Written by Kelly Thompson
Art by Sophie Campbell
Story by Kelly Thompson and Sophie Campbell
Colours by M. Victoria Robado
Cover(s) – Sophie Campbell, Sara Richard and David Lafuente
Publisher – IDW
With the sudden resurgence of well-loved children’s cartoons from the eighties and nineties being revamped and rebooted for the current generation, it was only a matter of time before Jem and the Holograms would get the redesign treatment. For those of a younger age, Jem and the Holograms tells the tale of Jerrica who has a Hannah Montana existence, transforming into Jem to play concerts with her band of family and friends the Holograms and trying to be both the role model she wants to be as well as having some sort of normal life. Added to this mix are the antagonists The Misfits, a rival band who are desperate to beat Jem and the Holograms any way they can.
With this being issue 3 we are already halfway through the story but thankfully there is the “Previously” page which although is usually employed in the television genre is rather helpful and nice to see within this issue.
With both writer and artist having a hand in the story there is a rather lovely collaborative element going on in this series. Thompson’s writing brings the personality of each character out with every sentence uttered and Campbell’s redesign is both sympathetic to the original animation and yet regenerates the characters as what can only be described as alternative. The only character who hasn’t been given the full treatment is Jerrica herself and yet this can be seen as a very clever design point, with everyone else sporting a rainbow of colourful hair and strong personalities the fact that Jerrica seems out of place just emphasises the clear divide between Jerrica and her on stage persona. Another great point of Campbell’s art is she isn’t afraid to draw real women, with her redesign we also have both plus sized and petite characters with true to life proportions.
The story this issue is about blossoming love between Rio and Jerrica but one of the biggest draws of the series is the proposed love story between Hologram member and Jerrica’s sister Kimber and the Misfit’s Stormer. In other hands the story may have been forced and unrealistic and yet in Thompson’s writing there is a rather sweet crush developing between the two that works in the series’ favour.
Jem and the Holograms may not be to everyone’s tastes, fans of fast paced action and complex stories will probably avoid the series but that’s not to say that what Thompson and Campbell have created is not a wonderful and exciting reboot of a cartoon that if given to others would probably not be as sympathetic to it’s roots. The new breath of life that has been given to the characters creates both an enjoyable story and a strong character study in a series that could have so easily become something else.