Jem and the Holograms: Infinite

Jem and the Holograms: Infinite
Jem and the Holograms Infinite review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: IDW - 978-1-684051-24-3
  • Release date: 2018
  • UPC: 9781684051243
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes

The Misfits had a track record and were making a name for themselves when Jem and the Holograms burst on the scene and started to steal their thunder as the best girl band around. Some Misfits thought there was room enough for two bands, but their aggressive singer Pizazz has constantly needled Jem and her bandmates, which proved to be a bad career choice. As seen in The Misfits, it took a reality TV show to restore their bankability. Jem’s other problem is that she’s a holographic persona, or in effect a holographic costume, used to disguise the fearful stage fright Jerrica Benton experiences. There are suggestions this should be revealed to the wider world as ratings might drop were the deception to be revealed without it being contolled.

All of that, however, is just background to a plot pretty well explained on Jen Hickman’s sample page. The advanced hologram technology their now dead father developed for Jem and her sisters is being misused in alternate universe, widely applied to separate an elite from the general population.

A sort of science fiction adventure in an advanced alternate universe is a step into unfamiliar territory for Jem and the Holograms, but Kelly Thompson knows what she’s doing, and develops a six chapter thriller constantly dropping new bombshells. It’s based on consideration of how the technology Jem employs could have a wider application for society, and if unscrupulously controlled, the implications would be distressing. Infinite is emotionally strong, not least due to the device of the Holograms meeting their father again, even if he is from an alternate universe. The Misfits follow Jem and the gang, and as a collection this leads to a slightly disconnected structure because the content was originally released as two separate miniseries with the lead characters alternating.

Cover artist Stacey Lee draws the first ten pages nicely enough, but it’s Hickman and Jenn St Onge who draw the remainder, each of them able to define the large cast via their poses and expressions, with the contrary and provocative Pizazz the strongest character and well handled by both artists. Both also concentrate primarily on the figures, with backgrounds basic and the panels distinguished through the work of colourists Sarah Stern and Brittany Peer who keep things very bright. That’s not to suggest the artists are slacking, as identity is a strong theme, and they need to design alternate Jem and the Holograms and Misfits.

Thompson’s warping of themes, technology and people from earlier Jem graphic novels is astute, but the ending is weak because she’s chosen to keep her options open instead of providing a full resolution. Until then, however, Infinite is a lot of fun, and anyone who’s enjoyed Thompson’s work on this reboot before now will also enjoy this.