The Mind-Shattering Madness of Jimmy Olsen #86, Part Three
This may come as a surprise to... well, absolutely nobody, really, but in my day-to-day life, I have a lot of conversations about Jimmy Olsen, and it was during one of these with my pal Scott a year or two ago when he said that Jimmy Olsen was "the best sidekick since Goebbels."
It's a pretty accurate statement, I guess, but that's an odd phrase even for my conversations, which is probably why it's stuck in my mind ever since. You can imagine, then, the sheer, unmitigated joy that I felt when I mentioned it offhand to Dorian Wright, and he came back with this:
And now you know the real reason I've been talking about this issue for three days. Because really, this is a comic book where Jimmy Olsen teams up with Hitler and that story doesn't even make the cover, and if that doesn't warrant three days of discourse, then I'm pretty sure Team America didn't either.
Yes, it's Leo Dorfman and (who else?) Curt Swan with "Jimmy's D-Day Adventure," and the whole thing gets started when Jimmy's visiting the Pentagon one sunny mid-sixties afternoon for a screening of captured Nazi documentary footage. One of the film canisters "accidentally" finds its way into Jimmy's briefcase, and being the kind of inquisitive lad who'll pop a reel marked "overexposed" into the projector just to check it out, he's surprised to find that it contains a film of someone who looks exactly like him hanging out with history's greatest villain and his pals.
Clearly, this is going to require some time travel.
Two things about this panel:
1. The fact that Jimmy doesn't immediately realize that going back in time means that it's going to be him in the picture and not his mysterious "double" means that he a) has absolutely no pattern recognition skills whatsoever, or b) is not that quick on the uptake.
2. As much as I like the idea of Silver Age Metropolis as a place where you could travel through time on less than a day's preparation, I'm actually more impressed by the fact that he was able to find that costume. Seriously, I'm not sure that I've ever actually seen a costume shop in my entire life, and yet Jimmy knows one that stocks fully authentic World War II correspondent uniforms.
Anyway, to effect his travel back to The Big One, Jimmy employs one of Professor Potter's rare inventions that actually works like it's supposed to, the Time Bomb, which looks like a crystal ball, and, if separated from Jimmy, will leave him stranded in 1944. Both of these facts are apparent, but only one's going to turn out to be a plot point.
One quick explosion later, and Jimmy's sent rocketing through the rainbow-colored time-barrier to Omaha Beach on D-Day, where he walks around thinking "What a thrill!" which, again, is probably not the right word to describe a battle that even the official 1st Infantry Division record describes as "a struggle for survival and rescue."
Jimmy Olsen: Not Easily Impressed.
He does take time to goggle at General Eisenhower, though, but before long his curiosity gets the better of him and he throws in with your standard issue stubble-sporting tough-guy Sergeant (not Rock, unfortunately), sneaking across enemy lines by disguising himself as a Nazi soldier and marching them to the cleverly-named "General Fritz" as his prisoners, at which time he chooses the single best way to ingratiate himself with the enemy:
Just a reminder here: Not only does Jimmy think that the best course of action here is to draw attention to the one item that he needs to keep on his person to avoid beingstuck in Nazi Germany in 1944, but from one High School German class, he's able to pass as a Psychic Nazi Soldier. That is just how Mr. Action rolls.
Thus, in a sequence that includes quite possibly the most remarkably sinister picture of Jimmy I've ever seen, he uses his apparent ability to predict defeats for the German Army right before they happen (so that they can't actually do anything about them) as "Von Olsen" to quickly rise through the ranks until he's become the right-hand man to the Führer himself:
His dubious clairvoyance aside, Hitler still doesn't quite trust Jimmy, and so he sets him up to test his loyalty with a tempting fraulein who slips him a note that identifies her as a spy for the Allies, at which time Jimmy promptly turns her over to the Nazis after employing the same kind of deductive reasoning and observation that would later show up in the opening scenes of Vin Diesel's masterwork, XXX:
Yep: He's willing to take the risk of selling her out and condemning her to a horrible death at the hands of the Nazis because she is not wearing wooden shoes. James Olsen, you are cold as ice!
And yet, the Ladies cannot get enough.
I think "I'll pretend I enjoy kissing her so those Nazi rats won't get suspicous!" just about sums it all up.
Of course, it's not until Jimmy's actually handed a Marshal's baton in front of a camera that he realizes it was actually him in the newsreel footage (see Point One, above), and things go downhill pretty quickly from there when he fails to "predict" the ill-fated assassination attempt on Hitler, who then finds his cheat sheet of events that led to the downfall of Nazi Germany and orders Olsen executed on the spot. When he runs for it, though, he finds himself staring right down the barrel of Lotte Lutz's lethal Luger, but since she apparently learned how to shoot from COBRA, everything turns out okay:
Somebody chucks a grenade at Jimmy, but Just Then™, the Time Bomb goes off (after over a month of Jimmy kicking wartime-style) and he gets pulled back to the (alleged) present, just in time to realize a crucial and completely nonsensical element to the story, just before the last third of the page is taken up with an ad about coin collecting:
And with that, pretty much any claim to legitimacy that Marvel Comics had on slapping the phrase "The Strangest Team-Up Of All!" onto a story where Ghost Rider teams up with Franklin Richards or whatever was blown out the window.
More Adventures with Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen!
| Jimmy Olsen's Three-Way Revenge |
| Sort Of Like A Love-In, But Much More Hateful |
| Jimmy Olsen's Guide to Life |
| A Day In The Life of Jimmy Olsen |
| Olsen = Pimp |
Mike Sterling did his own write-up of this story back in 2005 (which I haven't read, to resist the temptation to steal his dulcet phrasing outright). Check it out, because seriously: This is the kind of story you're not going to mind reading about twice.