Review: ‘Jem and the Holograms Outrageous Annual’
Jem and the Holograms Outrageous Annual #1
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Agnes Garbowska, Arielle Jovellanos, Amy Mebberson, Jen Bartel, Rebekah Isaacs, Sophie Campbell
Covers: Amy Mebberson (Nerd Block Exclusive variant and Subscription variant), Agnes Garbowska (Regular), Jen Bartel (BAM!/2nd & Charles Exclusive variant), Sophie Campbell (IDW Convention Exclusive Variant)
This was a big issue, but a fun read. The Holograms have just come back from a concert and decide to watch a movie. None of them can decide on what type of movie and fall asleep in “approximately six minutes”. Besides the fun and games, each story goes deep into each character’s personalities and their insecurities through their dreams.
In Jem Wolf we open with Jerrica being on a basketball team even though she doesn’t play basketball. Her teammates are telling her to “change” while the audience is shouting for Jem. They know Jerrica is Jem, but what Jerrica doesn’t know is that Jem is a werewolf. During a heartfelt moment with Synergy in the girls’ locker room, Jem tells Synergy that she’s still the same Jerrica and that its what’s inside that matters. Unfortunately, she isn’t sure. Afterwards, she changes back to Jerrica much to the disappointment of her sisters. Even at the party they ask her to change into Jem and laugh at her when she says she’d rather do this as Jerrica. We can obviously see that Jerrica feels inferior to Jem and believes that her peers only like her as Jem. Surely, this isn’t the case, but sometimes people think the worst of themselves.
Angry Aja is definitely my favorite. The post-apocalyptic, Mad Max feel really suits Aja. When her gas tank is empty, she comes across Negotiate Town. There she meets a kid who watches over her car in exchange for her tape player. Just as she starts looking around, her guitar gets yoinked, and she chases the theif and tackles them to the ground. “Aunty” Synergy comes out of nowhere to tell her that there is no fighting in Negotiate town. Aja finds herself in an arena with the thief and a crowd shouting “Two women will enter, one woman will exit!” A fight ensues and the theif removes their mask to reveal another Aja. Instead of finishing her off, the first Aja declares that she “won’t hit someone who’s already down!” Thankfully the rest of the Holograms come down and bail her out of there. With a truck of their own, they ride away from Negotiate Town together while Aja #2 heads back with the kid. It would seem that Aja enjoys being on her own and would love that kind of life, but she loves her family a lot more.
Shana Wars has an obvious theme, complete with a Yoda-like Synergy training Shana. Synergy tells Shana that the conflict she faces is in her soul. The confict being Shana divided between her music and her potential career as a fashion designer. Shana is shown a vision of what could be if she decided a career in fashion. Unfortunately, a glimpse of her sisters performing interrupts her vision and she snaps out of it. Shana rushes to her jet to leave even though her training isn’t done. It’s not easy to choose between following your heart and the people you love.
Jem Babies was an interesting story. Chibi Misfits and Holograms have to share a nursery. Of course there is unrest from both sides thanks mostly to the Misfits. Synergy-Nanny comes in before things get too bad. She comes bearing gifts in the form of a kitten, and she tells them that they can keep it as long as they share. What better way to bond than over a kitten? The moment doesn’t last long and there is arguing over a name for the kitten. Leave it to Shana ad Stormer to be levelheaded and come up with a name for the Kitten that everyone agrees on. We get a moment of love/crushing(?) between Stormer and Kimber, who decide to make a song for the kitten sung by both the Misfits and the Holograms. It works out just fine besides the pushing and shoving form “stupid Pizzazz”
So many art styles in one book. I love it. Everything was, of course, very Jem. Even though Aja was in a post-apocalyptic world, I didn’t have to worry about anything being dark and grim. I am all for comic books going deep into character flaws and personalities. Even the dark parts of the mind are interesting to see in a book as cheerful and bright as Jem and the Holograms. I believe this book can connect well with its audience this way. Its okay to not be 100% all the time and things will come together in time.