Jem and the Holograms #1
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Sophie Campbell & M. Victoria Robado
Cover: Sophie Campbell & M. Victoria Robado
Jem and the Holograms has been one of the most anticipated titles since it was announced all those months ago. Now it’s finally here and we get to see how Thompson and Campbell reintroduce the band to old fans and new readers.
Thompson starts this off as the band’s origin story and we meet them at a pivotal moment in their career. With all of their talent and charisma, it won’t mean a thing if Jerrica doesn’t sing. This has been an ongoing problem and Kimber lets Jerrica know that if she doesn’t pull it together that she’s done with the group. Thompson does some really great character building during the sequence with these two sisters and it really establishes how close they are. The brutal honesty from Kimber that’s mixed in with some hints about the other members helps to flesh them out since we don’t get a lot of time with them yet. The only part of the story that seems to have a bit of a pacing issue is when Jerrica meets Synergy. This half of the issue just seemed a bit sudden and jarring with a sharp emotional turn. Everything is explained when it comes to those famous earrings along with who Synergy is but it read more like we were hurried to the reveal at the end.
The fact that Sophie Campbell was going to be drawing this was another reason that this title was on my radar. So after seeing the preview of the characters it was a safe bet that we were going to get a great level of quality art in his series. From the first page you’re given all you need as Campbell shows the band playing hard and a scared Jerrica front and center. What was also a surprise was how Campbell gives you a new way to look at something as abstract as musical sounds. These huge, bold, powerful lines fill the entire page as the girls are playing. But as they notice Jerrica has choked those lines gets smaller and less curved. There’s another example of this while Jerrica is just playing guitar and singing and the illustration is just as sad and unsure as she is. The character designs themselves are fun and excellent while the varying body types are perfect. Representation matters and tt’s wonderful that the cookie cutter image of the female form in comics didn’t find it’s way here. This just adds to the credibility of the series and should catch the eye of many. Robado’s bright colors bring a nice energy level to Campbell’s work from the wardrobe to the backgrounds and help make this a great looking first issue.
There are a few changes that will be immediately noticeable to those that used to watch the cartoon. However, Thompson hasn’t tweaked anything that alters the spirit of the series and in some ways has already made it better. I’m not sure how many of us could relate to running a company in our early twenties but this one seems a bit more grounded. And yes, I understand that I’m using “grounded” when referring to a story about holographic AI, advanced technological earrings, and rock bands. But when it’s said and done, Jem and the Holograms is a fun entry to the mythos that is familiar enough to older fans and won’t alienate newer readers.