Rainbow Brite #1
Writer: Jeremy Whitley
Artist: Britney Williams
Colors: Valentina Pinto
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Cover artists: Paulina Ganucheau, Tony Fleecs & “Classic Art”
Editor: Kevin Ketner
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Price: $3.99 US
Rainbow Brite? There’s a Rainbow Brite comic? And I’m reviewing it? Really?
Really. Writer Jeremy Whitley sent a digital review copy of this latest licensed-property adaptation, and while I had absolutely no interest or knowledge of Rainbow Brite, I decided to give it a look, based solely on the strength of the creative reputations of the writer and artist, Britney Williams. While this book definitely wasn’t crafted with a middle-aged comics enthusiast in mind, it was crafted adeptly and will appeal to younger readers. I can’t go so far as to call Rainbow Brite and all-ages comic, but it’s a perfect comic to put in the hands of young girls will an interest in reading, adventure and wonder.
Best friends Willow and Wisp delight in live-action role-playing every day, with the former playing the part of a wizard and the latter the fierce, sword-wielding warrior. Though closer than siblings, the girls live very different lives. Willow is watchfully doted on by caring parents, while Wisp is all too often left to her own devices at home. And that’s how she comes to find her fantasies come to life, as she discovers color-cancelling creatures lurking in the dark — as well as a magical new ally.
Britney Williams was both a perfect choice to illustrate this character revival and a surprising one. Her bright, cartoony style suits the story and characters quite well, but it’s not exactly in keeping with the house style of the original property. Giving Williams leeway to illustrate the characters and story her own way was the right call, I’d say. Williams conveys Willow’s and Wisp’s youth, energy, imagination and precociousness wonderfully.
Whitley’s script is quite accessible. If the reader isn’t familiar with the original property (as was my case), s/he won’t have any trouble picking up on the story. Whitley’s crafting of Willow and Wisp as characters is fantastic. They’re practically polar opposites, but they complement each other perfectly. I also appreciated the characterization work when it comes to the girls’ parents. Specifically, while Wisp’s mother is hardly the ideal parent, she’s also not portrayed as uncaring or cruel. While she’s asleep on the job as Wisp’s mom, she’s not shown to be a drunk or a drug user. Instead, she’s just seen as incredibly tired, suggesting she’s toiling to make ends meet or perhaps ill in some way. One still feels for Wisp, but Whitley doesn’t take the audience to a place where they need experience disdain for the tired woman.
The brightness and bravery of the two main characters make for fun reading. While the odd simplicity of the plot – the risk of the loss of color in the world – essentially keeps this book from being something adults can fully enjoy, it does make it an ideal read for younger readers, especially girls. That makes Rainbow Brite a great tool in expanding the comics-reading audience and showing what the medium can offer to kids enrapt by the worlds of animation and gaming. 7/10