Tuesday, April 25, 2017

They don't call him "Mr. Action" because of the ladies.

In Batman comics, occasionally you might suspect Commissioner Gordon of actually knowing Batman's secret identity. I've always been pretty sure Robbie Robertson at the Daily Bugle knew Peter Parker was Spider-Man. And Jimmy Olsen...well, he's narrowing it down, at least. From 1997, Adventures of Superman #550, "The Secret" Written by Karl Kesel, pencils by Stuart Immonen, inks by Jose Marzan Jr.

The former Daily Planet copyboy is moving up the ranks, with a prime-time special scheduled at his old newpaper's competitors, GBS. And he's got a bombshell to drop: Superman's secret identity. In-universe, most people didn't think Superman had a secret identity, but after seeing three people escape a burning building, it all fell into place for Jimmy. Superman was either publisher (and goatee enthusiast) Collin Thornton, former pro quarterback Johnny Dakota, or reporter Clark Kent. Jimmy also seems to have convinced himself that outing Supes would be doing him a favor: since this was the electric-blue era of Superman, he didn't have old powers like super-hearing; and Jimmy thinks it might be easier for people to come to him for help.

Jimmy and GBS hadn't announced what their big reveal on Superman was going to be, and while Cat Grant wonders if this isn't a terrible idea, her boss Mr. Zeller pushes it. Partly, because his boss pushes it: Lex Luthor. He has a court date regarding involvement with the Superman Revenge Squad (the name's a throwback to old Supes stories, this particular incarnation was nowhere near as wacky) and knows Jimmy's special will draw press and attention off of him. That's how it works today, too...

Jimmy invites Lois and Clark to his live special, but they weren't expecting to be on camera. Lois, having no patience for this brand of "gotcha" journalism, gives him an earful live on-air, while Clark seems far more relaxed: he wants to see where Jimmy was going with this. Clark patiently reminds Jimmy, that Superman not only does the right thing, but takes responsibility for his actions, and if anyone would be hurt, he'll do something else, no matter the cost. Looking like a deer in the headlights, Jimmy realizes he messed up, bad. After a little speech about how Superman is just a guy, Jimmy reveals, Superman's secret identity is, in reality...

While Lex has a laugh at being proved right--he never thought Superman had a secret identity--Jimmy is fired, with cause. Lois and Clark are proud of him, though, and offer to put in a word for him at the Planet, but Jimmy plans on taking a break. Still, he knows he's taking valuable lessons from his time at GBS...and a videotape with Superman's secret identity, Collin Thornton--oh, goddamnit Jimmy.

Meanwhile, in the back-up feature "The Touch of Evil" (Story by Karl Kesel, layouts by Tom Grummett, finishes by Denis Rodier.) after a scuffle with Guardian, cloned mobster Boss Moxie catches the tailend of Jimmy's special, and figures Jimmy does know, but backed down; and decides to get the answer out of him. Setting up another few weeks of comics!

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

Luthor actually laughed this all off? Huh. Hey remember the time back early in Byrne's run, when Lex had a special computer created that figured out that Clark Kent and Superman were one and the same, but Lex refused to believe it because it was Clark Kent, and he figured Superman wouldn't possibly choose to live as such a normal human? Good times....