Jem & The Holograms

Cover2015 | IDW

Writing: Kelly Thompson
Letters: Robbie Robbins
Art: Sophie Campbell
Colour: Victoria Robado | Paul Mounts

With the future of the band threatened by breakup after Jerrica’s performance anxiety ruins another band audition, Kimber and Jerrica discover a gift left by their father: Synergy.

This had garnered a lot of squid hate after reading. Now, I remember the cartoon, I had a few of the dolls, but I hardly remember the story beyond a blonde girl has earrings that make her henshin into an idol via holographic projection weirds. I wasn’t big on the cartoon and remember I hardly ever watched it, but I still remember the theme song to this day. When I saw nostalgia striking the comic industry again, I had to at least see what it was and once I did, the hate flowed.

Let’s just start with premise. I don’t know if it was exactly this way in the show, but in the book, the band already exists and our main heroine has performance anxiety. In order to deal with it, rather than super rich daddy getting her some therapy to resolve the issue, decides to ignore it all by developing holographic technology. Now, Jerrica can hide behind a fake identity and be loved for who she’s pretending to be.  This is no Full Moon O Sagashite involving a 12-year-old girl with throat cancer aspiring to be an idol. This is just a spoiled rich brat with performance anxiety. Surely, there’s more interesting ways to reboot this series than that.

The other big object of my rage is stereotyping. Our two caucasian sisters, Jerrica and Kimber are slender. Shana, our african american, has a pear-shaped body type sporting quite the bootie. Aja, our asian girl, is chubby. … Yeah. Way to embrace all body types stereotyping.

I don’t like it. I really don’t like it. The idea of Jem being a holographic projection isn’t terrible. It’d be a good gimmick for the band. Hell, it sure shortens dressing room time. It’s a great idea for how idols could work in cyberpunk settings. That this all comes from anxiety just makes me roll my eyes and groan. Our non-perfect body typed band members seem to handle things just fine, so why can’t Jerrica just be okay with being herself and actually work on that anxiety? Oh, right, because no one can think of a better premise.

Done. I’m just done. Garbage.

Squiddy Thought Bites #1

My comic reading has been pretty steady, but there hasn’t been anything where I could write more than a tweet or two. I just haven’t been able to find enough things to say about things-even things I like. I’d hate to see this space vacant again for so long, so I’m going to start up a series dedicated to short, likely disjointed, and probably useless impressions.

Bat Lash. DC 2008. Issues #1-4.

This is a guy that has been around since the late sixties and one of few westerns I have read despite being a fan of a good gunslingin’ cattle drivin’ bar brawlin’ scalpin’ story. This mini was okay. After each issue I wanted to continue even though it didn’t really have a unique plot. Overall, the feel of the book fell more into the soap-opera variety revolving around a forbidden romance. It is the ending what ruined things for me. I half expected something along those lines, but not so… rigid. It also felt a bit on the rushed side even as comics go. For a formulaic feeling story, it still was a good read, but I’m not so sure these good feelings hold with my disappointment over the ending.

Lady Rawhide. Topps. 1996. Issue #1

This is very 90s. VERY 90s. I’m still in shock from the exposure. The exposition is really hard for me to get through. I could tolerate it back then, but now? You don’t even need pictures to know what’s going on and that really gets under my skin these days. Unless the art is crap, I can tell what I’m looking at and what’s going on without the narration. The content of the book is also very 90s and I could barely get through it. I still groan about it having to write this little blurb. I didn’t like it. I’m not sure if I will like it once I get used to it, but I do have more of it, so I may as well read them.

Marineman. Image. 2010. Issue #1

I don’t know what this is. Our hero is a marine bioligist tv-documentary star. The bulk of it seemed more of an educational thing than anything else. An event did happen with a free diver dying under mysterious circumstances, however, this issue doesn’t go anywhere with that. You get not villain introduction, no action, no build towards anything whatsoever, and no cliffhanger of any kind. It really didn’t go anywhere. It’s like watching a horror movie for 45 minutes waiting for something to happen. Nope. Don’t recommend it. Won’t be reading anymore.

Magnus Robot Fighter. Dark Horse. 2010. Issue #1

I had read some scattered classic issues of this guy, and I liked the cross-dressing guy well enough. I liked this one well-enough, but it didn’t pop. This isn’t anything I feel compelled to keep going with and there were a few places where I was a bit lost in what was going on. My interest just wasn’t held enough for me to want anymore. Also, I would never name my crayon red cat Tomato.

Chronos. DC. 1998. Issues #1-3

A time traveling thief gets into a lot of trouble. It reminds me of old shows like Time Trax, Quantum Leap, and Sliders. It’s not terrible as far as writing and art goes, but it also doesn’t grab me, either. I’m just not interested in the story or his problems or the interesting twist that’s there. I believe I have all of it, so I will read through it, but, again, 90s. Not that there is anything wrong with words, and this isn’t nearly as bad as Lady Rawhide, I still think some of them don’t need to be there.

Deity Requiem. Image. 2005. Issue #1

This was a hefty book with some pretty good Michael O’Hare art. It seems to be more-or-less a self-contained story, but it’s evident that it’s part of a much larger whole and I’m interested in seeking out more of it. It’s a nice blend of fantasy sci-fi with religion thrown into the mix of the whole dark world vs light world thing. Yes, it is a tired concept, but I actually enjoyed this. It had a nice fold-out cover, too.

