Jem And The Misfits #3 Review: A Great Blaze Of Glory


Blaze is the newest member of the Misfits, who once had the most to prove. Is she willing to move on without them?

Jem And The Misfits #3

Writers: Kelly Thompson & Sophie Campbell

Artist: Jenn St-Onge

Colorist: M. Victoria Robado

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IDW Publishing has gotten into the spinoff game with many of their titles. Unlike with Marvel or DC Comics, however, each new addition seems to fulfill a clear and specific purpose. Most times, it is to allow characters from a title bursting at the seams with riches to breathe. Such was the case of TMNT Universe to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and is the case for Jem and the Misfits. It has allowed the Misfits to all get their due without upstaging Jem. This month, Blaze has her turn.

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The Misfits settle in for another day of rehearsals amid a reality TV camera crew. Capitalizing on the fad to revive her band without a label, Pizzazz strives to improve upon the band’s sound. Yet it seems their newest member, Blaze, has a secret. Immediately after every jam session, she is the first to split the scene. All of the Misfits, aside for Stormer, immediately become suspicious, and perhaps for good reason. Blaze has formed her own band, and is practicing with them on the sly!

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It Isn’t Wise to Keep a Secret from Pizzazz!

As a result from going from Misfits fan to band member due to circumstance, Blaze seems to be in top position. Her friendship with the band’s longtime groupie Clash landed her a singing gig when Pizzazz was sidelined by injuries. Rather than boot her once she recovered, however, Pizzazz insisted she remain with the group. This change in their sound, along with the manipulations of the Stingers, resulted in the Misfits being booted from their label and being in this situation.

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Yet as revealed in this issue, Blaze has bigger dreams than going from fan to superstar. Back when she was a teenager living with her big sister Courtney, her love of music blossomed. A memorable Luna Dark concert inspired Blaze to want to be a singer. To this end she’s formed her own band, “the Lunas,” with Skye and Jade. At the moment she’s caught in a bind. With the reality TV crew about, she won’t be able to hide them forever. Being exposed may cause the Misfits to disown her.

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At the very least, that’s what Blaze believes. And considering Pizzazz’s temper and long form revenge strategies, she isn’t wrong to be concerned. As a result of her dithering, however, Jade and Skye are becoming frustrated and feel that reality TV could expose their band for the better. It all culminates into a delightfully cute meeting between Blaze and Luna, and a showdown with Pizzazz at the beach. Is it possible for Blaze to have it all, or will she be forced to choose?

Image by IDW Publishing

Jem’s Original Artist Returns!

Former regular series launch artist Sophie Campbell reunites with Kelly Thompson to co-write this charming issue. The pair are longtime friends who were practically plotting a revival of Jem long before IDW agreed to their pitch. Campbell has co-written Jem before, with Blaze seeming to come the closest to the creator’s own journey. Both are transgender in a medium, and country, where that often is a huge deal. This allows for a level of authenticity and emotion for Blaze.

Image by IDW Publishing

Yet what I like about this issue, besides presenting Blaze with a sympathetic origin, is in its continued great use of Pizzazz. Considering how over the top she can be as both a character and an antagonist, it would be easy to write her as a stereotype. Yet Thompson has been committed to presenting her as a practical, experienced, no nonsense band leader, and it pays in spades. Blaze’s dilemma is no big deal in the music industry, where musicians move around all the time.

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In addition, the look at Blaze’s past juxtaposed with her meeting with Luna is great stuff. Despite being a Misfit, Blaze’s utter spastic breakdown when meeting her idol is hilariously genuine. Getting a look at her more awkward teenage years with Courtney and Clash also helps in her development as a character. Considering how crowded Jem and the Holograms got, Blaze is almost the core example of a character who could be lost in the shuffle without a spinoff issue.

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The Misfits’ Current Artist Is among the Franchise’s Best!

Jenn St-Onge produces another outstanding issue in terms of art. In many ways her style comes the closest to that of Campbell’s herself while still being distinctly her own. After her tour of duty here, I’d love to see her take a crack on the regular Jem series for a while. As with previous issues, physical emoting is key to adding pop to the script, and St-Onge knocks out every panel. Her depiction of the musical numbers is also amazingly beautiful and akin to what Campbell did.

Image by IDW Publishing

M. Victoria Robado’s colors are as vibrant as ever. When paired with St-Onge’s line work, the end result is a triumph. All of the Misfits look distinctly different in shape, size, and fashion sense. I also like how some of the small details about each of them, as established by Campbell, carry over. Blaze’s nose and freckles in particular are as memorable as Pizzazz’s earrings, and maintaining this adds authenticity. Consistent details make or break characters and St-Onge is adept at this.

An Utterly Appealing Spinoff!

Thompson displays her talent and love for the franchise not just in a well-plotted issue, but in the details. Luna Dark didn’t simply fall from the sky, she’s another character recreated from the original cartoon. Originally based on a younger Madonna in the show, Luna’s stage attire has been drastically redesigned. Her crescent moon theme is very cool, and she easily has one of the best sequences alongside Blaze in the entire issue. It is another fun recreation for the franchise.

Image by IDW Publishing

Next: Check out Stormer battle her lifelong foe in #2!

Jem and the Misfits has been a great set so far. Some issues have even managed to be better than the main Jem title lately. The focus on each member of the band may be a simple mechanic, but Thompson manages to make the most of it to explore them all. The broader premise with the reality TV cameras is an excuse to keep them all together, as well as play on media realities. It makes a perfect supplement to Jem, and shows the Misfits’ “songs are better” after all.