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Jem and the Holograms, Vol. 4: Enter The Stingers Paperback – April 11, 2017
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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"Phenomenal art, a solid script, and super-fun character designs make for an excellent comic-reading experience." - Matthew Peterson, Major Spoilers (on Jem #1) "There’s an inherent mystery to a story about change. I have to wonder how theses bands are going to look by the end of the story arc. I further wonder how much growth will take place from the beginning of this story to the start of the next." - Steven Phillips, Comic Bastards "The comic's all-female cast are all fully-realized and interesting, especially Jerrica, whose acute shyness and determination make her a protagonist to really get behind and empathize with. The Holograms' chemistry and back-and-forth are very endearing as well, and this reader is looking forward to seeing their relationships with each other grow and unfold." - Molly Jane Kremer, Doom Rocket (on Jem #1)
About the Author
Kelly Thompson's ambitions are eclipsed only by her desire to exist entirely in pajamas. Fortunately, pajamas and writers go hand in hand (most of the time). Kelly has a fancy degree in Sequential Art from The Savannah College of Art & Design and has published two novels (THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE KING and STORYKILLER) and the graphic novel HEART IN A BOX from Dark Horse Comics. She's currently writing A-FORCE and HAWKEYE from Marvel Comics, JEM & THE HOLOGRAMS and THE MISFITS from IDW Comics, and co-writing the POWER RANGER:PINK mini-series from Boom!
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If you can't afford Campbell for every story or there are conflicts that prevent her from working, can you at least source artists with styles that are similar to hers?
Okay, with that off my best . . . the story here is actually pretty good. A new band from Europe, the Stingers, emerges to disturb the fragile peace between the Misfits and the Holograms. Personnel problems, as usual, play a big role in the story and the storyline with Jerrica starting to lose the grip on her own personality in the midst of Jem's glamour is intriguing. I do want to continue this story, but I hope the next book I pick up has art that is much more in keeping with what I've come to adore about the series.
Story is as good as ever, but the switch in artwork a third of the way through is jarring and makes zero sense (and yes I get the "changes" references through the story.) Jen Bartel does amazing work and I'm sure the other artist are very talented- but their styles don't fit. Jem is about empowered women, but also glam. The images by the other artists are over simplified and to put it bluntly, ugly.
I know it's a deliberate style choice to have characters with two eye dots as the only facial features- but compared to earlier editions it comes off as sloppy and lazy.
I enjoyed seeing other versions of the characters in single page vignettes, but continuing the story in a wholly different style was the wrong move. It's totally outrageous (in a bad way.)
So disappointed that THIS is how we are being introduced to the Stingers.
The first two chapters have pretty solid and pretty artwork, as to be expected. The entire Stingers arc, which makes up the majority of the book, has a much simpler style of artwork that I definitely didn't like at first read. Like others have said, its much simpler and less detailed in places As the chapters progress, the artwork does pick up more detail and I thought the masquerade had comparable detail to other issues in the series. The nice thing about the Stingers arc artwork is that the characters are super expressive -- something that is sometimes missing in the more detailed/beautiful art. Honestly, the artwork grew on me and if you give it a chance, it might grow on you too. Its definitely different and sometimes jarring and disappointing, but it has its moments and I don't think it completely breaks the series.
On to the writing... Honestly, I've liked the story less since Dark Jem came out. It feels sort of jumbled and unclear. Like the story is trying to pay homage to the original cartoon but doesn't know exactly how to do that while still doing its own thing. In this issue, that results in pacing issues and weird skips over what you'd think would be important pieces to the story. Without any spoilers, I'm specifically talking about the story not at all addressing the narrative jump from chapter 3 to 4. The ending of this issue also felt rushed and somewhat forced. Again, it just seems like the story is trying too hard to follow the original cartoon and gives up too much of its own voice in the process. I wish that the story could be slowed down and really fleshed out.
All in all, I'm not going to stop reading Jem in the near future. Its a breath of fresh air to read about strong, diverse, insecure, creative, human characters. Its even better that these are the characters I watched with my little sister way back when. I like that this revamp is attempting to address things like the Jem/Jerrica split and the sometimes hard choices you have to make between following your own dreams or following your family's wishes. There's really great content here and I recommend this series -- now if the next volumes could just figure out how to go about putting out consistent art and writing I would be in Jem heaven.