Rainbow Brite #1

Writer: Jeremy Whitley
Artist: Brittney Williams
Colorist: Valentina Pinto
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Cover Artist: Paulina Ganucheau, Tony Fleecs
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment

Review by Cameron Keiffer

An 80’s icon has returned to bring a little color back into the world of comics with Rainbow Brite #1.

Our story begins with the adventurous and imaginative duo Wisp and Willow, two best friends fighting an army of ferocious orcs.  At least, that’s what they’re pretending to do.  In reality, they’re engaged in a pretty epic LARPing session, with Willow and Wisp portraying wizard and warrior, respectively.  Unbeknownst to them, however, an evil force beyond their imagination is about to make its presence known and their lives will never be the same.

Sound intense?  Don’t worry, there’s plenty of fun to be had in this debut issue.  Writer Jeremy Whitley is known for developing likable, captivating young women in books like Princeless and The Unstoppable Wasp and our girls here are no exception.  Willow and Wisp have such a great dynamic, not just with each other, but with Willow’s family as well; her parents are both encouraging of their creativity and willing to participate, albeit begrudgingly.  This is an odd contrast to Wisp’s home life, as we see in the latter half of the issue as she returns home to her mother crashed on the couch.  There’s definitely some turbulence in their relationship but exactly what that is looks to be a story for another day.  There’s something sad going on beneath the surface, and I’m intrigued to know more.

This opening chapter sets the tone for a “friends having adventures” type story and includes plenty of action and character moments, but it’s a tad early to determine where everything is actually going.  Rather than diving into the mythology of the characters and pulling back to develop the backstory, this issue serves as mostly set-up for the larger narrative.  The title character doesn’t even make an appearance!  The issue also spends a lot of time with Willow’s character, although from my quick wiki search, she doesn’t appear to be related to any character in the mythos and it’s hard to say what her role may be going forward.  The latter half of the issue shifts the focus to Wisp and her discovery of the aforementioned evil force, as well as a familiar character named Twink.  Yes, the popular Sprite makes his first appearance and serves as our exposition for the duration of this chapter.

While we have yet to see the full range of color, the art by Brittany Williams is absolutely gorgeous.  Her cartoony style is a perfect fit for this franchise and her seemingly simple illustrations are complex and full of emotion.  If you’ve seen her work in books like Goldie Vance or Patsy Walker: Hellcat, you may know what to expect ,but Williams is churning out career-defining work in this issue alone.  The colors by Valentina Pinto accentuate Williams’ art and really make every panel pop.  Color will be an important element in this series going forward, and the artistic team is only getting started.  The lettering by Taylor Esposito matches the tone and the humor of the dialogue perfectly; everything in this book is just plain beautiful.

The Verdict: Buy it.

While this first issue is a bit of a slow burn, there’s plenty to enjoy!  Whitley puts a tremendous amount of heart in this soft reboot of the beloved 80’s franchise.  The cliffhanger ending does point an arrow in the direction of the series, and definitely makes me want to read what happens next.  Our heroines are creative, innocent, and fun, which is the perfect description for this series so far and exactly the type of book we need more of in these often dark, colorless times.

Cameron Kieffer
Cameron Kieffer wears many hats. He is a freelance writer and artist, creator of the webcomic "Geek Theory" and is co-host of the Nerd Dump podcast. He lives in Topeka with his wife and increasingly growing comic book collection.

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