Hello and welcome to the JatH Recapathon! Today I’m covering issues 2 and 3 in all their Technicolor glory. I really have to give a lot of credit to writer Kelly Thompson and artist Sophie Campbell for doing such a great job with Jem. As a big fan of the cartoon, I had my worries that it wouldn’t be done right, it would keep the barest trappings of the show and lose the stuff that made it fun and so appealing to me as a kid. They managed to capture the spirit of Jem in their story and fantastic art and update it in a way that both old and new audiences can appreciate. I’m sure there are some people out there who are huge fans of the original and going “NO NO NO! All wrong!” That’s fine, that’s their opinion and they’re entitled to think and feel about it however they want. For me personally, though, I am super ecstatic with the way this comic is turning out so far!
So here we go! Issue 2!
Issue 2 was especially lovely for all us Misfit fans, because it was offered up in a lovely box set with a holographic foil image on the front featuring everyone’s favorite green haired bad girl, Pizzazz! I snapped this up the minute I saw it was available for pre-order, and as a hard core Misfit fan, it was well worth every penny. For one, it matches the Issue 1 box set that came in Jem-pink, and makes a lovely side by side display on my fangirl shrine of nerdy goodness. It also comes with five copies of Issue 2 inside, four of which feature a vibrant image of one of the Misfits in their classic cartoon style and the fifth has the official cover art by Sophie Campbell. As a longtime fan of the cartoon, I really appreciate that the forces behind the comic not only acknowledge the 80’s cartoon, but embrace it and include it in such a prominent way. It really makes you feel like the talented writers and artists working on this book really cared about the show and its characters- dare I say, it’s a nice show of some fan love? It’s also a fun addition because it lets us see where the characters came from and how they’ve been transformed for print.
The most drastic change in appearance was made to Jetta. In the cartoon, she was a white saxophone player from London, England. In the comic book she’s black, still British, but plays the bass. The character profile in the back of the book says she also does play sax, however this isn’t her primary instrument in the comic. What’s interesting about this is that when the character of Jetta was originally developed for the cartoon, writer Christy Marx (who was integral to the development of the characters and wrote many of the episodes of the cartoon) had intended her to be black, but that idea was vetoed in the end because Sunbow didn’t want a black villain. She was also slated to play bass in the cartoon, but they wounded up giving her sax instead (I’d assume because in the cartoons Roxy was already playing bass.) So she wound up being a white British saxophone player in the cartoon instead. The comic book managed to bring her back around to what Christy Marx originally intended, something I think is pretty fantastic.
Ok, that’s great and all but what about the comic itself, right? Issue 2 opens with a one page recap of what happened in issue one, which is nice if you hadn’t read the first issue yet. It also lends a very ‘tv’ feel to the book. We’re given a ‘guest list’ page featuring totally cute pics of the Jem and the Holograms in fun starbursts, and then it’s a full on Misfit celebration. Did I mention I’m a Misfit fan? Oh yes, I am a hard core, true blue Misfit fan til the day I die. The Holograms are great and all, but it’s all about the Misfits for me. What can I say, I love a bad girl. Put four bad girls in a band and I’m doomed. DOOMED! Anyway, the issue begins with the Misfits singing their new hit song ‘Attack of the Night’. I have to give it up to Sophie Campbell for coming up with a really fun and innovative way to illustrate the musical numbers in the comic. Her artwork does a great job capturing the wild, aggressive energy that the Misfits always had in the cartoon. It’s fun, it’s flashy, it’s full of loud, bold colors and laid out in a way that conveys pure energy. As a Misfit fan, this is everything I could ask for and then some.
It’s revealed that the Misfits are hosting a ‘Misfits vs.’ contest, challenging any and all new bands who dare to submit a video. The winner gets a recording contract and a chance to share the stage with the Misfits, who are big name stuff right off the bat. This harkens right back to the first few episodes of the cartoon (though the circumstances behind the Battle of the Bands were a bit different in the show) and needless to say the Holograms are blowing the competition away. Pizzazz isn’t worried, though, because she’s Pizzazz and she’s the Queen of the Universe. Cut to this great scene of the Holograms singing and doing some wacky magic stuff and battling dragons, because why not? (I should mention that weird imagery was par for the course in the cartoon music videos, too, so this all feels very familiar and right to a seasoned fan.)
Back at Hologram HQ, Kimber and Shana are blown away by how many votes their getting. Jerrica is not so happy, because she’s super shy about performing and the attention gives her the willies, but who cares because Kimber’s doing her happy dance and it’s completely adorable.
