Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Jen Bartel
Colorist: Paul Reinwand
When I was offered the chance to review a Jem comic, I didn’t hesitate to jump on it. The Jem cartoon ran for three seasons from 1985 to 1988 and I was absolutely obsessed with it, especially The Misfits. Jem was the show that sparked my love for villains and underdogs. Right now, on my iPod Classic (Apple will have to pry it from my cold, dead hands), I have every song The Misfits sang on the show—and that’s how you know my love is real.
The Jem and the Holograms Valentine Special begins with Kimber receiving a tarot reading. In Kimber’s mind, everything the Diviner says points to trouble with The Misfits and their leader Pizzazz. At the end of the reading, Kimber begs for additional help and the Diviner puts together a potion that is supposed to soften resentment and ease conflict when ingested by the target. In the process of looking for a smaller vial, the Diviner turns her back, and Kimber darts out the door without hearing the instructions to only three drops of the potion. Any more and the target will start to fall in love with the first thing they see. Uh oh, shenanigans are afoot.
Cut to Kimber once again arriving chronically late for a meeting at 5×5 Records. Jerrica and the rest of the Holograms are originally upset, but Kimber quickly smooths things over and they head to a meeting with record execs and The Misfits to finalize tour dates. Kimber takes the opportunity to dump the entire vial of the potion she acquired into the water pitcher and offers some to Pizzazz. Of course, things don’t go as planned and everyone including Kimber drinks the water, leaving Jerrica to save the day.
After the meeting, everyone parts to run their respective errands and as the potion takes effect, they fall in love with whoever or whatever they lay eyes on first. Aja and Jetta fall in love with the same hipster soup maker, Pizzazz falls in love with Eric, Stormer falls in love with a barista, Roxy falls in love with donuts, Shana falls in love with the hardware store owner, and Kimber—despite her best efforts to avoid it—falls in love with Rio after literally running into him. Jerrica isn’t happy, but with the help of Rio and Synergy she is able to wrangle everyone (except Pizzazz and Roxy, purposely) and save them from further embarrassment until the potion wears off.
This comic has all the nostalgia of the cartoon we know and love a few modern updates. In a departure from the cartoon, Jetta is now black and Kimber is lesbian and in a relationship with Stormer. Clothing and hairstyles have also been updated across the board. The art is gorgeous. Jen Bartel’s strong lines are reminiscent of Cliff Chiang’s work. Paul Wienrand’s colors really pop and he has perfectly captured the neon excess of the original cartoon. It’s a fun, light story that was a pleasure to read. As a huge fan of the cartoon, this is everything I could have wanted from a comic book version. It’s everything the movie should have been and I’ll definitely be adding it to my pull list.
Cherra Hampton-Mitchell is a lifelong Blerd, internet junkie, and chronic sufferer of wanderlust after. She believes she is thoroughly prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse and has a moderate chance of surviving the Robot Apocalypse, but will surrender and accept her alien overlords should the Alien Apocalypse happen. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram – @WildYoungCharm