Saturday, November 17, 2007

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #66 (Story One, Part 3): THE BURGLARY KIT FROM THE FUTURE

When last we read: Jimmy, high on the success of his burglar tools from the future, sees a slick character with radioactively burned hands named Count Slade. The FBI can't get the evidence they need but Jimmy has a plan. Now back to our story:

Naturally, Jimmy decides that he's the man who can get the goods on Slade and keep that radioactive fuel out of the hands of America's enemies. After following him, Jimmy overhears Slade mentioning that he's having his penthouse redecorated by The La Paree Company. Ooh la la! This'll give Jimmy a chance to wear a disguise! He loves wearing disguises.

And lookee here, it's a man with brown hair and a goatee. He's wearing a blue suit. I didn't think Jimmy owned any suits that weren't green. Learn something new every day. Jimmy talks his way in the door and when left alone goes right to work with his X-Ray specs. He instantly finds the radioactive fuel capsule hidden in a lead box in the TV set. This gives Jimmy a chance to feel superior to Superman because ol' Supes can't see through lead.

Instead of using his fourth dimensional tongs, he wraps an anti-gravity belt around the entire TV so he can float it out the window into the hands of the FBI. Personally, I think the tongs would've been a better choice, but this way it's far more dramatic when he gets caught next to a floating TV. Yup, the Count knew Jimmy was a fake and set him up. How did he know? Because all the decorators at La Paree are women. At this point, with Slade holding a gun on Jimmy and telling him how lame he is, our Jimmy thinks "I'd better put down that TV set or he'll plug me!" Now he decides that? Maybe he just wanted to be sure Slade noticed his burglary tools from the future.

Slade uses his radiation burned hand to slap the wig off of Jimmy. Apparently, Jimmy is the only redhead in Metropolis because Slade instantly recognizes him as the snoopy reporter. That gets Jimmy ulp-ing. Then comes another favorite moment. Slade looks at the open case of tools and says, "What's this? A burglar kit from the future, with full instructions!" No hesitation. He just instantly recognizes that a) it's a burglary kit, b) it's from the future, and c) it has instructions. So far, we've seen some of the tools and they're things like tongs and a belt. Personally, I doubt I'd instantly recognize these items as being from the future. I suppose Jimmy left the instruction book right on top (we have to assume it isn't labeled "How to use these burglary tools from the future" because if you print the booklet in the future, it's not the future, it's the present). But how on earth did Slade know exactly what everything is with a mere glance. Not that I don't understand why he instantly understands how useful they'd be. After all, if you're smart enough to recognize tools from a thousand years into the future, you can probably figure out that, being a crook yourself, they'd come in handy.

So Slade then decides to push Jimmy off the balcony, but ole Red quickly tells Slade that he won't be able to use the tools with one hand. He'll need Jimmy to help. Slade sees the logic. Jimmy brings out a teleporter and thinks he can transport some FBI guys into the room. Slade wants him to transport his buddy, who's on death row. Jimmy does as he's told cuz the gun is right in his face. (I still think the FBI guy idea was a good one. How was Slade going to know? Then again, an FBI guy who standing around on the street suddenly finding himself in the middle of a hotel room with an armed thug, well, he might spend a couple of seconds wondering what in blazes had just happened instead of drawing his weapon).

Meanwhile, Mitch Baron is in his cell being served his last meal. Sounds tasty, too. But suddenly, "...a giant transparent cocoon" forms around him. The guards figure out it's an escape attempt, shoot at the cocoon, but it's not good. Mitch is now in the apartment with Jimmy and Slade.

The two thugs discuss the teleporter, deciding they can loot every safe in town from the comfort of their living room. But since the FBI has the place under surveillance, they decide to do the looting from another location. Jimmy is wishing he could signal Superman, but of course that thief stole his signal watch. (Nice bit of continuity there. Plus it makes Jimmy's usual easy out impossible.)

Onto Slade's private yacht they go. Once at sea, Jimmy is told to set the teleporter to rob some gold bars from a bank. Jimmy does as told and then is put in a rowboat and sent his way because they're beyond the 7 mile limit. Nice of them not to kill him. After all, he knows their entire operation now. But no, that magic 7 mile limit will keep him from talking, I guess.

But what's this? Jimmy is cackling, very proud of himself. He watches at the gold bars continue to land on the yacht in a huge, never-ending stream. (When Jimmy teleported Mitch, he didn't fly through the air to the apartment. He disappeared in a cocoon. But for some reason, the bricks appear to be traveling through the air in a long line. I take back what I said about continuity.) Jimmy tricked them by teleporting from Fort Knox instead of the local bank. He's so clever!

The thugs can't reach the machine and it becomes obvious that the gold is going to sink the yacht, which it does. Finally, superman makes his entrance (did he follow the flying yellow brick road?) and he saves Jimmy, the crooks, and the gold.

Jimmy explains how smart he was with his whole Fort Knox thing. Superman decides to take the burglar kit to his Fortress of Solitude and invites Jimmy to come along. Jimmy, however, has a date with Lucy, so no thanks, big blue. "Later, at the end of a perfect evening..." Jimmy the burglar "steals" a kiss. He's so smug about it he straightens his bowtie (which is what the instruction booklet told him to do were he to be on a date with a beautiful blonde).

And that's the end of THE BURGLAR KIT FROM THE FUTURE! Did you enjoy the story? Want more silver age Jimmy Olsen? Let me know. If you said yes, you're in luck because there are two more stories in this issue and they'll be coming to this blog next. Stay tuned!


Josh Lockwood said...

Bringing back a lot of old memories, Joanna.

I'd love to see you do something from Al Capp. Just for laughs.

Joanna Sandsmark said...

Sadly, I don't have any Al Capp, Josh. But I do have more Jimmy Olsens, Lois Lanes, Supermans, Batmans, Actions, Sensations, Wonder Womans and more. I hope you come back tomorrow for the second story. I'm working on it now and it's a corker.

Thanks for the comment!

Jim Perreault said...

I was traveling for a few days, so I'm playing catchup.

I've always found Jimmy Olsen one of the more annoying Superman characters ( I've never been a fan of kid sidekicks), but this retelling was a lot of fun. Loved the gold trick. I get the feeling Jimmy must have lost his signal watch a lot.

You asked the question what I would do with the burglar kit. It occurs to me that it would make for a great set of kitchen gadgets. You could use the X-ray specs to check on a cake with out opening the oven. You could use the tongs to check the temperature of a roast or turn something over without losing any heat. I bet you could make a lot of money selling a whole line of products.

I certainly would not use it to look under my dates clothes. Not if I wanted to continue the relationship. ( And especially not Lucy, who would be sure to tell Lois, who would tell Superman, and then I would be in big trouble. )

Concerning today's comics, they certainly lack the exposition that this story had. I think it makes them incomprehensible to newcomers. So in the future, they won't be regarded as silly; just unreadable.

Joanna Sandsmark said...

Some excellent thoughts there, Jim. As a kid, I felt Jimmy was ok, but I was bigger on Lois, Supergirl and, of course, Superman. However, when it comes to doing these revisits, Jimmy Olsen has the perfect kind of storytelling in it. Outrageous silly stories are personal favorites of mine, and besides, I needed to do a comic with a male lead since so many of mine are female focused comics.

Great idea about cooking. And they would be very helpful if you lost something, too.

I agree with you on the sillyj vs. incomprehensible. the bulk of GA and SA stories are self-contained or at the least, contained in one comic. There were some "to be continued"s but they were rare. that's one of the things I love about these books.

Thanks for reading along, Jim, and don't miss JIMMY'S LAST STAND because it is a major hoot!