Thursday, November 22, 2007

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #66 (Story Two, Part 5, FINALE): JIMMY OLSEN'S LAST STAND!

When last we read, Jimmy was held captive in Sitting Bull's camp. He's guarded by an eerily familiar Indian. I don't know if you figured out who it is (no one left a comment so I can't tell) but his secret is about to be revealed by Jimmy "In my era..." Olsen. Ready? Then let's get to the thrilling conclusion of JIMMY OLSEN'S LAST STAND!"

Jimmy thinks several more exclamation points about the invasion plans he just heard and feels he must get back to Custer immediately to warn him (Lex is attacking at noon. So far Custer has seen every attack and met it, even the one at night, thanks to Jimmy. Why is it so deadly that they're attacking at noon? Will Custer and his men be distracted because they'll be picnicking and won't want to leave their egg salad sandwiches and potato salad?) Jimmy devises a plan that just might work!

He tells his guard to untie him because he's a powerful medicine man and will give the guard a magic talisman. The eerily familiar Indian (Is a mascot from Cleveland? No. Atlanta? No.) For reasons completely unknown to me, Familiar-guy cuts Jimmy free. He really wants that talisman, I guess. Jimmy pulls something out of his pocket and says, "Watch closely! By just squeezing my fingers together I will create your imagte on this bit of metal!" Hmm... a bit of metal. An image of an Indian on a small, round piece of metal. D'oh! The Indians portrait was indeed right on the money because Jimmy hands him an Indian-head nickel.

Man, now that is some coincidence that Jimmy's guard just happens to be identical to the portrait on the nickel down to the last detail. It's almost as if he was drawn using a nickel as a guide! It's uncanny! Quick, Jimmy! Go find the identical buffalo to the one pictured on the reverse so you'll have a set! (No, not Buffalo Superbill – the bison kind.)

Jimmy hands the Indian the nickel. "The simple savage is stunned by Jimmy's feat of 'magic', and..." Oh, my, nothing offensive there. 'Simple savage'. Please forgive me for even repeating that, but it's so indicative of the era and helps us understand how far we've come. There will always be things in these stories that don't jive with today's world. Still, there is value in seeing the past for what it was and not sitting in judgment on it. It is what it is and now is now.

The Nickel Man lets Jimmy go and has a neato souvenir of his future fame. Jimmy, meanwhile, sees that the Indians are heading off on their horses to attack Custer. For some reason, Jimmy thinks he can outrun horses and make it in time to warn the cavalry of the impending battle. He can not. By the time Jimmy gets there, we see our first real casualties. A dead soldier with an arrow in his back (was he running away? Heaven forfend! Not our brave white guys! There must have been some other reason) and a wagon on fire.

A distraught Jimmy doesn't hear the "stealthy footfalls behind him until..." Sitting Bulluthor grabs Jimmy by his bright red hair. "Har! It is the paleface medicine man! He escaped! But I have him now! His red-haired scalp shall be my finest trophy!" Lexbull holds a tomahawk above Jimmy's head, preparing to strike. "Sitting Bull! It's my finish! Yeeeaaaa!" ("It's my finish"? What odd final words. They're so formal. No 'I'm gonna die!' from Jimmy. Nope. Instead we get an "It's my finish!" Almost bizarrely cool in a way now that I roll the words on my tongue. Very melodramatic. Okay, I now approve. Let's move on, seeing as it's Jimmy's finish and all.)

Suddenly a big rainbow whoosh! And Jimmy is back in Frontier City with Superman! Holy plot twists, Batman! And what's this? He's got fingers growing out of his head! Oh, no! Something messed up in the time travel and his fingers ended up growing out of his ear while... his... oh. That's Superman's hand. Never mind.

And now, let's have the requisite "I'm going to explain everything that just happened in this story" moment with our host, Superman. "No, Jimmy, you weren't in the past! You see, Sitting Bull's pipe was stuffed with a dried plant resembling loco-weed, and when you smoked it, the fumes gave you hallucinations!"

Adding to the explanation and in a desperate attempt not to make the readers mutiny due to a plot twist that is despised by most writers, Jimmy says, "Then it was a nightmare! (note how he avoids saying the words, "Then it was all a dream" and opts instead for the 'nightmare', a form of dream but since he didn't use the exact word, perhaps you won't notice.) You wouldn't believe it! Sitting Bull looked like Luthor and Buffalo Bill looked like you!" (and the guy from the nickel was there, and you, and you, and you, and oh, Aunty Em, I'll never leave home again!)

Superman throws a final volley just in case there's one 8 year old left who doesn't quite understand. "No doubt it was your visit to Frontier City which caused you to have a dream (there's that word!) about Custer's last stand!" Ya think, Supes? Could Jimmy having just stared at a diorama of Custer and then smoked Sitting Bull's pipe have put those people in his psyche? I suppose it's possible...

The next day, a frustrated Jimmy tears up his story. He tells Clark that "no matter how I write it up, that pipe-dream doesn't make sense!" Heh. Pipe-dream. Clever, Jimmy. After a recap of the story we just read as proof that it doesn't make sense (roflol – what message is THAT sending?) Clark agrees that it all sounds far-fetched. Bwa ha ha ha. They're putting down their own comic for the silliness and it's all done with a 'straight face', so to speak.

The final panel has Clark staring at the torn piece of paper and noting that Sitting Bull ends with two 'L's so hmmmm.... "I wonder!" he thinks. But Clark, maybe Sitting Bull was really Lois Lane? Or Lana Lang? Or Lori Lemaris? Or...

Thanks for reading along, everyone! If you liked this story, let me know. And please stay tuned for the third and final adventure, THE CABINET FROM KRYPTON! Ooh, the cover story. This one looks great!

NOTE: Although I have been posting every day, I need to switch to posting on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. These crazy write-ups take a lot of time and my other work was suffering. I hope you'll stick with me, read along and have a good time here on Comic Books Revisited! If you like what you see, please consider linking to it on your blog.


Jim Perreault said...

I must admit, the bit with the Indian on the nickle was pretty clever. I did not predict that!

But other than that, I did not like the story. You made a vaiant effort in retelling it, but I just could not suspend my disbelief enough to enjoy it. If Jimmy had tried any of those "future tricks" then ( if he wasn't laughed at outright ) then Custer would have been slaughtered even quicker.

The next story does sound better, though.

Joanna Sandsmark said...

The nickel took me by surprise, too, and I genuinely couldn't immediately place that very familiar looking Indian.

Of course you're right about the future tricks and the bizarre "hey, he looks just like ______" stuff. Naturally, since it was all a 'dream', none of it mattered. And that's why that particular plot twist is reviled among writers. I suppose in comics it just didn't matter since they were marketed to kids.