Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #66 (Story Two, Part 3): JIMMY OLSEN'S LAST STAND!

When last we read, Jimmy had taught Custer's men how to make fox-holes. Everything seems to be working out, but someone is about to spoil things yet again.

The futuristic fox-holes are being spied upon by none other than Lex Bull. Like a boxer, he refers to himself in the third person. "Our arrows cannot touch soldiers when they hide in holes! Make big medicine to drive enemy into open! Quickly! Gather wood! Build big fire!" (Now that is some first class exclamation point use! Gather wood! Yeah, that's something to exclaim as opposed to say, state. You wouldn't want to tell your men to gather wood without the proper amount of excitement in your voice. They'd think you were lame! Not a good leader! Unexcited about wood!) His minion replies, "At once, Great Chief!" Too bad the role is already cast as Lex Luthor because there could have been a great joke had it been Perry "Don't call me Chief!" White. Ah, the missed opportunities.

Please note also that Sitting Luthor's syntax is reminiscent of every bad portrait of Native Americans from Hollywood to other comics with Indians in them. Not that we would expect anything different, of course. We're talking 1963 here. Enlightenment came later.

Speaking of enlightenment, someone enlighted the Wood! and now there's a lovely fire. Custer spies on Bullex and watches as "those redskins" do something very odd. Great Chief is throwing leaves on the flames. Oh my God! Run for the hills! Not leaves! Anything but leaves! (I believe I've caught the exclamation point sickness! Must... resist! Must... phew. There. Much better now, thanks.) The leaves are making a lot of smoke and it looks a little like a tornado, but it's not supposed to. It's supposed to look like smoke rising straight up to the sky in a funnel-shaped cloud and then turning the skies dark, as if it were a storm. And there's lightning, too. Apparently, Bulluthor used "Indian magic" and created a storm. That is some powerful Great Chief. He can control the weather? I've heard of rain dances, but this was done with just some leaves.

As rain floods the soldiers out of their fox-holes (and I mean it literally fills the holes completely with water, like little swimming pools, all within the space of a panel) Jimmy figures out what happened. Jimmy's thought balloon is too good not to quote.

"I get it! History reports that Sitting Bull was a Medicine Man! Those strange leaves he threw in the fire brought on a storm, just like modern, rain-making chemicals! In a way, Sitting Bull is a scientist – just like Luthor, whom he resembles!"

Wow. That's not reaching at all. He went from medicine man to scientist and was able to seed clouds from the ground (he doesn't need a pesky flying machine) using a handful of leaves. Why, Sitting Bull and Lex Luthor are almost identical! Well, other than the fact that Lex usually wears a shirt. Gee, I wonder if there will be other comparisons between the two as the story progresses? Nah, it's been established. No comic would drive the point home with tunnel-visioned, excessive – what am I saying? Of course there will be. After all, we may not have noticed the resemblance between Lex and Sitting during the several times it's already been mentioned, not to mention that Mr. Bull is drawn identically to Mr. Luthor (minus that suit). But I digress. How long can this horrible storm last?

In the next panel, the storm is gone. Phew! But uh-oh, the fox-swimming-holes are useless now. Luckily, future boy is right there with a new idea stolen from his era. Jimmy explains to Custer what a tank is, and points to a convenient stand of trees. A wooden tank should stop the arrows, so Custer agrees to the plan. It's lucky that they have time to build one, though to be fair, there are arrows flying through the air as the men hammer a bunch of logs to a wagon frame. Still, they had to cut down the trees, trim all the branches, find those hammer and nails they happened to have brought to their battle, and carry all the logs into the open where the arrows could find them.

But what's this? Buffalo SuperBill is "carrying those heavy logs as if they were matchsticks!" Hmmm, he keeps behaving in such super ways. It's almost as if the man who looks exactly like Superman and keeps doing superfeats is hiding some super secret! Nah, it's just a coincidence.

Now they've got their tank. A moment while we think this through. Their tank is a bunch of logs nailed onto a wagon frame. Let's forget about what it would actually take to construct such a thing and figure Buffalo "I'm not really Superman" Bill did it all with his superstrength. Cool, they have a tank. But what's missing? Hmmm... the tank is shown traveling nicely across flat terrain. They've got slits for their guns, which they're shooting out of from the front of the... wagon... Where are the horses? This isn't a real tank, with a motor, this is a wagon. Wagons are not self-propelled vehicles. Horses or oxen are needed to pull the wagon. And yet, miraculously, Jimmy's brilliant tank not only protects them from arrows, it rolls happily across the plains without any need of propulsion. No horses, no motor, no wind sail, no Kryptonians, just rolls along. My confidence in the accuracy of this comic is severely shaken! There's no explaination! No long, convoluted "he seeded the clouds with leaves" type thought balloon! We're just supposed to believe that the wagon can suddenly propel itself across the plains without horses or oxen or Flintstone feet underneath or anything!

Oh, DC... how could you betray me so? How could you not include some bizarre explanation that solves nothing but sounds good to an 8 yr. old? ::sniff:: I can't go on. I'm afraid you're going to have to tune in tomorrow to find out more about JIMMY OLSEN'S LAST STAND.

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