It's an ending. But what kind of ending are you looking for? There have been several threads waving in the winds of the constantly moving Dark Jem story arc. A few of them come together satisfactorily. Others are left to annoyingly remain in motion, waving around in the corners of your vision. That might be a problem for you, if you’re looking for a sense of completeness. Honestly, if you've followed the arc thus far, you have to finish it. And the Thompson/Campbell team gives you reason enough to stick around. You just might not appreciate how neatly the main plot resolves itself. Music is hard to pull off in an inherently visual medium. Campbell crafts exquisite (and thankfully brief) pages of explosive energy that mostly succeed at conveying a spectacular performance. But it still isn’t enough to make the central battle feel like any kind of struggle. It feels effortless for our super group. It’s hard to celebrate an inevitable victory (of course they‘re going to win) when the process feels about as difficult as turning a page. So in the end... it all feels a bit too easy. There’s an inspirational huddle, a quick song, and it's over. We spend all our time with the Holograms and Misfits, but little time dealing with Silica and her cronies. The stakes aren’t given enough weight. The cost of Silica’s triumph isn’t established as enough of a threat. When the Dark Jem menace starts to fade, I feel a little sad for the villain. But the book isn't as interested in her fate as I am, I guess. So, the moment passes with little meaning. The climactic concert is framed as an event on par with a superhero battle. However, for an ultimate battle against evil -- or, at least, a fracas against malevolence -- issue sixteen comes across as a whimper and a shrug when it should have more impact.
The highlight of issue sixteen is the quick and easy to miss turn in Jerrica's relationship to her Jem persona. This issue seems to set up a handful of other future plots and character progress. And I'm sure the journey will be entertaining. I hope, however, that the series can make better use of both the limitations and breathing room of the trade paperback structure.
As stated before, the climax of this issue won't appeal to every reader. Naturally. But, after following the Dark Jem arc from start to finish, I find myself slightly under whelmed by how it resolves.
[su_box title="Score: 3/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]
Jem and the Holograms #16 Writer: Kelly Thompson Artist: Sophie Campbell Colorist: M. Victoria Robado Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital