Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Meredith McClaren
Colours: M. Victoria Robado
Letters: Shawn Lee
The last time the Big Glasgow Comic Page reviewed Jem and the Holograms it was introducing readers to its newest storyline, Ch-Ch-Changes. The writers have now had the chance to set the scene, but readers are at the stage where the storyline needs to start punching. Does it hold up?
In issue 19 we meet a new band, The Stingers – one that is destined to cause tension at 5×5 records and causes a cliff hanger on the final page. However, the main focus in this issue is the changes that the story title is referring to. The Misfits try to re-group as a five piece but their manager is not feeling the new development and urges them to ditch Blaze and return to their original four piece. On the other hand, Jem and the Holograms search for a replacement fourth member and struggle with their feelings regarding Shauna’s new internship abroad.
A complaint that has been noted in a few Jem and the Holograms reviews is the lack of plot development. This is one issue where the plot does – thankfully – move forward. The only sub-plot that seems to be dragging on is Jerrica wearing the Jem hologram while not on stage. This is clearly down to a lack of self-confidence – a perfect metaphor for a teenage comic – however the writers are yet to directly tackle her reliance on it.
What does let the story down is the increased level of teenage angst. Jem and the Holograms is aimed at the teenage market – but it was a comic that set a good example to a younger audience. The characters in this issue are moody and temperamental. Even Jerrica sheds her shyness for some drama.
However, the artwork has always been Jem and the Holograms strongest asset. That’s why it is disappointing to note that there has been a shift in the character illustrations. The new artist has went for an artistic direction that appears to be heavily influence by anime. In fact, there is a resemblance between the girls’ facial features and the Ditto Pokémon. The girls previously were drawn colourfully but life-like – even sporting unique facial features (unlike many comics where all the characters are effectively the same girl with a different hairstyle).
Jem and the Holograms has been been a great addition to the teenage comic market, however Issue 19 is a disappointing reminder that every good comic has its so-so issues.