Our Songs Are Better: Part 4
|“Our Songs Are Better: Part 4”|
|First published||April 26, 2017|
|Written by||Kelly Thompson|
|Art by||Jenn St-Onge|
|Colors by||M. Victoria Robado|
|Letters by||Shawn Lee|
|Edits by||Sarah Gaydos|
With the increased scrutiny that comes with the reality show, Roxy struggles to continue hiding her illiteracy.
Early one morning, Pizzazz and Roxy fight over Clash's reorganizing of the kitchen which has left Roxy unable to find her bagels. When Pizzazz says she doesn't understand why Roxy's so upset when everything is clearly labeled, Roxy decides she's had enough of being forced to live in Pizzazz's home, prompting her to remind Roxy that she signed up for this and ask if she even read the contract she was given. Storming out of the house and warning the film crew not to follow her, Roxy drives off towards her gym to work out her frustrations. While she trains, she's approached by a young girl named Nevaeh who's a fan of hers. Though she's happy to talk with Nevaeh and learn that she wants to be a drummer like her, Roxy freezes up when the young girl asks for her autograph and makes a run for the locker room after noticing that she was tailed by Ellen and Lisa. Though the two women begin to follow Roxy, they're both stopped by Jetta who threatens them into giving her some alone time.
Twelve years ago, in her native Philadelphia, Roxy sits in the principals office after getting into a fight with another girl named Laura. After promising that she'll stay out of trouble, Roxy takes her exit and is taunted by Laura as she leaves. Later, Roxy helps her father as he works on a car, handing him tools when he asks for them and drumming them against her legs in the meantime. As he finishes his work and decides to oblige Roxy's request to have bagels for dinner, Frank Pelligrini has one more surprise for his daughter: a drum set!
Two years later, Roxy reluctantly approaches her father to tell him something rather embarassing; she doesn't think she can read. Trying to be supportive, Frank listens to Roxy explain that even though reading has always been a struggle for her, she always thought she'd catch up to her classmates eventually but she hasn't and doesn't know how much longer she can keep pretending. Pulling her in for a hug, Frank tells Roxy to stop calling herself dumb, saying that even if she struggles with reading, he's never known anyone who can learn things as fast as she can. Blaming himself for not seeing that she was having trouble with this, Frank promises Roxy that he'll get her a tutor to help her learn. Unfortunately, later that same year, Frank passes away and Roxy ends up in the care of her Aunt Jackie who is far less sympathetic to her struggles.
At school, Roxy continues to be bullied by Laura and her friends for her disability. Having had enough, Roxy jumps on Laura and begins beating her up until a teacher stops her. Returning to her Aunt Jackie's home, Roxy realizes there's nothing for her here and begins packing her bags to run away from home, unfortunately being forced to leave her drum set behind. Four years later, Roxy has found work as a waitress in a New York City diner. One day, a patron sitting at the counter can't help but notice that she seems like a drummer, the way she was playing with her pencil giving her away. Asking her if she's in a band, Roxy tells him she isn't, prompting him to tell her that his band is currently looking for a drummer. Though she's excited to take him up on his offer of an audition, when he writes out his contact info on a sheet of paper she still can't make heads or tails of it...
Back in the present, Jetta approaches Roxy in the locker room and asks if there's anything she can do for her. As Roxy explains that Nevaeh had told her that her name was "heaven" spelled backwards, Jetta lightens the mood slightly by jokingly pointing out the her self-ascribed first name "Sheilah" also means heaven. Roxy asks if Jetta's ever going to tell her her "real" name, which she tells her she won't since it's not actually her real name. After Jetta writes the note (minus the signature) for her, Roxy confides in her friend that she doesn't know what she's going to do since it's only a matter of time before the crew figure out she's illiterate. Jetta suggests that maybe it's time that she finally learns, which only prompts Roxy to tell her that it's far too late and that she's clearly too dumb to figure it out. Supporting her, Jetta asks if she realizes how smart she must be to get to where she's at now without being able to read to say nothing of how gifted she is as a musician. Telling her that she'll finally get her help with learning how to read, Jetta promises to be right there at Roxy's side every step of the way.
Later, as Roxy hands Nevaeh her autograph, Jetta again begins yelling at the film crew to give her friend some privacy. However, as Lisa and Ellen talk about Paige's need for a storyline to hang the back half of the season on, Jetta slowly realizes that they're never going to give Roxy the privacy she needs right now. With that in mind, she decides that if they need a story, she's going to give them one...
Characters in italic text appear only in flashbacks.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"Are you ever going to tell me your real name?"
"No, because it's not my real name. It's just a name that some people who didn't know me gave to me before even I knew me, y'know? It doesn't matter. It's not "real"."
- -Roxy and Jetta
"Jetta, I'll be honest, I'm sorta terrified of you, but we gotta do our jobs here... give us a break."
"Break is a really bad choice of words, Ellen."
- -Ellen and Lisa
- It's revealed that Jetta's real name, Sheilah Burns, actually isn't the name she was born with and that she at some point renamed herself. Given that this issue's cliffhanger, you can probably expect to learn more about that next issue!
- In the opening scene, Pizzazz is wearing the same skull patterned pajamas she was seen in way back in the fifth issue of the main Jem series.
- Roxy's illiteracy was a trait of hers from the original cartoon that was the subject of the episode "Roxy Rumbles". It's... ah, treated with a touch more sensitivity here. The IDW incarnation of Roxy was established as sharing this trait in her bio but hadn't actually been shown struggling with it until now.
- On panel 3 of page 24, Jetta asks Roxy if she knows how smart she is "to get through a single day without being to read", her question clearly missing the word "able".
- Digital versions of this issue contain a "Digital Ashcan" for The Infinite Loop, another book published by IDW and edited by Jem: The Misfits editor Sarah Gaydos.
- Regular cover: Roxy, by M. Victoria Robado
- Subscription cover: Roxy, by Jenn St-Onge
- Retailer incentive cover: Roxy and Jetta, by Meredith McClaren