Jimmy Olsen #147 (March, 1972)


As the year 1972 began, Jack Kirby had only two issues left to go in his Jimmy Olsen run.  According to Mark Evanier (one of Kirby’s two assistants at the time), the writer-artist-editor hadn’t been enjoying the assignment all that much, and it’s probably safe to assume that he wasn’t sorry to see the end of it.  Nevertheless, before making his exit from the “Superman family” of DC Comics titles, Kirby would take the opportunity to deliver on an implicit promise regarding the Man of Steel which he’d made his readers at the end of Forever People #1, published a little over a year previously… 

As heralded by the cover of Jimmy Olsen #147 (generally attributed to artists Neal Adams and Murphy Anderson), while the time may have been “not yet” back in December, 1970 — or even in July, 1971, when Clark Kent had almost made an unplanned visit to the dark planet of Apokolips, meeting the bright New God named Lightray along the way — in January, 1972, the time was finally, definitely “now” for “A Superman in Super-Town!”

But before finally taking the Last Son of Krypton to those “distant, gleaming towers” of New Genesis, Kirby (joined by inker Mike Royer) would need to check in with the series’ titular star — who, when we’d had our last good look at him, was still in a regressed, proto-human state — a “Homo Disastrous”:

“Angry Charlie” had been featured on the cover of Jimmy Olsen #145 — but excepting a single glimpse of one arm in that issue, this is his first interior on-panel appearance.  And what an entrance he makes!

The Newsboy Legion’s Gabby, who appears to have a particular “touch” when it comes to Charlie, manages to get him more or less settled down, just as the authorities arrive…

The constable’s remark that Angry Charlie is “the last o’ the beasties” that we readers had previously seen being held in police custody (an assortment of critters that included a griffin, a chimera, a unicorn, and a basilisk), together with Tommy’s comment on page 2 that Charlie’s “the only survivor of the weirdies turned out in the Evil Factory” indicates that some disaster has befallen said critters since the last time we saw them.  It’s not at all clear what that could have been — the police lockup wasn’t anywhere near the explosion that destroyed the Evil Factory (which was miniature-sized to begin with), and presumably any remote effect the explosion might have had on its living products located elsewhere should have been shared by Charlie.  The fate of Charlie’s peers remains an untold tale — and since it’s probably a sad one, too, maybe that’s just as well.

Once again, Jimmy’s words portend a coming reckoning with “our respected employer Morgan Edge” that will never actually happen — at least, not in a story written or drawn by Jack Kirby.  About as close as we’ll come is a post-Kirby tale in Jimmy Olsen #152, published five months down the road, that really functions as more of a wrap-up to the Fourth World-adjacent “Edge clone” storyline that had been running in Lois Lane for a while than as a direct sequel to Kirby’s work.  (Not that that will stop us from covering it here on the blog come June, of course.)

Having decided to take their leave of Scotland, the only question that remains is whether all of the boys are comfortable flying back across the Atlantic in the Whiz Wagon (Morgan Edge’s private jet had gotten them to the U.K. in the first place), with the unpredictable Angry Charlie as an extra passenger.  Of course, not one of them has any problem with that plan — and so, with that settled, it’s time for a scene change…

Take a nice long look at that “dark tunnel of unknown origin” in the final panel of page 8, because this is the last we’ll ever see of it; fifty years later, its purpose still remains a mystery.

Indeed, Magnar is quite impressively powerful — so much so, that one wonders why he never turns up again in one of Kirby’s other Fourth World books.  On the other hand, perhaps Kirby’s whole point here is that New Genesis is full of folks who can knock Superman on his ass.

At this point the story shifts scenes back to Jimmy and the Newsboys, as the Whiz Wagon at last departs the Scottish town of Trevor; soon thereafter, the boys (and a supposedly tranqued-out Angry Charlie) are cruising high over the Atlantic…

The boys struggle to get Charlie back under control before he wrecks their vehicle — but they quickly discover he’s not the only thing they have to worry about…

from Ultimate Comic Blog

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