Jem and the Misfits #4 review: The rocky life of Roxy Pelligrini


Every Misfit has a secret, and Roxy Pelligrini has hers. Will it bring herself and the band crashing down?

Jem And The Misfits #4

Writer: Kelly Thompson

Artist: Jenn St-Onge

Colorist: M. Victoria Robado

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Yet another one of the Misfits risks exposure from their new reality TV gig. It may be a last ditch attempt to revive their bands’ career, but it consistently risks ruining them all. The constant cameras risk everyone’s insecurities coming to light. Stormer struggles with the world accepting her body shape, while Blaze has plans for her own band. Pizzazz’s issues with her father are legion. Yet all of them may pale to the challenge that Roxy Pelligrini has to overcome daily.

Image by IDW Publishing

It all begins innocently enough, with Roxy arguing with Pizzazz over her precious bagels. The baked delight are the love and obsession of Roxy Pelligrini just as much as pizza is to Michelangelo of TMNT. Pizzazz can’t understand why moving the bagels to labeled cabinets is such a big deal. Nor why Roxy Pelligrini is acting like the particulars of her reality TV contract are alien to her. In short order, Roxy ditches the Malibu beach house for the comfort of Rudy’s Boxing Gym.

Image by IDW Publishing

Seems Like It Wasn’t Just about the Bagels!

Yet instead of bringing comfort, an innocent encounter with a young fan brings it all crashing down. Fortunately for Roxy, her band mate and best pal Jetta chose to tag along at the right time. The end result is a trip down memory lane for the Misfit born as Roxanne Pelligrini. Her life in Philidelphia before becoming part of the world’s second biggest girl band was no bed of roses. Roxy consistently got into fights at school, and was misunderstood by both peers and teachers.

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Yet Roxy’s reasons for being this way aren’t entirely unreasonable. Behind her passion for drumming and her reactive temper is the fact that she’s illiterate. Somewhere along the line she fell behind her peers and in school and never caught up. Roxy’s only bright spot is her kind mechanic father, Frank. She seems unable to live without him, so naturally he dies and Roxy has to live with an uncaring distant aunt. Running away from home further amplified her problem.

Image by IDW Publishing

It was a bit of luck while working at a diner which brought Roxy back into the world of music. She’d ultimately be discovered by Pizzazz when she formed the Misfits, who more than live up to their name. Yet now the world is on the cusp of learning about Roxy’s illiteracy at the very moment Jetta finally talks her into some tutoring. It looks like one of the Misfits may have to take one for the team with the camera crews. Jetta may be scarier than even Pizzazz, but her heart isn’t.

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Yet Another Incredible Issue with These Anti-Heroines!

Kelly Thompson produces another strong script fleshing out another one of the Misfits. For anyone believing that Thompson sought to make this a “very special issue,” some context is in order. Namely, that Roxy Pelligrini being illiterate was a plot point from the original Hasbro cartoon from the 1980s. Her past as a high school drop out is all there. Thompson retells this origin for Roxy in a modern way and added some more tragic embellishments, such as her deceased father.

Image by IDW Publishing

Furthermore, the issue tackles the issue in very real ways. Functioning illiterates often have to learn no end of tricks or compensate in other ways to get through life. In Roxy’s case, she had an edict memory for songs she hears or techniques she sees. She even manages to trick diner patrons into reading off a menu she can’t understand herself. Jetta and Roxy didn’t get along in the cartoon, but here they’re akin to adopted sisters. Their relationship with each other is very tender and real.

Image by IDW Publishing

Jenn St-Onge and M. Victoria Robado once again produce phenomenal artwork together. It is a tragic script for Roxy Pelligrini, so the pair have to excel at facial reactions and body language, as well as attention to detail. Fortunately, the pair have managed this nearly effortlessly throughout the entire series. Roxy’s combative nature in school is clearly justified by how mercilessly she is mocked by peers. A lot of the insults became embedded in her esteem, worsening her dilemma.

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Their Songs Are Better, but Could Their Comic Be, Too?

Probably the most touching visual cue is Frank Pelligrini’s shirt. At first you don’t notice Roxy’s attire at the beginning panels with Pizzazz. Yet later on through the story, the significance of it is established. It isn’t hammered in bluntly, but it quickly becomes a symbol for Roxy’s mourning. This is all Thompson and it really sells Roxy Pelligrini as a more well-rounded character. This is good because, out of the lot of them, Roxy was often the easiest to lose beyond her bagel fetish.

Image by IDW Publishing

Next: A Blaze of Glory from #3!

In conclusion, the Misfits once again live up to their name. They always stole the show in Thompson’s Holograms comic, and the extra embellishment has been great for them. Considering they don’t all have inherited wealth or a science fiction technology behind them, they work well as underdogs. Pizzazz has managed to assemble a rag tag crew of women society chewed up, and made them into both band and family. The grand finale with Jetta may be the best issue yet!