Ever since the Jem and the Holograms comic started early last year, creators Kelly Thompson and Sophie Campbell have been hearing one question from fans of the original 1980s animated series: "When are you going to include the Stingers?"

The Stingers, for those who don't know, are the third most important rock band in the Jem saga (after the Holograms and the Misfits, of course), a glam rock trio who formed in Germany. It made sense not to throw them in too early; after all, they didn't appear on the cartoon until Season 3. But nevertheless they have a fan base, and those fans want to see what Thompson and Campbell do with them.

And that brings us to Issue 16, the finale of the "Dark Jem" storyline and Sophie Campbell's last issue on the book.

The story concludes with the Holograms and the Misfits taking the stage together to defeat the insidious Silica with the power of music. In the main characters' shared moment of triumph, we suddenly see three familiar blonde characters watching from the back of the arena.  For anyone who knows the cartoon, or has just done some research after hearing fans ask about them, it's immediately clear that these are the Stingers. And for everyone else, the issue includes profiles of all four members.

 

 

Wait, four members? There were only ever three on the cartoon. And that's where things get interesting.

The fourth Stinger is another character that fans have been asking about  for ages: Carmen "Raya" Alonso. But she was never a Stinger, she was the fifth member of the Holograms, who joins in Season 2. So will comics Raya remain a Stinger, or will she find her way into the Holograms? Time will tell, and with Meredith McClaren taking over art on the book (after a fill-in spot by Jen Bartel), it's clear that a new era of Jem and the Holograms is about to begin.