Rainbow Brite #1
Paulina Ganucheau (cover art), Jeremy Whitley (writer), Brittney Williams (art)
Dynamite Comics has had a lot of success in reviving nostalgic properties for comic consumption lately. Everyone from The Green Hornet to Xena has been brought back to life, and now Rainbow Brite, defender of colors, is back with her own series. Rainbow Brite was a childhood icon of mine (I definitely owned a plastic Starlight and Rainbow figures when I was five) so I was eager to see what Jeremy Whitley and Brittney Williams had done with her legacy.
The plot is simple: two kids named Willow (a somewhat more artistic introvert) and Wisp (a louder, sword-swinging type), close friends, enter the woods near their house to LARP, one of the many times they’ve embarked on such adventures together. Willow’s family is big and takeS the girls’ adventures in with a sense of humor; Wisp’s family is comprised of just her and her mother, who clearly adores her daughter but has to make the hard choice to work long hours to support the family, which means that sometimes she and Wisp miss out on seeing each other in person at night or during the day. One night Wisp’s mom’s car is attacked by two large, gloopy, grey monsters; when she threatens them with her prop sword they cower away, sensing a force in her they haven’t met in eons.
A sprite named Twinkle appears and informs her that these are minions of the King of the Shadows, who has captured the Guardian of Blue and is currently trying to drain all of the blue from Wisp’s world. Twinkle then says that The King of Shadows’ goal is to drain all of the color in the universe period, and since Wisp is the only person who’s been powerful enough to strike back at the King of Shadows’ minions this far, he needs her to come with him to Rainbow Land to join the battle against evil.
I can tell right off the bat that this is going to be a wonderfully engaging comic for young readers. There’s a lot of bright, snarky humor on display, reminiscent of a good episode of Gravity Falls, and a lot of tenderness under the surface; the power of friendship and the sight of our two strong leads kicking butt with ingenuity will delight. Older readers familiar with the continuity will notice how much of the origin story established for Rainbow Brite in the movie Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer is being used here, and the changed parts add a level of new emotion and grounding in reality to the events. The kid part of me loved the adventure, and the adult part of me hopes Wisp and Willow will return to their parents wise but unscathed by their coming of age.
The talent on display for this first issue is good, though it didn’t dazzle me. Brittney Williams’ art is bright and cartoony and pretty, but nothing in her design choices stuck out to me as being super memorable. Whitley’s writing, too, is pretty enjoyable, with those aforementioned bright, funny Gravity Falls-ish bits; he does a good job grounding RB’s story into the modern world, but it wasn’t a super memorable telling to me.
But my adult’s opinion doesn’t matter much here. The important thing is that kids will dig all of it, and there’s definitely enough of a hook here to keep them reading the next issue.