I lost my way with comics some time back; I’d pick up the odd issues here or there, mostly Gotham City Sirens and even that was mainly for Catwoman! ‘Comicphiles’ has given me the chance to not only pick things up again, to start afresh with first issues, but it’s also allowed me to pour back over the stuff I had picked up and neglected to the low dusty shelves in my apartment.
So this week for ‘Comicphiles’, you’re getting a pretty mixed bag of some new stuff, Jem and the Holograms, some Kickstarted stuff, Outcasts of Jupiter, and some old stuff, Low.
Jem and the Holograms
Jerrica, Kimber, Aja and Shana have returned to the pages of comic books and they’re back with a very modern look. For those of you who don’t know, here’s a very brief history: Jem was a popular cartoon series in the mid/late 80s about a pop band and their adventures. It was brought to us by the same team behind GI Joe and Transformers and, like those shows, it spawned merchandise and a hardcore following.
So when I say the girls are back, I say it with both glee and trepidation! My childhood was swamped in episodes of Jem. Released in March of this year, the comic wastes no time with introductions; instead, we glimpse a band in trouble, as lead singer Jerrica is unable to perform even in a near-empty studio lot. The tension is growing and it’s her fault; her inability to overcome her shyness causes friction with the other members and a fight breaks out. Jerrica, aware of how much she has disappointed her friends, leaves in secret, heading home in the pouring rain. As luck or rather fate would have it, though, the storm outside reactivates a lost AI developed by Jerrica’s late father, who appears in front of the young girl and introduces itself as Synergy, a being with the ability to create holographic imagery, Jerrica eyes her one chance and welcomes destiny with eager arms.
My first impressions of Jem and the Holograms were somewhat biased by my own nostalgia for the original series, but after picking it up and putting it down several times, I realised bias be damned. I love the colours and characters! These aren’t the same women from my childhood, they are something new, something modern and different but there was something familiar too – the heart behind the stories – and it’s not hard to see why I’m in love with Jerrica and her friends all over again.
Will I Keep Reading? I truly, truly will!
Outcasts of Jupiter
I was a Kickstarter backer for Outcasts of Jupiter; the creators, brothers Shobo and Shofela Coker, had actually reached out to the site to see if we would give their fundraising page a mention. I fell in love with the artwork first and the story second and broke my rule of backing no more than three projects a year.
The Cokers have yet to see when the next instalment will be published, but allow me to press on and explain just why you should pick up this book and just why the Cokers should continue to push their work!
Outcasts of Jupiter is set in the future; it’s a science fiction adventure beginning on a very different Earth to the one we know. A mysterious figure darts his way down side streets and narrow alleys full of purpose and drive. His destination is a grim bar with some shady patrons to acquire a ‘Neural Signature’.
Device secured, he leaves to meet with a woman atop a roof and begins the second phase of their plan – break into a palace, find the prison and release the woman’s husband.
The comic is extremely well paced; it’s fast but quiet, but you’re not overloaded with information or text and your eyes have time to pour over the panels and pages. The artwork, from character design to backgrounds, is breathtaking and grand. You get a real sense of the world and the people in it from every page. It’s in the detail of these pages that you get a real sense of urgency from what characters Sulesh and Denarii are trying to accomplish. Denarii’s infiltration of the palace is done elegantly and swiftly and, while you don’t get to learn a lot about him or who his companions are, the impression that there is more to them than expert thieves lingers even long after the comic finishes.
Outcasts of Jupiter does exactly what a first issue is meant to do – hook you! Unfortunately it might be some time before anyone gets a chance as word on a follow-up issue is some time away.
Will I Keep Reading? Yes, but that might be some time away!
Low was recommended to me a couple of weeks ago by a friend who is all-knowing when it comes to comics, so I had high hopes for it… I’ll let that joke settle!
Released last July by Image Comics, it comes from the mind and hands of writer Rick Remender with art by Greg Tocchini. Low tells the story of a family living in the deepest depths of Earth’s oceans; the planet’s surfaced has been completely irradiated by an encroaching Sun and the end of our time is fast approaching; with it, hope of our species survival dwindles.
Have you ever read something and felt claustrophobic? I got that with Low. The confines of the new human cities underwater, the compact vessels and living quarters all felt too much, but that did not take away from the comic – it added atmosphere.
I’m in love with the characters. A family who, despite their current surroundings and the world they live in, hold on to their humanity and their hope, which they share with each other. Low captures the imagination and intrigue and it’s left me thinking about what comes next, not just in terms of issue 2 but on the grander scheme of things and our own little world.
Will I Keep Reading? This has me hook, line and sinker!
What are you reading this week? Let us know in the comments!
Editor-in-Chief, part-time super villain and hoarder of cats. If you can’t find me writing, I’m probably in the kitchen!