Demo “The Waking Life of Angels”. Vertigo. 2010. Issue #1

Of the batch of things I’m reviewing this post, this is the best. This book is so far above the others in terms of storytelling, writing, and art. It captivated me after just a few panels and by the end, I immediately put it on my list for my next shopping trip. It has a very almost Hitchcock feel to the story in which you weren’t entirely sure what was going on, but you knew it wouldn’t end too well.

The Devil’s Keeper. Alias. 2005. Issue #1

Terrible. Boring. Done. I didn’t even make it through the entire issue before returning it to its sleeve and filing it away. Sadly, I have more of it. Oh, well.

Doc Macabre. IDW. 2010. Issue #1

This was another big winner out of this batch. This is a different kind of Ghostbuster and I really enjoyed it. He charges a fee for his services and uses tech of his invention to deal with the supernatural disturbances. I wasn’t sure I was going to like it, but I was pleasantly surprised. Will be getting more of this one, too.

Doctor Solar Man of the Atom. Dark Horse. 2010. Issue #1

This is another classic character I had been interested in reading more modern appearances of. I liked this one more than Magnus, but again, I wasn’t particularly grabbed by it. I felt bored reading it and didn’t care too much for the issue’s crisis. I’ll be giving this a pass.

Aside

Juice Squeezers #1

Jan 2014 | Dark Horse

Writing | Art | Creation: David Lapham
Colour: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Cover: David Lapham | Lee Loughridge

The Great Bug Elevator

Weeville, CA, has a bit of an underground bug problem-a giant bug problem. A group of tweens, called the Juice Squeezers, prowl through bug tunnels to take care of their vermin problem. Weeville has a bit of a problem, though. Valley May Farms was purchased by an agricultural engineer and his son and they have no idea the bug menace that lurks beneath the valley. It’s up to the Juice Squeezers to take care of the bugs and protect the Farnsburgers, but one can’t exactly easily hide giant bugs. Already, Billy Farnsburger has sighted giant bugs and things won’t end well when the digging starts.

I can’t get over the name Juice Squeezers. It’s so filthy and disgusting, and yet totally perfect. Of course a bunch of tweens would call themselves something like that. It is a bit amazing that they have the job they do, you would think the adults would get their panties all in a bunch at the thought of children doing dangerous things, but since they’re the only ones that can fit in the tunnels, what choice do people have?

This is really good stuff. I’m somewhat saddened that it’s only a four-issue mini, and I have half of it already, but I realize some things just evolve into crap if carried on to long and that would be a sad end to this great series. It doesn’t feel like a whole lot happened, I think because it went by so quickly. The kids return to the school to report what they had done and then learn about the selling of the farm. We then get a history lesson of what happened there and why it’s terrible and we pretty much know to expect the worse. When our tweeny heroes are prowling through the tunnels to make sure they’re all accessible and the family is above with construction equipment ready to dig out irrigation for their fields, I pretty much expected bugs to come swarming out like disturbed ants. I didn’t expect anything to happen to Billy despite his bug sighting.

I really like the art and I’m a big fan of comics that look like they could be animated. That’s turning into a new deal for me. I’d have to say, the weevils are my fave of the beatles I’ve seen. I’ve always liked how alien they look with their long faces and oddly bulbous bodies. I also like how our location is named Weeville. *snicker*

So, this is obviously on my pull list. I want to read the second, but I also feel like I should wait until I have all of it. I could just read through the rest of it in one go and not pine after it. Who’m I kidding, though? Issue #2, here I come!

 

Grindhouse – Doors Open At Midnight #2

CoverNov 2013 | Dark Horse

Writing: Alex de Campi
Art: Chris Eric Peterson | Marc Laming
Colour: Nolan Woodard
Letters: Alex de Campi
Cover:  Dan Panosian

Bee Vixens From Mars Part 2

It’s up to Deputy Garcia to save her small town from Bee Vixens From Mars in this action-packed conclusion.

This is one of those times where I’ve read something and just don’t have a whole lot to say about it. I really liked the first issue and this one kept up the B-movie feel. The progress of events were what you’d expect from a B movie and I particularly liked the little bee larvae om-nomming; they were adorable.  The Queen was pretty magical, too.

As far as the story is concerned, things concluded nicely and it had lots of bee action. It really did feel like I’m reading a comic adaptation of a movie, which happened to be the most important thing for me. It really hit the mark and I enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to the next movie: Prison Ship Antares.

Proof: The Company of Men

Cover2009 | Image

Writing: Alexander Grecian
Art: Riley Rossmo
Colour: Fiona Staples | Adam Guzowski
Letters: Alexander Grecian

Collects issues 6-9.

Ginger, Elvis, and Proof set off to Africa to rescue a dinosaur targeted by big game hunters. Unfortunately, it was all a trap to capture Proof and serve him up as dinner at a banquet.

After reading the first trade, I imediately set into the second. It took me a bit of time to get through, mostly having other things vying for space on my proverbial entertainment platter, but it was a nice savoury piece of betrayal, drama, and satisfying conclusions. I never suspected anyone at the lodge of being a traitor. Not so soon into things, and it just came out of nowhere. Nicely done.

What they did with the Colonel at the end of that mess I found to be quite satisfying. Will he be causing more trouble in the future? Probably. I don’t see why he wouldn’t and he seems bent on escape. I suppose we shall see.

I’m not sure how I feel about Elvis cutting his hair and getting that makeover. It doesn’t look like him at all. I’ll agree it is good to make a good first impression, but he’s already met Ginger and if you’re gonna dress nice and stuff, you want to at least still be true to yourself, right? I liked his weird style.

Oh well.

 

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