Monday, December 28, 2015

Review - Jem and the Holograms Holiday Special 2015 (@IDWPublishing)

"It's no big deal. Just get a gift for whoever is on your slip."

Secret Santa exchanges are very hit or miss. The problem is that the person getting you something might not know you well enough to get you anything you'd actually enjoy. What compounds that problem even more is when your Secret Santa is from a rival band that you really can't stand to be around at all. Leave it to Jem and the Holograms Holiday Special 2015 from IDW Publishing to delve into that one for the holidays. The issue is written by Kelly Thompson, illustrated by Amy Mebberson, colored by M. Victoria Robado and lettered by Shawn Lee.

When Jem and The Holograms and The Misfits draw each other in their shared record label’s gift exchange, heads will roll… or will the holiday spirit getting to even the bitterest of enemies?

Full credit to Thompson--she managed to take the rivalry between the Holograms and the Misfits and make it feel warm and fuzzy. In fact, most of the issue read as something of a feel-good, everyone love everybody tale that got the two bands to set aside their dislike for another and revel in the holiday spirit. Thompson did a great job of making the two bands relatable to one another, despite their seemingly disparate differences. This was largely accomplished via Stomer and Kimber, who's relationship essentially bridge the gap between the two bands. And as a self-contained holiday special the issue is resolved with a nice bow on it, with Thompson surprising both the reader and the members of the bands.

The artwork by Mebberson is lighthearted and cheerful. The holidays bring with them joyfulness and Mebberson captures that spirit perfectly in rendering the dealings between the Holograms and the Misfits. There's one panel in particular that underscores the sheer dislike between the two bands, with Mebberson offering up a sea of flames connecting the two. From there, Mebberson offers plenty of "unique" expressions on the part of members of both bands, largely relying on sheer disgust with the task at hand. Robado offers a bit of levity to the tense atmosphere with vivid, bold colors that look great.

The holiday special excelled at hitting all the right notes. The Holograms and the Misfits essentially set aside their differences in the spirit of the holidays and the story is better off for it. There was the right amount of emotion and warmth throughout the issue that Thompson didn't miss a beat in making it a true holiday special. And Mebberson's artwork keeps up with the script shade for shade, with all the characters involved getting their chance to be happy and upset. Jem and the Holograms Holiday Special 2015 is what a holiday special should be: cheerful, trying at times and ends on a positive note.

Jem and the Holograms Holiday Special 2015 is in stores now.


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