Written By Kelly Thompson
Art by Corin Howell & M. Victoria Robado
Published by IDW Publishing
Release Date: December 30, 2015

Welcome to a very special Misfits-centric issue of Jem And The Holograms.

In my last review of Jem And The Holograms, I talked about how awesome it was to see Pizzazz relate to someone with sincerity. Kelly Thompson let us know when the Holiday Special released that #10 took place before that issue, but would be published after the Holiday Special. However, there’s no break in the story and things don’t seem out of whack at all. In fact, given the release order of #10 and the Holiday Special, Jem And The Holograms #10 feels like a retrospective or flashback after a major cliffhanger. We got to see Pizzazz more emotional and vulnerable, and Rio’s perspective on her and the rest of the Misfits only makes the meaningful exchange between Pizzazz and Jem that much more deep.

Using Rio as a framing character in #10 was a brilliant move by Kelly Thompson. In the animated series there was nothing particularly spectacular about him, but this issue makes him out to actually be pretty decent. Through Rio’s perspectives, Thompson reveals vital information on the relationships between each of the Misfits, but also makes the effort to showcase Rio’s own shining attributes. He’s no artist by any means, but he understands how people work, how to communicate with them, and how not to be an emotional opportunist.

This issue showcases art that still pops with color, but is more somber and subdued. Corin Howell conveys some excellent emotions, especially in the Misfits. One of the first things I noticed in the interaction between Rio and Stormer was that their feelings seemed to be etched in every line. Howell’s form itself contributed to the expression of the difficult and complicated emotions throughout the issue. M. Victoria Robado’s colors again and again do this series justice. The flashback moments almost had a Wizard of Oz feel, shifting from subdued, monochromatic schemes, to the more full color of the present story. It’s little touches like these that enhance the visage of a comic book, especially when a story deals with emotional themes.

Thompson made me like Rio, which is definitely a big deal. To me, he was one of the more insufferable characters in the cartoon, but here he’s a man with integrity. He knows how to play the game, but he also is very much a human with compassion when the mask is on or off. I appreciated that he also recognized where to set boundaries with the Holograms and the Misfits. Maybe the most endearing part of this issue, besides everything Misfits, which again is very new for me, was Rio’s acknowledgement of Stormer and Kimber’s relationship. He saw them kiss, left, and never told anyone else about it. I wish I fully had the words to express how I felt about that brief scene, but more than anything else I’m grateful it’s there.

Jem And The Holograms continues to be a series that should grace your pull-lists and pre-orders. We have some great creators at the helm that do these characters justice and modernize a story that lit many of our eyes up, whether we saw it in the 80s or ‘re’-discovered it on Netflix. Issue #10 is a solid story that is setting up some interesting relationships moving forward, so definitely keep your eyes peeled for the next great installment of this series.

The Verdict: 10/10


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