Saturday, August 15, 2020

Nerdbot Reviews: ‘Rainbow Brite’ Issue One from Dynamite Entertainment

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Loryn Stonehttp://www.nerdbot.com
Loryn Stone has dedicated her life to the written Word of the Nerd. Her writing has also been published on other pop culture websites such as Cracked, LoadScreen, PopLurker, and Temple of Geek. Her debut young-adult novel "My Starlight" (a contemporary love letter to fandom, friendship, anime, cosplaying, love, and loss) is out now by Affinity Rainbow Publications. When she's not writing, Loryn's other interests include collecting robots (Megazords, specifically), playing bass, and blasting metal.

Hi, my name is Loryn and I can’t stop writing about Rainbow Brite. 

I’m not even kidding that I’ll take any opportunity to write about my first superheroRainbow Brite was the very first show I actually remember watching. While my older sisters played with Strawberry Shortcake dolls, Moon Dreamers, Jem, Barbie and the Rockers, and My Little Pony, the only one I can remember connecting with is Rainbow Brite. Something about her resonated and stuck with me. In retrospect (because really, what other kind of ‘spect is there?) I think I enjoyed the balance of male to female characters, the action, and the tension/stakes presented in the show.

Therefore, when Dynamite Entertainment announced the arrival of a new comic book series written by Jeremy Whitley and illustrated by Brittany Williams, I was delightfully excited! I think that a comic book revival is a great medium to re-test the waters for a franchise like Rainbow Brite. After all, when Feelins brought the series back in the form of a web cartoon in 2014, it was this manic, hyper goofy slap in the face. Honestly, it was a mockery and unjust treatment to Rainbow Brite. Yes, franchises can evolve and grow, of course. But I think it’s important for those building blocks to play by the rules of the original foundation that was laid down. If a show or franchise has a set of rules it follows, reboots and remakes need to respect those rules and build upon it, otherwise the Jenga tower will be wobbly and fall down.

I’m looking at you, Power Rangers The Movie 2017.

Rainbow Brite issue one was released on October 3rd, 2018 and I got my grubby hands on it yesterday after special ordering it from my local comic book store. Why there weren’t fifty copies ready to go for all Rainbow Brite fans is beyond me, but hey, I got my book so we’re all good.

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The premise is simple: We have two friends, Wisp (who OG-RB fans remember as Rainbow Brite’s original human name before she earned her stripes and became the rainbow superhero spirit girl we all know today) and Willow. Willow is a new character and seems to be the brains between the two. The two girls have active imaginations and spend much of their day playing warrior and wizard. (Wisp taking on the role of the warrior and Willow acting as the wizard).

When the narrative begins, we the reader are clearly focusing on Willow. But once Willow’s dad gives Wisp (the high energy quirky friend) a ride home, the narrative focus changes. It’s a little abrupt and doesn’t 100% work for me, but we’re acquainted with Wisp enough by now that we can still follow her. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Wisp looks out her window and sees color-sucking Shadow Monsters. They’re out for the color blue, alluding that the blue color spirit (Color kid Buddy Blue?) has been captured.

Wisp meets a sprite named Twinkle (who I’m hoping is different than Twink, her original sidekick in the franchise) and he says he can’t get back to his world without a flood of light. Wisp runs back to Willow’s house and tells her to activate her family’s security system because it has flood lights. Note that Willow and Wisp are the only ones who can see these Twinkle and these shadow monsters. Apparently other humans can’t see it, so therefore chosen ones. Willow activates the flood lights, Twinkle goes back to his dimension and oops; Wisp gets sucked into the portal with him and into a gray and bleak version of Rainbow Land.

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Which of course, I now need issue two so I can figure out what’s going to happen.

Ultimately, the issue is far too short for me to give a strong opinion. The very slim issue plays out like a prologue, really. The art is charming and the pacing is good. I’m very curious to see how Wisp will make her transformation into Rainbow Brite and where Willow, the new character on the block, fits into this whole narrative. The new Rainbow Brite money shot artwork is very magical girl inspired and makes RB look very ethereal and wise. So far, not matching up with the “I wanna be a strong warrior, yay!” new She-Ra-esque sort of character I’m seeing in Wisp. So, will it play out and mean something? Or is the artwork just pretty to be pretty?

Because remember- Stormy was the tough-girl in Rainbow Land.

I know also that the comic is for kids, but I think the writing is a little clumsy. There’s just something that almost feels unsure. While Whitley and the crew at Dynamite is clearly respectful and careful with this franchise, I’m not sure they’ve spend years devising mental fan fiction and fan theories about the rules and roles of everything happening in Rainbow Land like some of us long-time fans out there.

::deadpanned blank-eyed stare::

::slow creepy smile::

But between the charming art and an intriguing hook, Rainbow Brite issue one definitely has something happening with it. And what it has makes me want to come back for more.

I give Rainbow Brite by Jeremy Whitley 3.5/5 star sprinkles. 

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