Grumpy Bird Reviews: Jem and the Holograms #2

Even with a newborn I manage to steal minutes to read comics. The hard part is finding time to review them. But this was such a step down from last issue that I just had to share a few thoughts.

Jem02-cvr-MOCKONLY-9adfaJem and the Holograms #2

Writer: Kelly Thompson

Artist: Sophie Campbell

IDW

Quick Review: Mostly just an issue that treaded water. We meet the Misfits and one of them has a personality that is angry. But I guess they are supposed to be cool and popular. Basically this issue just left me wondering what was the point. The only clear cut progression was that the title band made a popular video and the Misfits are upset by it. Or maybe just upset by a member of the Holograms talking/flirting with a member of the Misfits. Which gets labeled a betrayal. Because reasons.

Analysis: The most shocking thing to me was that i didn’t get that much out of Campbell’s art this issue. Don’t get me wrong, the line work is still fantastic, but too many pages just had boring, uninteresting layouts. Perhaps it would have been okay if these grid pages weren’t interspersed with psychedelic music pages. While pretty, those splash pages did nothing to move the story, what little there is, and made the grid pages feel jarringly dull. The other disappointment was that the Misfits look almost exactly like the Holograms. It actually took me a few pages to realize they were not the Holograms. Why use such similar designs that really only differ in hair color? They are such a reflection that both bands even have a chubby asian member. As i said in my review of issue one i am not familiar with the show, so maybe that is why the looks are similar? But even if that is the case I dread having to parse out who is who in future issues, especially seeing as how both groups dress in variations of the wrestler Ultimate Warrior.

The writing was lacking as well. I just don’t feel we are really getting that much a sense of who these characters all. Well, that’s not entirely true. We got a little bit of a glimpse at the two sisters, which now that I think about it is kind of odd. I feel it is safe to say that there is an effort to depict strong, diverse women in this comic. But, the only two Holograms who I can think of having a voice being worked on in issue #2 are the two white characters. Make of that what you will. All I will say is that I wish I knew more about these people or the world they were in. Which is another aspect that kept me scratching my head. I kept getting lost at figuring out where things were being set. Where were the Holograms for much of this issue? Was it a community center? An orphanage? It seems to be for kids, but there were only girls. Is that important or just a coincidence. It felt like there was a story here, but it just wasn’t coming out on the page. Each new page just seemed to add a little bit more confusion onto the pile so that even innocuous little phrases, like a member referring to her bandmates as her “sisters” had me questioning if I had missed something. After all, one of the members was here sister. Was there another sister? Perhaps this was an orphanage and so in a way they are all sisters. Again, this was just a tiny phrase but because of a general like of clarity about setting and little character development I was just second guessing myself.

One last little nitpick. The Holograms submitted a video for some kind of upcoming battle of the bands. The most frequent comment in-world on the video was about the cool visuals. I will admit that the grumpy part of me wishes there was more of a push to describing the awesome sound of the band rather than just going on about the visuals. Remind us that these are talented musicians. Don’t just give us a few quick lines about how they are playing well together but then pages about the cool effects. Make me believe these are musicians with soul not just another idol group. please.

I want to like this book, mostly because I would love to have some regular Campbell art. But so far Thompson hasn’t crafted a story that pulls me in.


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