In Jem and the Holograms Vol.5: Truly Outrageous, the Holograms decide to take a working holiday in sunny Hawaii, along with new band member Raya. But tragedy strikes when it turns out their neighbors are none other than the Stingers. Things get awkward as Jem is stuck repeatedly turning down Riot, putting up with the constant fights between his bandmates and hers, and dealing with the consequences of her choice to reveal her true identity to Rio.
Thankfully, with the return of Shay and the addition of Raya, the Holograms are stronger than ever. This is an issue that really highlights the relationships of the girls, from Shay and Aja to Kimber and Stormer. There's a handful of high-risk, tense situations in this issue, and all are resolved through the Holograms' inner strength and their bond with one another.
This collection of comics ( issues #24–#26 ) manages to avoid the downfall of clunky writing that often plagues the Jem series. Instead, the dialogue is natural, flows well, and is well suited to each character that speaks. You can sense the subtle shift in accents and cadence when the Stingers speak — especially Minx. Kelly Thompson is comfortable and confident in this collection. She knows where her characters are going and delivers their story with fantastic pacing.
Something I wasn't expecting from this book were certain panels really showcasing the work that Gisele Lagace puts into the art of the characters. Each look is so distinct — along with body shape and posture — that watching Jerrica change back and forth from Jem so quickly was enough to give me whiplash. This stark difference really highlights her duel identity, especially when Jerrica travels with the other girls and comes off plain and unassuming. Perfect for a secretive pop star.
The inclusion of a bonus "exquisite corpse" story is an adorable add-on, giving us some extra time with the Starlight girls. With artists such as M.J. Barros, M. Victoria Robado, Katarzyna Witerscheim, and Savanna Ganucheau, we're treated to brilliant designs in a sci-fi setting with a surprisingly touching story.
Fans of the Jem series who are looking to add to their collection should snatch this right up. The stellar artwork, additional covers, and fun issues are more than worth it.
Jem and the Holograms Vol. 5: Truly Outrageous is available now for $11.99.