Review: Jem and the Holograms
The Holograms are a brand new all girl band made up of four foster sisters, Jerrica, Aja, Shana and Kimber, who are desperate to make a name for themselves. They plan to enter a video in an upcoming contest. The only problem is that their lead singer, Jerrica has such a bad case of stage fright she can't perform in front of the camera and sound crew let alone an audience. Then a strange apparition appears to Jerrica. She is Synergy, a holographic representation of a secret computer system created by Jerrica's deceased dad and accidentally rebooted by an electrical storm. Synergy gives Jerrica what are basically magic earrings that allow her to look and sound differently on stage, and her alter ego, Jem, is born. Yes, the plot is silly, but that's to be expected given that's based on a children's cartoon from 1985. Just go with it.
I was an eighties kid so I bought this comic out of a combination of nostalgia and curiosity. I have fond memories of the show and my next door neighbour owned a Jem doll complete with flashing earrings. I had a collection of Barbie knockoffs with green and blue hair who I naturally dubbed the Misfits (a rival band and the villains of the show) and used to attack the Jem doll. The fact that plastic Jem was built to a different scale and almost a foot tall gave the game a bit of a David and Goliath feel. I was always team misfit. In fact, Pizazz may have been something of a formative influence, hair wise anyway.
So how does the comic measure up to the original? The best thing I think the old cartoon had going for it was that instead of just one token female character, as in most popular cartoons at the time (Voltron, Speed Racer, The Smurfs...) there was a whole cast full of young women trying to make it on their own in the music business. The same is true in the comic, though so far only the Holograms have been introduced, with the Misfits presumably to follow in later issues. The comic has a different look to it, with the art obviously influenced by Manga. The girl's outfits are updated from the extremely eighties wardrobe they had before to one with more of a whatever-we-call-this-decade vibe. I like that there is a bit of variety of body shapes, with Aja being drawn as more solidly built than the others.
So far the story is quite simple, and nostalgia alone might not be enough to keep adult readers interested, but it will probably appeal to a younger audience. It's always nice to find new comics featuring fully clothed female heroes for young girls to look up to.
Jem and the Holograms #1 is not truly outrageous, but it is a promising start to the new series. It's wholesome, fun and full of female characters.
Rated: ★ ★ ★ ½