First I put up my Jem and the Holograms #2 review up a week early and now I put up this Jem and the Holograms #3 review up a couple of days after the book hit the shelves – I gotta sync up better with #4! – BC One of the most impressive aspects of the Jem series is that Kelly Thompson and Sophie Campbell are balancing a TON of characters in the story, with a good chunk of them having direct involvement in the over-arching narrative of the series, but without sacrificing much in the way of development of the characters. Not only do we have the good band, the Holograms, the bad band, the Misfits and Rio, the music journalist who is the love interest of Jerrica (the lead singer of the Holograms who is also secretly, through the use of some high-tech holographic technology, also Jem, the PUBLIC lead singer of the Holograms) but now, in this issue, we have two new characters who end up playing a key role in the issue, Clash and Blaze, two groupies for the Misfits. Clash is a fascinating character – she is clearly an extremely capable person, but she is so wrapped up in her low self-esteem and her idolization of the Misfits jerky lead singer, Pizzazz (where she sees all of her self worth), that she ends up putting her skills to use doing cruel stunts to impress someone who clearly doesn’t care about her. You can tell that her heart isn’t really into her actions, except, of course, to the extent that she can impress her hero. Her partner-in-crime, Blaze, only appears at the end to set up the cliffhanger for next issue.
Something underrated about the work that colorist M. Victoria Robado does on this comic is the sheer VOLUME of colors involved in this book. Like I said, this book is filled to the brim with characters, and a good deal of them are loaded with striking color schemes, so when you put them together, there is a strong chance that the colors can muddle things, so Robado brilliantly (and oh so subtly) washes certain background and even certain CHARACTERS to avoid that effect. Check out this panel, for instance…
See what I mean? She subtly but effectively washes out certain colors to give the main figure in the panel her spotlight. Impressive work. Also, Robado has a stellar sequence later on when Jerrica and Rio go to a fair. The lighting is stunning.
There are four main interactions in this issue, three of which I have here as part of the preview for the issue that IDW gave CBR.
First up, following last week, we see the Misfits react (poorly) to Stormer and Kimber’s forbidden love…
Man, Pizzazz is such a jerk.
Next, we have Jerrica’s date with Rio…
(How adorably was the scene with the little girl?)
Campbell’s Jerrica has been so on point all series long – she gives her these awesomely expressive reactions. Sophie’s work with Jerrica is right on part with Kimber, who is such a bundle of kinetic energy, which is the next major part of the story, as we see Kimber’s side of the whole “star-crossed lovers” saga, only her bandmates are not jerks, so they actually support their impetuous foster sister…
And finally, we see the Misfits discover that Jem and the Holograms will be filling in at a charity event, which leads to Clash devising a plot against the Holograms (all to impress Pizzazz).
Not only did Kelly do a great job developing Clash in just this one issue, but I also liked how believable the Misfits’ reaction was to the news of the Holograms playing the charity event. It is very natural to try to look at your rivals as somehow “bad” people, even if you’re the “bad” person, and the Misfits do quite a job skewing things so that they convince themselves that the Holograms aren’t the charity event to HELP people, but just as a crass way to get their name out there.
The series has always been character driven and Kelly continues to make the various conflicts seem natural and believable while also making sure to drive the story the right direction. I particularly enjoyed the way Rio teases out Jerrica’s conflicts, her need to SAY something with her music coupled with her fear to be the one who SAYS it – he understands the conflict, but he can’t possibly understand HOW it is being expressed. To him, it looks like Jerrica is hiding behind Jem. He doesn’t realize that she is LITERALLY hiding behind Jem!
This was another very enjoyable issue with excellent artwork by Campbell and Robado. Jem and the Holograms continues to be a blast, and this is coming from a guy who is extremely unfamiliar with the original show (to the point where I first thought that Clash was a member of the Misfits that I had forgotten).
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