It would be fairly easy to go on autopilot with "Jem and the Holograms." That's what's so refreshing about this series; Kelly Thompson and Emma Vieceli don't go the easy route in "Jem and the Holograms" #9, as statuses change and new cliffhangers are dangled in front of readers to make sure they want to see more, more, more.
Even as Thompson is wrapping up the party storyline, she's kicking off new plot threads. Techrat's utter defeat at the hands of Synergy is entertaining, and Stormer and Kimber's reuniting is a moment to cheer at. It's also great to see Rio and Jerrica's relationship moving forward; it would be simple to string that along for ages, but instead Thompson strides forward. More importantly, I like the new rumored conflict that's kicking off thanks to the Holograms signing to the Misfits' label. It's the sort of moment that would absolutely happen in the real world even as it's a pleasant surprise because it opens up all sorts of new conflict ahead.
There's also a nice sense of humor throughout the comic. Pizzazz getting distracted enough by Techrat that she misses Jem and Jerrica swapping out is comedy gold, to say nothing of Kimber dressing up as Left Shark. And as strange as it sounds, Techrat's utter despair in being unable to defeat Synergy is pretty darn funny, between talking about being a genius caveman and the overall seeing him taken down a peg or twelve. Finally, as always, Shana brings the perfect line to end a scene with a chuckle when she sees Stormer and Kimber reunite.
Vieceli's wraps up her three-issue stint with "Jem and the Holograms" #9 (with Sophie Campbell due to return with #11, following a one-off story next month), and hopefully she'll have time on her schedule to step back in as a regular second artist for the title. She tackles all of the different costumes here with great aplomb, and the two-page spread with all of the different levels of the mansion is easy to follow. Vieceli's at her best, though, when she's tackling moments like the mixture of sadness and hope on Stormer's face when she and Kimber are talking. It nails the moment that Thompson's script is aiming for, and when you turn the page and see Kimber in a similar situation it's the icing on the cake... especially because Kimber's still in her Left Shark outfit.
"Jem and the Holograms" #9 is charming and fun, and with a great cliffhanger or two to round out the issue -- one literally involving a cliff! -- you want to come back for more to see what happens next. That's exactly how an ongoing series should handle itself. Nicely done.