My solemn vow to you, Faithful Spoilerites, is that I will not make any silly “outrageous” puns for the duration of this review… As for Jerrica Benton, what do you do when you’re a talented singer with a terrible case of stage fright? Your Major Spoilers review of Jem And The Holograms #1 awaits!
Previously in Jem And The Holograms: Back in the 80s, during the days of first-run syndication cartoons, kids had a number of choices for things to watch before and after school. While I have entertaining memories of The Transformers, G.I. Joe and Jayce and The Wheeled Warriors, my teenish self eschewed the Jem cartoon as “girl’s stuff.” Fortunately, these days, I can stream whatever I want to watch, so I know the wonder of the Holograms first-hand, and now, you can too!
Okay, this book is GORGEOUS. From the very first panel, a shot of the Holograms on-stage, I found myself captivated by the artwork, with great body-language, facial expressions and (most important for me) a variety of features and body types for our protagonists. That leads us to the crux of the matter, as Jerrica Benton and her band are recording a video to enter a contest called “Misfits Vs”, which I assume is some sort of reality program, but Jerrica can’t overcome her shyness. Even the four members of the stage crew throw her, making her unable to sing at all, and possibly killing her friends’ chances at fame and fortune. It gets worse when she overhears her friends questioning whether they need to ditch her entirely, sending Jerrica fleeing into the rain, sending her back home to brood over her failure. A sudden power outage causes the power to glitch, and when it comes back on, Jerrica is no longer alone. It’s a neat setup for the appearance of Synergy, a holographic computer program created by Jerrica’s late father, a program that can create perfectly realistic holographic images, and coincidentally solve Jerrica’s confidence problems in a roundabout way.
I love it when a comic book becomes a fully immersive experience, and this one is an excellent example. From the first page of a mortified Jerrica to the final page reveal of Jem, I was hooked on this story. The conflict is, as yet, all internal to the band and Jerrica’s head, but the stakes felt real and the story engaged me in their struggle. The redesigns of the Holograms keep them identifiable (My crush on Kimber is unabated) but also modernize each of them, something made easier by thirty-year-old fashions coming back around again as retro. Each of the band members has her own personality, and we get a little bit of each of them, and each gets a cute pin-up page in the style of an idol magazine, giving us more insight into their mindset and doubling as in-universe Holograms promotional material. In short, it’s a really good all-ages title that I’m looking forward to seeing more of.
THE BOTTOM LINE: THIS IS COOL STUFF
My only real complaint with this issue is that it ends too soon. I might have enjoyed a double-sized kickoff issue, but when the material is this strong and has this much personality, even 45 pages would leave me wishing there was more. Jem And The Holograms #1 is a really good debut issue, establishing everything we need to know for a new fan while maintaining enough of the originals not to alienate those who remember it from their youth, with a strong character-based plot and flat-out incredible art, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. You should absolutely check this one out…