Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #136

Cooke Look: “The Saga of the D.N.Aliens”

I love the introduction to this issue: “It’s true! The Guardian is back! But — he is the Guardian of a new and frightening age! He is a child of ‘The Project,’ a new and far reaching experiment which could change humanity as we know it! For the Big Picture is unfolding, and each segment of it reveals the terrifying pattern of forces, the likes of which have never been seen on Earth! Yes — and the birth of forces which are yet to play their part in this great saga!”

This all is big, big stuff and we need time to process the implications, so it’s worth appreciating the nice balance of action and explication in this chapter of Jack’s big, big masterpiece.

Jack jams a lot into this issue, including a raucous slamfest between Giant Jimmy and The Guardian and the introduction of some particularly awesome Kirby koncepts, especially the Scrapper-Troopers and Dubbilex, the coolest D.N.Alien ever! There’s also tons of exposition expertly weaved in between the action — the Newsboy Legion dads telling the boys the fate of the original Guardian; Mokkari and Simyan explaining The Evil Factory and its connection to Apokolips; and Superman’s chatty, enormously informative tour of The Project with a flabbergasted Jimmy Olsen… (Poor Jimmy! Imagine having to take all that in after the previous issue learning there’s a veritable battalion of clones grown from his own DNA!)

We sense the Kirby juggernaut of hyperkinetic storytelling is about to come barreling at us helter-skelter again, why with the story’s final page depicting Mokkari and Simyan observing one of the “Unknown’s” eggs cracking open and we see, thrusting from the shell, one arm, then two arms, then… four arms??!! Oy vey, time to buckle up the seatbelt again, partners, cuz there’s another Kirby-driven bumpy ride ahead!

If I have any quibble with this issue, it’d be that Giant Jimmy is dispensed with rather quick-like and a tad neatly, encased as he is in a liquid nitrogen coating and plopped in Cryonic Capsule 31570, after the Scrapper-Trooper stealth attack — I guess the build-up had me hoping to see a more involved battle; but the coming “Four-Armed Terror” two-parter, culminating in the breathless, nail-biting suspense of the “Big Boom” and accompanying end-of-the-world (well, their world, for sure!) countdown to nuclear Armageddon… well, let’s just say the climax of Jimmy and the Newsboy Legion’s great adventure at The Project was worth getting to as soon as possible.

One question: Back in JO #135, the captain of the Mountain of Judgment, Jude, emphatically tells Superman, “You are needed at The Project!” Now, did they need the Man of Steel’s powers of deduction to find out who has been rifling their genetic material? Or is there anticipation of an invasion by the “rival Project”? Wouldn’t, maybe, a detective along the lines of Batman be more useful? (I keed, I keed…)