Rainbow Brite Sparkles with Imagination -- But is it Amethyst in a Different Package?

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Rainbow Brite 1

Rainbow Brite is one of those pop culture icons of nostalgia that was quite the big deal back in the day, a part of the zeitgeist of the times just as much as Atari arcade games and Rubik's cubes. Where Strawberry Shortcake relied on scents as the selling point, Rainbow Brite was (rather obviously) more color-oriented.

When I saw the Paulina Ganucheau cover, and read the advance promotional material, I hoped this would be a brilliant reboot of the character that would still retain the appeal to an all-ages audience. What I got on the inside was not what I expected, and yet still lives up to my hopes.

The interior style by Brittney Williams is more of an animated cartoon style, but that's actually a perfect fit for the tone of the writing from Jeremy Whitley. The story follows two friends who enjoy regular sessions of pretending to be a knight and a wizard. Wisp is an African-American girl from a nuclear family with parents who set boundaries while still letting her explore her creativity. Wisp is more athletic and boisterous, and a bit of a latchkey kid.

Their world is about to cross over with another one night when Wisp looks out her bedroom window to see three amorphous being gathered around her mother's car, which is no longer blue, but gray. She confronts them, and makes the mistake of doing so in a blue sweatshirt, making her their next target, as they seem to be attracted to anything blue. As Wisp runs, she encounters a flying bit of fluff who volunteers to help her -- a sprite named Twinkle. He can help her fight off the creatures, but jumping the dimensions has drained his power, and he needs a source of bright light to recharge.

The story leaves us with Willow observing Wisp's disappearance into thin air, and Sprite taking her to a dreary, monochromatic world called Rainbow Land.

The obvious path would seem to lead us to believe that Wisp is going to become Rainbow Brite, defender of Rainbow Land. This would seem too close, however, to another comic book series of the time: AMETHYST, PRINCESS OF GEMWORLD. However, I don't believe that Whitley plans for Willow to be a supporting character or sidekick. The two girls are very much partners, and I would not be surprised to see that they share the role of Rainbow Brite, perhaps in trade-off roles or perhaps in some sort of merged personality akin to Firestorm the Nuclear Man. However it goes, I fully expect Willow to play a major role in this story, becoming one of the first people of color to populate the Rainbow Brite world which, ironically, has been all white in its previous incarnations.

I do hope the stories get a little deeper than "Oh no, Murky and Lurky are sapping the colors from that field of daisies!" But I expect Whitley has plenty of ideas to explore, and for a first issue I wholeheartedly recommend Dynamite's RAINBOW BRITE to the all-ages readers market.

Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0