"Friends in Need": Having gone undercover to expose a drug dealer named Fat Eddie Cortes, Jimmy Olsen discovers that he is not as adept at infiltration as he would like to believe. Fat Eddie learns the truth about Jimmy and chains him inside the lower compartments of
- My name's Jimmy Olsen, in case you didn't guess. James Bartholomew Olsen, it says on my birth certificate. Should look real nice on a tombstone, don't you think?
Synopsis for "Friends in Need"
Having gone undercover to expose a drug dealer named Fat Eddie Cortes, Jimmy Olsen discovers that he is not as adept at infiltration as he would like to believe. Fat Eddie learns the truth about Jimmy and chains him inside the lower compartments of a derelict ship, which he then scuttles, causing Jimmy to remark in his inner monologue "Looks like Fat Eddie was able to kill two birds with one stone". Failing to extradite himself, Jimmy is forced to use his signal watch to call Superman for help. Superman arrives just in time to prevent Jimmy from drowning. When Superman demands to know why Jimmy was the only one aboard the old tramp steamer, Jimmy tells of his experience with Eddie, causing Superman to chastise Jimmy for such a foolhardy attempt at a scoop. In a flashback, one of Jimmy's attempts to earn Fat Eddie's trust was to participate in a drug smuggling operation where a foreign-flagged freighter threw boxes of drugs into Metropolis harbor without actually entering its waters. Jimmy and the others then collected the drugs on speedboat, causing Superman to remark that if the harbor patrol knew of this, Jimmy would have been in a mess "not even Perry White could have gotten you out of". Superman then flies off into the sunrise.
The experience causes Jimmy to reflect upon his own life and figured since he was saved by Superman, the reader deserves to know the events that led him to invent the famous wristwatch. While still a copy boy at the Daily Planet, Jimmy was a teenager living with his mother, who was attempting to discourage her son from pursing a career in journalism. Jimmy also was friends with Chrissie Walker, who lived next door to him and had to live with alcoholic, abusive parents. After one argument with his mom over his job at the Daily Planet, Jimmy was confined to his room. There he sees Chrissie, who had tried to escape the misery of her home by ingesting an entire bottle of aspirin, but this had backfired and she had come to his house seeking aid. Jimmy reports this to Mrs. Olsen, who freaks out and runs outdoors, thinking there might be a patrol car in the neighborhood. Realizing that his mother will probably be unable to summon help (and is probably too frazzled to be of much help herself) Jimmy's quick-wits enabled him to cobble together an ultrasonic signaling device out of spare parts. Jimmy realizes that even if this does attract Superman, he may consider it a trap set for him by villains, however Jimmy realizes that he must try for some hope is better than none. Clark Kent, who is at the Daily Planet, hears this and flies off towards the signal. Jimmy's speculation was correct that Superman realizes someone is in danger, and thinks to himself "Maybe we may consider Superman too hard on himself, but for him, even one life lost is too many", and finds the signal at the Olsen residence. Superman grabs Crissie and gets her to a hospital, to which the doctors warn that another minute and she would have been a dead woman. Superman praised Jimmy for his ingenuity, and suggested that he should fashion his device into a wristwatch so he would always be able to call upon him for aid should another emergency arise. Jimmy later reveals Chrissie's parents were jailed for their negligence, and she was sent to live with more stable distant relatives.
The comic ends with Jimmy dressed in his signature bow tie and blazer meeting up for a date with Chrissie, now a full-grown woman. Jimmy ends through narration by saying his anticlimatic ending is realistic: "Not riding off into the sunset on a white charger, just two good friends going out for a burger".
Appearing in "Friends in Need"
- Fat Eddie Cortes (Single appearance)
- Chrissie Walker (Single appearance)
- Mister Krupps (Single appearance)
- Earliest chronological appearance of Sarah Olsen and Jimmy Olsen's Signal Watch.
- The character Chrissie is referred to with the last names MacMillan and Walker, which seems to be an accident.
- The ending with Jimmy remarking his platonic date with Chrissie was "just two friends going out for a burger" was a likely tribute to a scene in the 1978 film Superman, where Superman takes Lois Lane flying through the clouds. After bringing her back home, he returns to her place as Clark, suggesting a more realistic date of "going out for a burger".
- Action Comics
- Adventures of Superman
- Man of Steel
- Superman (Volume 2)
- Superman: The Man of Steel
- Superman: The Man of Tomorrow
- World of Krypton (Volume 2)
- World of Smallville