"Jem and the Holograms" #7 kicks off the series' second storyline, "Viral!", even as it continues to deal with the fallout from the first six issues. What's great about the comic is that even as it continues to add in new elements and characters to the storyline, Kelly Thompson and Emma Vieceli pay attention to everything already established.
It's easy to pay attention to the introduction of characters like Eric Raymond or Techrat in "Jem and the Holograms" #7, and to be fair, Thompson makes sure to give them their moments in the spotlight. Eric is being served up as the person to fuel Pizzazz's rage and move it forward in productive directions, with Techrat as the one to help enact those schemes. It's a good addition to the series, because it takes the uncontrollable fury of Pizzazz and channels it in ways that promise to be more controlled and dangerous.
But once again, I love that everyone gets something to do. Even Synergy the computer gets her spotlight this issue, both in how she's capable of much more than just hiding Jerrica's appearance -- being able to take care of a lot of the other parts of being a band is a perfect use of her abilities -- and how she's able to talk through Kimber's problems as a mother figure. I also appreciated that Rio's being given a neutral position here, which is exactly what he should be in as a journalist. As the potential love interest for Jerrica, it would be easy for him to always be on "team Jem" but having him write a fair article about the Misfits' performance makes him a much more balanced and interesting role in "Jem and the Holograms." He's not their PR flack, after all, and it also places an interesting obstacle in Jerrica and Rio's path.
Vieceli's a great choice to step in and draw the "Viral!" storyline while main series artist Sophie Campbell builds up a backlog of issues. Her art is graceful with a smooth line, able to sell Thompson's script with her expressive faces and body language. Shana's indecision on the fashion internship comes to life in her widening eyes and her hands up near her forehead; you can see everything playing out inside of her head all coming to the forefront. Similarly, there's a steely glint in Eric's eyes when he's dealing with Pizzazz that gives him a real sense of nemesis in just a matter of moments. This isn't a buffoonish person but someone to genuinely fear.
The best art, though, is the page with Stormer writing a song while feeling betrayed by Kimber. The integration of the work in the notebook with the art feels smooth and natural, even as Vieceli shows the pain that she's going through. Little moments like the focusing on the two teacups are strong, to say nothing of the doodle of the teabag string and tag. It's a great example of how the marriage of script and art can create something that couldn't be brought together with just one or the other.
"Jem and the Holograms" #7 is another strong issue in a fun series that could have so easily been tossed off as just another tie-in comic. Vieceli's a good choice as a second artist for the series, and based on this issue I'd certainly love to see her being the regular backup. Thompson and Vieceli bring the fun in a series that should appeal not only to past fans of "Jem and the Holograms" but even readers who come to the series cold. Once again, good work by all involved.