Jem and The Holograms: Dimensions #3
Nicole Goux (writer and artist), Rebecca Nalty (colours), Shawn Lee (letters)
Sam Maggs (writer), Rachel Stott (artist), Marissa Louise (colours), Shawn Lee (letters)
7 February, 2018
There are two more fun and colourful stories to enjoy with the latest issue of Jem and the Holograms: Dimensions, the anthology series that expands on the existing Jem-universe.
In the opening story, “Shooting Stars,” the Holograms’ proteges, teen group Starlight Girls, are desperate to make their mark on the music scene. When their jam session is cut short due to Kimber’s impending date with Misfit Stormer, Starlight Girls’ Ashley decides the band needs to prove themselves by doing something drastic. There is an open mic night at a nearby club, and Ashley believes they should participate. But the stage isn’t as friendly as they imagined.
In “Haunted,” the Holograms (minus Shana) and the Misfits find themselves on the same haunted house show. Though furious at having to spend an entire night in each other’s company, the bands realise the only way to beat the show is to work together. Thus begins an uneasy alliance between them to find the ghosts and get to the bottom of why the rivals were set up in the house together in the first place.
The Dimensions series continues to be entertaining and inspiring, especially for young readers. The first story is especially relevant for teenagers struggling with confidence. The mentor-mentee dynamic between the Holograms and the Starlight Girls starts off with a bit of tough love and readers may be left wondering why their beloved Holograms are being so harsh on the younger band, but, as it always is with mentors, they only want the best for their charges.
I like that the Holograms are also shown to be encouraging and that when they realise what the Starlight Girls are up to, they do not try to intervene. They recognise that the open mic session has the potential to be a beneficial learning experience for the Starlight Girls. And, even though the gig does not go as planned, the younger band manages to take away positives that will help them grow.
The art here is pared down and the colour much more muted, especially when compared to the second story, but it has that ’90s comic book aesthetic that fits Jem and the Holograms perfectly. Nicole Goux is on writing and art duty for this story and she does a fantastic job without going over the top. I love how with just a few well-placed strokes, Goux manages to convey so much emotion in the characters. Never more so than when the Starlight Girls are faced with their competition at the open mic night. The entire page is a masterpiece in characterisation, juxtaposing the girls’ seasoned peers against their youthful, shocked faces. It is simply brilliant.
In contrast to the first story, “Haunted” looks much more mature. The characters, both Holograms and Misfits, have very adult face shapes. In addition, there is a photorealistic quality to the art along with more detailing in the faces. The characters’ look is very retro-punk, a welcome reminder of the Holograms’ ’80s origins. I may not know much about fashion but I can tell you that artist Rachel Stott and colourist Marissa Louise have done a great job designing the clothes and hairstyles. The outfits look incredibly cool and embody the individual styles of the characters. The peppy colour palette also adds tone and texture to the costumes.
Despite the haunted house setting, there are barely any scares in the story, which is a slight let-down for horror fans. But the story manages to be enjoyable and the focus on the dynamic between the Holograms and the Misfits, particularly when they split up into smaller groups to explore the house, is fun to read. I must admit, I am partial to stories that include both bands bickering and trying to get along.
Jem and The Holograms: Dimensions is going great. With the series’ smaller slice-of-life stories, there isn’t a necessity to pad up the plot or waste time giving exposition for each character. The reader is thrown into the action and is swept along. However, some context is required, and group editor Sarah Gaydos, in yet another hilarious introduction, suggests reading at least the first issue so readers can get their bearings.
With each passing comic, the series gets stronger. The writers and artists brought on board do justice to the characters and, through their own unique styles, create a universe that is hard to leave.