IDW Publishing kicks off their new Jem anthology series strong in Jem and The Holograms: Dimensions #1. The Dimensions series promises a set of stories told outside the main Jem narrative; a gateway book to the larger Jem universe, though it can also stand on its own. After issue one, however, it’s hard not to want more neon-colored nonsense.
The two stories, “Catnap” and “Roll With It” each tell a distinctly modern tale using ‘80s icons. Brightly-colored ski gear and Dungeons and Dragons games, all in the Jem palate of bold makup, huge hair, and stars and lightning bolts on every surface.
Sophie Campbell took the reins on “Catnap” as both writer and artist. Misfit groupie Clash is cat-sitting for band member Pizzazz, but doesn’t want to miss out on her ski trip. She decides to bring the kitty along on the slopes with her friend Misty, after girlfriend Blaze bails on her. When evil Jem groupies show up to steal the cat and get Clash booted from all future Misfit events, Blaze literally flies in to save the day—and the cat!
Colorist M. Victoria Robado keeps things bright and rainbow-hued, even against a snow-capped backdrop. A high-speed chase followed by an avalanche of epic proportions turns the slopes into a flurry of color and action under Campbell and Robado’s efforts. Campbell’s story (and, I would assume, other Jem tales as well) blurs the line between “good” and “evil” as Misfit fans protect a helpless feline from the evil claws of Jem groupies. Some modern additions, such as Misty dressed in her colorful headscarf and Blaze and Clash’s kiss at the end, bring this 80’s classic into today’s landscape.
“Roll With It”, written by Kate Leth with art by Tana Ford, is lighter on story in favor of dissecting some classic characters at the end of their Infinite run. An exhausted group of Holograms try to get Jerrica to take a break after their tour. Kimber suggests a game of Dungeons and Dragons, but as the game is set up Jerrica is elected Dungeon Master—leaving her in charge of the group all over again. She soon loses her cool and the girls must come up with an alternate plan to give ALL of the Holograms the night off.
The girls game characters give a little peek into their psyche along with providing plenty of light-hearted laughter. And while Jerrica and Synergy drive the plot, Kimber shines through as the star of the story. Colorist Brittany Peer sticks to a blue and purple palate, so that when Jerrica attacks the D&D party with an overpowered dragon, the fire-breather truly stands out.
Jem and the Holograms: Dimensions is a super fun romp with a huge cast of female characters. This book not only passes the Bechdel test, but smashes it into pieces. The characters are well-rounded, diverse, and unafraid to be themselves—no matter how outrageous.
Story: Sophie Campbell, Kate Leth
Art: Sophie Campbell, Tana Ford Colors: M. Victoria Robado, Brittany Peer
Story: 9 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy
IDW provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review