Thursday, 10 July 2014


The Saga Of The D.N.Aliens...

SPJO #136 Cover by Neal Adams
Having looked at Kirby's other three Fourth World titles over the past three weeks, it's time to return to the bizarre adventures of Jimmy Olsen. We ended on a cliffhanger, with a clone of 1940s hero the Guardian about to take on the giant, green kryptonite enhanced duplicate of Jimmy created by The Evil Factory. You remember, the one that's already taken out Superman, supposedly the most powerful being on Earth. So how long is the non-superpowered Guardian going to last?
Not that long, actually. About five pages. And that's including a double page spread. So, with the Guardian down, Jimmy rushes in to try to revive The Man Of Steel. BAD move, as he is promptly grabbed by his emerald hued counterpart.
The giant is taken aback when he discovers that he and Jimmy look exactly alike. Well, apart from the green skin, green hair and a whopping great size difference. Supes takes advantage of the hesitation caused by the creature's uncertainty by stomping the floor, causing a mini-tremor that throws the giant off-balance and drop Olsen. At which point there's a blinding flash, a cloud of pink smoke and down goes the not-so-jolly-green-giant.
So what happened?  Unseen by anyone, a miniature clone of Scrapper had parachuted in, landed on the giant clone's head and set off a grenade full of sleeping gas. His job done, a squadron of mini-Scrapper-clones (who will later be called Scrapper Troopers) also parachute in, set up some cryogenic equipment and freeze the sleeping giant with a coat of liquid nitrogen. Which makes him look a bit like another Kirby Kreation, the Silver Surfer. The Newsboy Legion (mark I) rush in, and have the creature taken away for further examination.
Over at the Evil Factory, Simyan and Mokkari are getting castigated by Darkseid for failing in their mission to destroy "The Project". Time to come up with another plan, but first they trot off to look at a giant mock-up of their rival. I guess Simyan or Mokkari REALLY wanted a model railway growing up!
Back at The Project, Superman, Jimmy and the Guardian congratulate themselves on a job well done, despite the fact that all they did was keep the giant busy until the "Scrapper Troopers" arrived to save the day. But then, hey, they're just clones after all. They don't need any credit!
Right, that explains EVERYTHING! I think!

Unusually for a Kirby Komic, for the rest of the issue nothing much happens. The Newsboys (Mark I) tell their offspring about the fate of the original Guardian. Jim Harper was shot in the line of duty, and as he lay dying he revealed to the now adult Newsboys that he had indeed been The Guardian. And they promptly nicked some cell samples and cloned him.
Meanwhile the Man Of Steel gives Jimmy another tour of The Project. More clones - Gabby replicas this time, whose sole purpose seems to be switchboard operators in The Project's communications section. And then even more clones, being brought up in a nursery.  "They belong here, Jimmy! The Project grows its own!" explains the Big Blue Boy Scout. Er, that sounds suspiciously like all The Project is doing is breeding "people" that are just happy to work for nothing. And how are they doing this? Good job Superman has a handy-dandy wall chart to explain everything. Or not!
Now, it appears that there are three types of clones being created at The Project - "Normals", "Step-Ups" (clones with higher intelligence which include The Hairies we saw in earlier instalments) and... "Aliens". Or rather one Alien. The titular D.N. Alien, in fact. A purple/grey dude with yellow horns called Dubblex. Exactly what Dubblex is isn't really explained, other than Superman's rather vague "The human cell has been subjected to a wide range of conditions -- and has yielded some strange developments!"
DUBBLEX - I'm not sure he's happy about being the local talking point!
Dubblex's post at The Project is purportedly a researcher, but seems really to be only there for The Project to show off to visiting dignitaries. “Dubbilex is resigned to being The Projects’ ‘conversation piece!’ He’s seen by every visiting V.I.P.!” says Superman, who is obviously taking Dubblex away from some vital research to show him off to a visiting dignitary... er, cub reporter.
"There was one senator who called me "The Man From Mars!" sighs Dubblex in response.
As the pair leave The Project's resident alien, Superman ponders what their hidden enemy is up to with the cells they have stolen. Good question Supes! Fortunately we readers have one superpower you don't. We can use our super ability of turning the page...

Aha! Mokkari and Simyan have obviously run out of Gamma Rays, because they've been zapping some human cells with "Beta Rays". The result is a batch of giant eggs, one of which is about to hatch, spawning...
Something with four arms. Something we'll see more of next issue...
Coincidence? Marvel's Four-Armed Men!
A quick aside. Here's a strange coincidence - this issue of Jimmy Olsen had a cover date of March 1971. Amongst DC's rival Marvel's comics for that month was "Where Monsters Dwell" #8. And what did this reprint comic have as it's lead story? A Kirby illustrated tale about a race of creatures with four arms called "Look Out!! Here Come... The Four-Armed Men!" originally published in Marvel's "Tales To Astonish" # 26. Most odd! Anyhow, back to the issue in hand.
After the breakneck pace of earlier installments of Jimmy Olsen, this issue just sort of fizzles out. After the initial eight page battle sequence, the rest is primarily exposition. It's still interesting stuff, and an enjoyable read, with Jack throwing concepts at the reader left, right and centre. The art is still prime Kirby, albeit maybe not as detailed as his work on the other Fourth World titles, especially New Gods. It's probably due to Jack putting more effort into his own creations rather than the title he inherited, but even if he didn't have the same enthusiasm for Olsen, he still gives us plenty of Kirby Goodness.
And to this day, Jimmy Olsen is my second favourite of the four Fourth World titles, behind New Gods. Why? Simply because it is so much FUN!
Next time on Fourth World Thursday, it's Super War over in the pages of Forever People.
Before that, there'll be a new Muck Monster Monday, where there shall come a Glob!
See you soon,

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