Review: Jem and the Holograms #5
“Jem and the Holograms #5 is an example of what a comic can be in the hands of the right creative team: entertaining, heartwarming, and engaging. If you need an instant mood-lifter, pick this book up post-haste.”
Jem and the Holograms has been one of my favorite new comic series, and I’m not entirely sure I expected that when I first picked up the first issue. I had trust in the creative team, but Jem’s world and the characters that populate it pulled me to that first issue more out of a sense of nostalgia initially. However, Jem and the Holograms has surprised me in a way that very few comics on the stands have: I have fun when I read it. Real, actual fun.
That’s not to say that other comic books aren’t enjoyable; I wouldn’t be 20+ years card-carrying fan if they weren’t. But with Jem, the creators nicely balance not being too serious or too whimsical. Writer Kelly Thompson and artist Sophie Campbell treat their characters with care, but they also realize that Jem, her bandmates, her rivals, and everyone else in between are part of a universe that’s filled with pink and blue hair and manic bombast. And somehow, they insert messages along the way that viscerally connect with both younger and older readers. Those are some herculean feats, and a comic is doing well if it hits the mark on just one of those. Issue 5 doesn’t look to be faltering on the trajectory in the least, with questions of insecurity, burgeoning love, and betrayal all at the forefront, coupled with beautiful art and upbeat hits along the way.
Jem #5 manages to pack a whole host of plot threads and action and romance within a single issue without any of those threads getting the short-shrift. We see the aftermath of the stage equipment sabotage that leaves Holograms band member Aja injured and in the hospital, which puts Jem and company on edge and leaving Kimber to suspect that foul play is involved. Meanwhile Kimber and Misfit rocker Stormer continue their blooming courtship, although Kimber’s suspicions concerning Aja’s accident might put a wedge in that relationship. All the while, the Holograms have to stress with a new band competition and Jerrica wrestles with her dual identity as Jem and courting Rio.
See? In today’s deconstructionist comic book storytelling, it’s rare that you’ll get that amount of plot and character development in five issues, let alone one. But that’s why Thompson is the right lady for the job to helm this comic. None of the story feels rushed or too tightly packed, which is a testament to both Thompson and Campbell’s skills. Campbell takes Thompson’s scripts and with just a few brushstrokes and facial expressions manages to tell us all we need to know about a character’s personality and motives. The looks Stormer and Kimber give one another are cute and telling and make the reader believe that the two genuinely are falling in love. And, as always, the art is gorgeous and fun, making readers want to be a part of that world. Seriously, I’m blown away by the colors and unique style of this book every single issue.
Jem and the Holograms #5 is an example of what a comic can be in the hands of the right creative team: entertaining, heartwarming, and engaging. If you need an instant mood-lifter, pick this book up post-haste.
Related: Review of Jem and the Holograms #1