Monday, August 21, 2017

The Misfits: Our Songs Are Better, by Kelly Thompson

I love me a story that takes an established villain, turns things upside-down, and makes the reader realize said villain isn't so bad after all. That they're maybe even likable. Kind of like what the later part of the Harry Potter series did with Professor Snape's character. He became sympathetic, someone who maybe didn't get all the good things in life handed to him, someone...well, real. And you, as a reader, found you didn't dislike him like you did before.

The Misfits: Our Songs Are Better, the uber-clever spinoff of Kelly Thompson's Jem and the Holograms comics, does just that. Here we have the story of The Misfits, the rival band in the main series. Up until this point, we've only seen these ladies painted as sneaky and vengeful. And who wouldn't be that way after this strange band appears out of nowhere, steals the spotlight, and one-ups them at everything (a band that has a super-smart supercomputer on their side)? I mean, really! But look closer: Throughout the Jem series, you see glimpses that The Misfits are more than the villains: Sneaking Pizzazz's cat into the hospital after a near career-ending accident... Accepting Blaze even after her startling confession... And other bits and pieces here and there. 

Our Songs Are Better picks up somewhere around the time where Enter The Stingers left off...and takes things in a different direction. Because of The Holograms and The Stingers, The Misfits have been dumped by their record label...and no other label will touch them. The only chance they have to get back on top is the worst thing ever: Reality TV. As much as Pizzazz hates this idea, she can't stand to see the band she built destroyed (or her friends hurt). So she agrees...and convinces the rest of The Misfits to do the same. 

And so... Each chapter follows a different band member, letting the reader inside the characters' heads. Their fears, their insecurities, the good, the bad, the everything. The story touches on some pretty heavy subjects, like body image, illiteracy, and losing parents at a young age. It's also all about friends and loyalty and being yourself. No more spoilers, though. I'll just say that fans of the original series will get to know The Misfits characters as they really are: And it's nothing like the reader would (probably) expect. In fact, The Misfits are not the bad guys at all! Dare I say they're more likable than The Holograms? (yes, I DO dare) I like what Thompson did here... It takes true talent as a writer to so completely change a reader's mind about a character/characters. Especially ones as established in their villainous roles as the ladies of The Misfits. And as a fan of the original TV show as well as the comic, that view was pretty cemented. I will be seeing these characters through different eyes from now on!

And so... I very much enjoyed The Misfits: Our Songs Are Better. Like, really a lot. Definitely one rare book that was worth the hype and worth the wait. I hope there are more Misfits graphics in the future. I'd totally line up to read them! 


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