I digress yet again), Clark sneaks out to change into his costume.

Superman catches the thief off-panel. Next thing you know he is flying the thief home in greenhead's time bubble (while centuries pass below their rainbow-colored flight. The only way to time travel is to do so in rainbow colors). Because he knows him, he calls the thief by name: Graxton 4-K. Apparently, in the future, green-skinned people will have bizarre last names. 'Graxton' is okay (in a Jerry Springer kinda way: "Graxton, you isn't the daddy of my baby! I bin sleepin' wif your brother Braxton! We's gonna name him Kraxton, after yo mama!") but 4-K? Is that the Delaware 4-Ks or the ones from Arkansas? The Delawares don't speak of the Arkansas branch of the family, y'know.

Meanwhile, Jimmy and Lois wake up and the Jimster sees that the thief left his burglary kit behind. Aha! Now we're heading into our plot. My favorite part of this whole story is, as Jimmy says, "That burglar left his tool kit! It's full of burglar tools from the future! And this booklet tells how to use them!" Yes, not only did he leave his tools behind, but he conveniently left the instruction booklet! You can hear the discussion on this between the writer and the editor. "But how does Jimmy know what these things are or how to use them?" "Oh, um, er, the thief left the instruction booklet." "Brilliant! Write it up!"

With the booklet instantly memorized, Jimmy dives into the bag and puts on the X-Ray glasses. (I don't know why he needed a burglar kit from the future for those. The same specs were sold in the back of many of his comics.) He tests them out by staring into his safe. Two problems here. The most obvious is that he never even glances at Lucy (who, I might add, beats a hasty retreat. She looks like she's worried that Jimmy will lose interest in staring at stuff he already knows is there and will turn his attention to what's under that spiffy red dress). The second is that we just saw his safe destroyed a few panels ago. How can he be looking into an intact safe if it was just crumbled to pieces? Although it appears he's looking at the side of the safe. Maybe it was only the door that crumbled. However, since the door did crumble, why not look into the gaping front to see what's there? Why use X-ray glasses to see inside something that is wide open yet not glance at the lovely Lucy? That Jimmy is one mixed-up kid. (And before you say anything, I get it – he wanted to test out the glasses on the "hardest metal in the universe". Still, is that what you'd look at?)

Jimmy escorts Lucy to her car but oh, no! She's locked her keys inside. All is lost. After all, how could Jimmy possibly find a way to... wait a minute! What about that burglary kit from the future? There happens to be a spiral magnetic beam in it that can open any lock! Phew! "Oh, Jimmy, you're wonderful!" Ain't he though?

As Lucy drives away Jimmy decides to write an article for the Planet about his new toys. Great idea! Let the entire criminal world know that you posses the ultimate set of burglary tools. Perfectly safe thing to do. No one would want to, you know, steal it or anything, right?

Luckily, Perry White has other plans. Perry wants Jimmy to get the goods on "Alibi Al", a bank robber who always has a perfect alibi. Jimmy figures he can crack the case with his new tools.

Jimmy pays a visit to Al and inspects the man's empty (but weird-looking) safe. No evidence there. Still, Jimmy has his suspicions. When Al is away, Jimmy breaks into his room, uses his fourth dimensional tongs (that can "slip through the hardest surface like butter!") and finds that Al has hidden his loot in the thick walls. Not sure how Al gets in and out of those walls. I think we can assume he's fresh out of fourth dimensional tongs, but ya never know.

Jimmy turns the loot over to the FBI, they arrest Al, and Jimmy is the hero of the day. But as he's leaving, he sees a "slick character". Obviously, looking slick means you have to be a bad guy. Surprisingly, slick is a bad guy! He's Count Slade and he stole radioactive fuel. The FBI guy says, "We have no evidence except for radioactive burns on his hands!" (I suppose there are tons of people walking around with radiation burns, so that's not the least bit suspicious.)

Looks like Jimmy is about to tackle yet another difficult case. I wonder if his burglar tools from the future will play a role? Tune in tomorrow to see the thrills and danger as Jimmy Olsen goes after Count Slade, a bona fide slick character who might be the end of Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen!

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