Ok, can we just talk about this for a minute? Kimber says Stormer is the cutest and she should go out with her. Oh, the joy! For years there has been a debate amongst Jem fans on whether or not Kimber and Stormer would have ever actually hooked up. In the show there is an episode called The Bands Break Up in which Kimber and Stormer both quit their respective groups, meet each other by chance, and team up to write and produce an ultra-successful album entitled Back2Back. They clearly became very good friends in the episode, so much so that at one point both the Holograms and the Misfits show up, disrupt their concert, and try to get them both to stop what they’re doing and come home. Kimber and Stormer both tell them to shove off because they want to be together. Stormer also keeps a picture of Kimber by her bedside, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve never done that with a picture of anyone I wasn’t dating. Ehem. So there’s evidence that maybe they could have been a thing in the show, but it being the 80’s AND a kids show, two girls dating might have made people’s heads explode. However, the comic has no such worries to contend with, and Kimber is shown being unabashedly openly gay right from the beginning, and having a huge crush on Stormer from the moment she sees her. It’s so adorable! K/S shippers around the globe were doing their own happy dance about this, I can guarantee it.
Back to the issue. We get a bit of Rio doing some investigative journalism, prodding around trying to find out who Jem and the Holograms are and asking Jerrica out in the process. It’s revealed he’s actually covering the Misfits through this whole battle of the bands thing and is a journalist for The Score. Later on, Kimber hunts down Stormer at a Misfit autograph signing and asks her out for coffee when she’s done. The other Misfits catch the two in a coffee shop together they are none too happy to see Stormer hanging out with the competition! The issue ends with a close up of Pizzazz’s green eyes looking ready to shoot laser beams at a certain red head Hologram.
On to issue 3!
We begin our story in progress, on the scene at the coffee shop as Pizzazz, Roxy, and Jetta storm in and demolish things. We catch a glimpse of Kimber fleeing, and later we’re back at home with the Misfits (can we assume this is the Gabor Mansion? I’m gonna assume that’s where they’re hanging out until told otherwise) as they watch the news footage of the Misfits rampage played out all over TV. Pizzazz isn’t happy they caught her bad side again, but mainly they’re all upset with Stormer for hanging out with the enemy. “It’s bandmates before dates,” Roxy tells her, and Jetta agrees. Pizzazz rants and raves at Stormer that under no circumstances is she allowed to date the enemy- totally setting the stage for some classic Romeo and Juliette style shenanigans later on. Of course, what Pizzazz is asking is completely unreasonable (in true Pizzazz fashion) and you really have to feel for Stormer. She’s loyal to her band, but who are they to tell her who she can and can’t hang out with or date?
Later on we join Rio and Jerrica as they meet up for their first date. Rio’s taken her to a carnival or fair of some kind, complete with cotton candy and a giant ferris wheel and lots of prerequisite getting to know you chit chat. Jerrica gives him the inside scoop on the other Holograms, and Rio asks why she’s not in the band since she wrote the song in their video entry for the Misfits vs. contest. She tells him she’s not one for the spotlight, and he assures her that what goes on behind the scenes is more important anyway- totally speaking her language.
Back at Hologram HQ, Kimber is busy sighing dramatically all over the furniture and interrupting Aja’s reading. She confides in Aja that she really likes this new girl she met, but she’s worried she’s out of her league. Aja responds with “Since when is anyone out of your league?” Kimber asks for her advice, and winds up getting both her and Shana to coach her on what to do about her latest love interest- all while doing her best not to let on that it’s Stormer she’s swooning over. They finally get Kimber to admit she abandoned her ‘Jane Doe’ at the coffee shop, and both Shana and Aja tell her she needs to text her right away to apologize.
Meanwhile, the Misfits are having a particularly bad day on the set of a video shoot, and Pizzazz ends up telling off the camera man, throwing a huge tantrum, and destroying her guitar and a perfectly innocent table of food. Pizzazz was notorious for her tirades in the cartoon, so I get a real kick out of seeing how this part of her personality has been illustrated in the comic. She’s scary!
Clash, a friend of the Misfits, gets her first lines in the comic and she’s already up to no good. She reaches out to her friend Blaze, a brand new character created just for the series, to see if she still works for a catering company and can she get her in on an upcoming job. The job in question just happens to be for the Starlight Foundation’s annual fundraiser benefit that Jem and the Holograms just happen to be performing at, a last minute replacement when another singer backed out.
Mischief is afoot, friends! Tune in next to find out what happens when I recap issues 4 and 5!
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