Monday, 2 June 2014


And we're back...

The second (published) chapter of the Fourth World saga picks up where the first left off, with Olsen and his new biker gang getting ready to head out on the highway to find the mysterious Mountain Of Judgement.

But first a word from our sponsor.  "Beware! Prepare for events new to all your past experiences! This is the strange assignment upon which Jimmy Olsen and his young friends of the Newsboy Legion have embarked! Come to the wild area -- the sub-world of bizarre sub-cultures. Like the Outsiders -- who live with a secret -- the awesome deadly secret Jimmy Olsen hopes to ferret out -- Jimmy Olsen must come to grips with The Mountain Of Judgement!"
So runs the first caption on the opening page of this story. As I've said before, Kirby had a real way with words. Sometimes it's just not the right words. "Prepare for events new to all your past experiences!" Huh? What does that even mean?

Oh well, back to the story...

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 cover by Neal Adams
Olsen, The Newsboy Legion and the Outsiders are ready to set off to find the Mountain Of Judgement when Super-Drag... I mean Superman butts in and starts to try to talk them out of it, suggesting it would be certain death or them. Looks like Supes knows more than he's letting on...
He doesn't get very far before one of the Outsiders decides enough is enough and tries to run the Kryptonian down with his motorcycle. A rocket powered motorcycle to be sure, but this is Superman we're talking about. Still, it gives another Outsider a chance to grab a convenient bazooka and fire a shell at him. A shell full of Kryponite gas! Hold on just a moment, here! Last issue a Kryponite ray-gun, now shells of K-gas? Did they just stockpile Kryptonite weapons in case of an invasion of Kryptonians? But wait! Our bazooka firing Outsider claims the weapons actually belong to the "Hairies". "And what are the Hairies?" asks Superman.

Time for another session of "Tell It To Auntie"...  
Yes, it's one of those awkward exposition scenes. Yango (remember him from last issue? The one that suddenly decided that Jimmy Olsen was his new leader?) explains to Supes that the "Hairies" were the original creators of Habitat, The Wild Area and the Kryptonite weapons. Then one day they just vanished, abandoning everything. He keeps on explaining all of this while beating on Superman, even after the Kryptonian loses consciousness and is being carried off. Who are you REALLY telling, Yango? Superman or the reader? Is this a case of the Fourth World breaking the Fourth Wall?

Anyway, with the Big Blue Boy Scout (and the exposition) out of the way, Olsen, the Newsboys and the Outsiders take to the road in search of the Zoomway, a mysterious road that supposedly leads to The  Mountain Of Judgement.  The road they're taking appears to be a dead end ending in a rock wall, but acting on his gut instinct, Jimmy guns the Whiz Wagon's motor, aims straight at the cliff face...

A nightmare of kaleidoscopic form black & white
...and tears through a fake wall onto a futuristic looking highway.  Not any old highway, this is the Zoomway. And it's full of dangerous traps which gradually whittle down the contingent. Loose rocks come flying at them. A giant gap in the road. A water filled tunnel (well, they need something for Flippa Dippa to do). And then, they activate a bizarre psychedelic light show, making it impossible to see the road ahead. Kirby informs us that "Jimmy Olsen and The Newsboy Legion and their Whiz Wagon careening madly through a nightmare of kaleidoscopic form and color!" Quite apart from that caption not quite making sense ("careen" would have better than "careening"), the freaky light show is portrayed by one of Kirby's patented cosmic photo-collages - in black and white(!). Fortunately the Whiz Wagon is equipped with radar, enabling them to stay on the road. By the time they pass through the cosmic mind-trip the Outsiders have all fallen by the wayside leaving just Jimmy and the Newsboys.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I mean Habitat, Superman has recovered from his beating earlier in the issue and sets off in hot pursuit of the youngsters. Just in time too, because they have found the Mountain Of Judgement and it's heading straight towards them! Turns out the MOJ is a gigantic (and I do mean gigantic) missile carrier that been disguised as a oriental dragon to terrify intruders.
The Mountain Of Judgement revealed!
Supes dives down and pulls the Whiz Wagon out of the path of the MOJ but both are pulled into the maw of the "dragon" by a powerful magnetic force. No sooner are they inside, then a group of hippies, the mysterious "Hairies", reveal themselves and start searching the Whiz Wagon for... a bomb! Which they finally find hidden inside the vehicle's TV camera. Aha! So that was Morgan Edge's ulterior motive all along. Use Olsen and Co. to find the "Hairies" and blow them up! Good job Superman's tagged along, as he takes the brunt of the explosion, leaving everybody unharmed! Jude, the elected leader of the "Hairies" thanks the superhero, saying "You know our story! We seek only to be left alone - to use our talents to develop fully!"
To which Superman tellingly replies "Yes I've been let in on your top secret file!"
Uh, Superman? Just a few pages back you DIDN'T know about them! You had to ask the Outsiders about them, remember? Or was that just to goad Yango into giving the readers a bit of exposition?

Darkseid's 1st appearance. In one panel of an issue of Jimmy Olsen.
And who are the mysterious unseen enemies of the "Hairies"? Morgan Edge and his cronies in Intergang, obviously. But wait! There's a last minute reveal. Old Morgan has a boss, and he is NOT happy. He's also not human! He is in fact, as we'll soon find out, a god. And not a good god, either! His name is Darkseid and he is destined to become one of the major villains of the DC universe. And his first appearance? ONE minor panel in an issue of Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen. How ignoble a beginning!
Still, more hints of Kirby's great cosmic epic to come and another of the major players is now on the board. Maybe we won't find out much about Darkseid for a while, but when we do...
Oh, and  it's pronounced Dark-SIDE, not Dark-SEED in case you were wondering.
Next time on Fourth World Thursday - things get even weirder!
See you soon!


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