Jem and the Misfits #5 review: A secret identity for Jetta


All of the Misfits have a secret, and it’s now time for Jetta to reveal hers. Yet are her motives what everyone thinks?

Jem And The Misfits #5

Writer: Kelly Thompson

Artist: Jenn St-Onge

Colorist: M. Victoria Robado

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Throughout Kelly Thompson’s run on Jem and the Holograms, the Misfits have been a force of nature. Pizzazz, Stormer, Jetta, and Roxy have been scene-chewing figures, all but demanding their own series. The end result is this series, which has been a revelation for them. It has allowed all of the Misfits to showcase themselves beyond their relationship to the Holograms. As a result, each of the Misfits have ultimately revealed their “secret origins.” Hence, it is Jetta’s time to show hers.

Image by IDW Publishing

Rather than risk her secret being revealed by the reality TV show cameras, Jetta offers a deliberate tease. It seems almost everything about her may be a lie. Her accent, her name, and her place of birth. Has this been part of a long con? Where does the real Jetta end and the “fake” Jetta begin? As soon as it hits the media cycle, Pizzazz is furious. This consequently leads to a Misfits meeting by the pool where Sheila Burns has to come clean about exactly who she is once and for all.

Image by IDW Publishing

Peek into Another Tragic Misfit Flashback!

Same as the rest of the Misfits, Jetta’s journey came with its share of tragedy. Her mother died when she was young, and her paternal aunt misunderstood her. Originally named Prudence, Jetta found that she wanted nothing to do with the life she was living in Georgia. Running away to London as a teenager, she “found herself” a new identity. It became more than a stage name; “Sheila Burns” became who she wanted to be. Yet the source behind “Jetta” still goes to her roots.

Image by IDW Publishing

It’s immediately easy to see how similar Sheila’s journey is to Roxy’s from the previous issue. Both were runaways fleeing the uncaring relatives of deceased parents. Both of them formed an act due to their misunderstanding. In Roxy’s case, it was covering up for her illiteracy. In the case of Jetta, it was to escape the confines of conformity. Sheila plays hard, fights hard, but also loves hard. This is apparently why she and Roxy are inseparable even among the Misfits as a whole.

Image by IDW Publishing

Furthermore, this issue cements a series which demonstrates the key difference between the bands. Jem and the Holograms are all sisters within the same family. Only two are blood, but they all grew up in the same home, with the same loving parents. Their father’s death motivated them to become greater, but they’re not the same as the Misfits. In contrast, all of the Misfits lived up to their names. They were all oddballs, outcasts, or free spirits who were united under one banner.

Image by IDW Publishing

Can the Misfits Be the Same as the X-Men?

To a degree, this reminds me of a dynamic which occurred in the 2000-era cartoon X-Men: Evolution. Following the exploits of the teenage X-Men under new continuity, their close rivals were naturally the Brotherhood. In the first season, the teams were mere foes and fought often. Yet, by the second season, the Brotherhood got more focus and even developed their own fans. They represented those with fewer privileges and social acceptance, contrasting even the X-Men.

Image by IDW Publishing

Even their manager, Eric Raymond, claims things have gotten sickeningly sweet between the Misfits. Yet that’s the irony which makes this finale most noteworthy. The premise of the reality TV show was presented as a danger to the Misfits. The often combative musicians all under the same roof, driving each other nuts. However, the opposite has happened. The close quarters has forced them all to reveal their secrets to each other and become more vulnerable with each other.

Image by IDW Publishing

The end result are Misfits who are stronger now than at the start of their series. Their financial success is obvious. Jetta and Roxy join the band for a new single, and their hit show has allowed them to form their own label. Due to the close proximity for months, however, the Misfits are stronger as a group. A lot of the tensions between them (due to their secrets or vulnerable pasts) are now lifted. The band Pizzazz formed almost out of rebellion has now become a hardened unit.

Yet Another Feast for the Comic Loving Eyes!

Jenn St-Onge and M. Victoria Robado once again unite for a spectacular looking issue. The truest measure of any artist on IDW’s Jem franchise is how they handle a song in a static medium. Sophie Campbell and Robado defined this during the start of the era in 2015, and St-Onge may come the closest to duplicating it as anyone else has come. The four sequence for “Not For The Faint” is an obvious visual highlight for the issue, if not the series as a whole. It is jaw dropping stuff.

Image by IDW Publishing

The rest of the issue is terrific looking too. Once again, the pair get to draw one of the Misfits in various ages. Jetta’s tragic story is juxtaposed by her narration, and it’s easy to see why she and Pizzazz often clash. They’re definite type-A personalities who know what they want and force the world to get out of their way. While her own opinions may make her flashback seem harsher than it was (such as how she saw her aunt), the raw genuineness to it shows on the panel and in the dialogue.

Image by IDW Publishing

Is It Possible to Like the Misfits Most of All?

In conclusion, it is easy to get cynical about spin-offs in comic books. It seems every franchise gets one, with the “big two” having whole families of comics. Yet, in the case of Jem, it seems to be for more than monetary gain. It was birthed out of a desire, almost from the Misfits themselves, to branch out and not be defined by their rivals. To stand tall as their own band, even to readers. Thompson and St-Onge have crafted a series which surpasses even this challenge.

Image by IDW Publishing

Next: Take a peek at Roxy's lot from #4!

Fortunately, this is not really the end for St-Onge’s time collaborating with Thompson and the Misfits. This summer will see Misfits: Infinite emerge as a weekly crossover with a new Jem series! The stronger and more unified Misfits will face a technological challenge! If it’s anywhere near as great as this series has been, then readers are once again in for a treat. The Misfits famously sung, “our songs are better.” As terrific as the regular Jem series is, this mini often made that lyric true.