Comic Review: Jem and The Holograms #1

JemModernIDW (2015)

I must admit to being glad to see this comic on the shelves. There’s something about Jem’s clean-cut glam rock styling that appeals to me. It’s like KISS but for kids. The comic itself is very stylish, coming in about twelve different variants. I got the ‘group’ cover, showing the new Holograms in their entirety. Others show the classic characters or more abstract images. As far as I can figure, all of the covers have a sparkly holographic logo. Pretty sweet!

The artwork inside is passable. The characters themselves are snazzy and ostentatious; their makeup and clothing really screams “80s” while managing to look modern. Full marks for design, at least. However, there’s very little flair or style in the art itself – a shocking amount of panels are against plain white backgrounds, and there’s only so many times you can see a close-up of a girl’s face before it gets a bit samey.

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The script doesn’t really go anywhere, but the characters are believable, if a little dull. Apart from Jerrica (the titular Jem) and Kimber (her younger sister), no-one really says or does anything. Jerrica is the only one with any real personality – she’s the lead singer of the band, you see, but suffers from terrible stagefright. She adopts the Jem alter-ego to overcome her fear.

The most interesting and verbose character appears halfway through the book in Synergy, a computer-controlled hologram that appears to Jerrica like some kind of fairy godmother. Perhaps the characters will develop further in future issues, but my expectations are rather low. Picking up Jem’s IDW stablemates My Little Pony and Transformers back in 2012, I found myself completely taken by surprise and immediately hooked by the quality of the writing.

Our writer – Kelly Thompson – seems to be a bit deluded, tacking on a 1,500-word dossier to the end of the issue. Kelly talks of the old Jem as an 80s phenomenon that shaped the destinies of little girls everywhere, and as if every one of us reading has kept the characters alive in our hearts for thirty years, praying each night for their return. The rant goes on forever, and a lot of it is utter bullshit that makes for extremely uncomfortable reading.

I was going to quote some of it, but that would be cruel, so just take my word for it. Besides, I think that we should give it a chance – it has a lot of potential. It’s sparkly and outrageous, the characters have neon hair and clothes that look like they came from Hello Kitty’s gothic lolita collection, and Jem herself actually has an in-fiction reason for existing this time around.

TMW Rating:- 2.5/5 – The old cartoon was pretty rubbish, but I reckon the comic could take Jem to new places – if My Little Pony can make such a splash with its unusual styling and all-female cast, then I sincerely hope that Jem can do the same.rating strip Jem

“Have a sparkly”

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