• Advance Review: Dynamite Entertainment's Rainbow Brite #1

    A 2010s reboot of a 1980s brightly colored magical girl toyline and TV show featuring magic pastel colored horses reimagined for today's audience and their nostalgic parents.

    Where have I heard that elevator pitch before…

    Where was I? Magic pastel color talking horse. That definitely sounds like it fits this blog.

    Anyways, Dynamite Entertainment and Hallmark Cards announced back at SDCC that Rainbow Brite would be returning this year in a brand new comic book series! That series comes out next week (right before New York Comic-Con) in comic shops everywhere.

    Since this series seems like something our readers might enjoy—see first sentence of this review—Equestria Daily has received an advanced review copy.

    The review for which you'll be able to find after the break!

    Yes folks, this premiere issue also comes with a blank sketch variant to have your favorite artists draw Rainbow Brite on!

    I'll begin this review with giving a quick recap of the franchise for those who may not be familiar with it.

    Rainbow Brite is a media franchise by Hallmark Cards, introduced in 1983. The franchise stars a young girl named Wisp, who is brought to a gray, desolate land with the mission to bring color to it by locating the Sphere of Light and defeating the evil King of Shadows.

    While on her quest for that magical McGuffin, Wisp befriends a sprite named Twink and the self proclaimed "most magnificent stallion in the universe" Starlight, discovers the legendary color belt, and rescues the seven Color Kids from the King of Shadows clutches. After defeating the evil king and bringing all the colors of the rainbow to this gray land (henceforth known as Rainbow Land), Wisp is renamed Rainbow Brite and placed in charge of all the colors in the universe.

    If that sounds epic beyond all reason, that's because it is. It is also the plot of the first two episodes of the original cartoon series. To say pacing is an issue with those two episodes would be an understatement, especially since all of that had to be pack into 44 minutes. To help save on time and alleviate some of the pacing issues, the original cartoon started in media res, and had the audiences join Wisp already on the second part of her heroes journey.

    This had the side effect of leaving the main character of the franchise without any backstory whatsoever after the initial set up. A backstory which ended up unexplored in the run of the original 1984 series…

    I see where this is going, and I'm already grinning from ear to ear.

    As for why, well if you've read any of Jeremy Whiltley's previous work on MLP, you know that his writing shines the absolute brightest when he is dealing with basically unexplored characters. Case in point, his work with King Sombra in My Little Pony: FIENDship is Magic #1.

    Yes folks, Rainbow Brite #1 is not only a reboot of the original franchise, it is also for the first time ever establishing a backstory and background for Rainbow Brite.

    How does the creative team of Jeremy Whitley, Brittney Williams, and Valentina Pinto go about starting this new tale with a child protagonist? By showing how Wisp spends her Saturday playing with her best friend Willow.

    Yes, the stars of this story are named Willow and Wisp. Yes, that is a pun on will-o'-wisp. Yes, that is genius.

    As for how Willow and Wisp spend their weekends, they play make believe as Knights and Wizards, or as it is better known in the nerd community: LARPING.

    They LARP through the backyard. They LARP through lunch. They LARP all through the Willow's house when it starts raining outside. But unfortunately the LARPING comes to an end once night begins to fall and Wisp has to go home.

    The scene is a delightful slice of life sequence, which was told from the 3rd person limited perspective of Willow. This is an unusual choice for starting off a franchise origin story. Let's make no mistake about that. The comic is titled Rainbow Brite, and Wisp is the main character. However, by starting off the story from Willow's perspective a couple of things are established very quickly about Wisp. The first is how much Wisp cares about her friends and how much they in turn care about her.

    The second is that she comes from a poor home with a single parent. Namely her mom.

    Willow and by extension her family are living in upper middle class America. Her family lives in a two story house with an attached garage. It has a nice fenced off back yard. The car is relatively new. They own a stationary exercise bike and a washer and dryer. Fenced in back yard. Very safe neighborhood. Family has enough money to spend on childhood hobbies like costume crafting.

    It is a lifestyle which is very familiar to myself and probably a good number of the kids are the parents who will read this comic.

    By contrast, Wisp lives in a how with one floor and a flat roof. Her mother's car is old and beaten up. Her mother works on the weekends, and from all appearances the only bed room in the house is Wisp's since she found her mother sleeping on the couch after leaving the TV on.

    Mind you, I've done that too, but I have a feeling this was specifically shown to illustrate just how much Wisp has to deal with when she is not playing with her best friend Willow.

    This average day in this little girl's life changes in a very drastic way while she is getting ready for bed. Wisp hears a very loud "BANG!" outside her window and notices somebody is messing with her mom's car. So instead of waking up her mom to deal with the situation, Wisp grabs her wooden sword (which I'm sure weighs about the same as a baseball bat) and dashes outside to scare away the vandals!

    There was just one little problem with her plan. The things that are messing with her Mom's car aren't vandals. They are something much more magical and shadowy. Something which is stealing the blue color of the car!

    After Wisp tries and fails to attack these color-stealing shadows, she runs after they try to attack her! It is while she is running away from those shadows that she meets up with a sprite named Twinkle.

    That my dear reader is where I'm going to leave the review off. There's a lot left in the issue, with tons of surprises and plenty of ground work laid for the rest of the initial arc.

    Jeremy Whitley, Brittney Williams, and Valentina Pinto have crafted a comic and a universe which not only covers new ground in the Rainbow Brite franchise, but also pays homage to what has come before. It is a comic which readers both young and old will be able to enjoy in equal measure. With an issue that starts like this, the future for this comic series is looking very bright.

    I highly recommend you check out this comic when it drops on Wednesday. You'll be really glad you did.

    Retailer Incentive Covers have no logos or branding!

    Rainbow Brite #1
    Jeremy Whitley (w) • Brittney Williams (a & CVR A) • Tony Fleecs (CVR B) • Valentina Pinto (C)

    The adventure begins for children and adults alike, as the classic character Rainbow Brite comes to comics and brings a little color to your life! Wisp and Willow are best friends who live in a small town. They are inseparable, until one night Wisp discovers something is stealing the color from the world! To escape their grasp, Wisp must use her wits and the help of a new friend...from somewhere else! Then the adventure begins! Follow along with writer Jeremy Whitley (My Little Pony, Unstoppable Wasp) and artist Brittney Williams (Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat!, Goldie Vance) as we find out how this seemingly normal girl becomes Rainbow Brite and how it changes Wisp, Willow, and their world!

    FC • 32 pages • $3.99