By Kelly Thompson, Sophie Campbell, M. Victoria Robado, Robbie Robbins
It appears that reboots that cash in on nostalgia have become big business. At this point, Hollywood has run out of ideas and only gives us things we loved as children. Over in the comic world, IDW has been playing a similar game by resurrecting numerous intellectual properties in comic book form. The funny thing is that these comics are actually really well put together. Jem and The Holograms is no different. Actually, it’s pretty darn great.
For anyone hoping for an accurate trip down memory lane, you are going to be sorely disappointed. This is definitely not the same Jem we all grew up with. However, that’s not a bad thing. Kelly Thompson and Sophie Campbell have shaken things up and given us a Jem that works in 2015. The overall spirit is still there, but characters and themes are given a modern facelift. As much as I love the original Jem cartoon, much of it doesn’t stand the test of time. Come to think of it, most eighties cartoons don’t (except for TMNT). That’s why Thompson and Campbell’s reboot could have easily fallen flat on its face. Fortunately, that’s not the case. This first issue is a very traditional setup: character with low self-esteem finds a gift from a loved one from beyond the grave that gives them what’s needed to succeed, etc. We’ve all read this one before, but Thompson and Campbell manage to keep it interesting with characters that are very appealing. I found myself really relating to Jem, as she has problems that transcend gender. She has something to give to the world, but she just can’t let it out because she’s frozen with fear of judgement and failure. When she finally receives a gift from her dead father that will help her, it’s relieving and exciting to experience these emotions with her.
Also of note is the fact that there are very few men. There are two dudes that show up in all of two panels. It’s actually refreshing to read a comic that completely gives the focus to women.
As if the story wasn’t awesome enough, the art is truly the star of the show. Campbell’s redesigns are beyond fantastic. Every character is given subtle differences that make them unique. Some of the girls are thin and some are a little bigger, making them feel more real/genuine. The colors by M. Victoria Robado are a nice touch. Campbell draws things in the modern world, while Robado throws in eighties neon that looks great and gives this comic a distinct feel.
Are you a fan of Jem and The Holograms? Then you should really read this. Are you not a fan? It doesn’t matter. Read it. There are other books that claim to be all about female empowerment, but this is the one that’s actually doing it and doing it in a way that makes it for everyone.