Hasbro’s Visionaries line of toys and promotional tie-ins including an animated series and a comic were, not particularly successful the first time around. The full title for the Visionaries line was Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light which sounds more like a Final Fantasy spin-off than a Hasbro toy line. But the toy line actually pre-dates the original Final Fantasy so my snark is sadly not accurate this time around. The Visionaries line was originally released between September 21 and December 14 of 1987. The first Final Fantasy was released on December 18, 1987. So if anything this just proves that late-80s creatives were strapped for ideas and living in a drug-induced haze of an economic boom.
The original Visionaries comic book series was published by Star Comics and came with a half-hour animated television series made by Sunbow Productions all within the same release window. The toyline was not very successful, which led to both the series and the comic being cancelled after short runs. The comic lasted only 6 issues, and was cancelled halfway through a four-part storyline. The animated series lasted one season of 13 episodes, and was not picked up for a second, possibly because all Sunbow cartoons came to an end after The Transformers’ season 4 three-parter “The Rebirth”, and G.I. Joe: The Movie, when Sunbow lost its contract and did not get it renewed.
But because nostalgia is the name of the game in 2017, where we’re all sick of watching unique ideas fail and would rather waste money on anything that existed before 1999, IDW Comics is going to be producing a Visionaries comic. We don’t know a whole lot about the project, other than the fact that it was announced today at San Diego Comic Con. And that the creative team will consist of Magdalene Visaggio and Fico Ossio. Really, all we have is this tweet to go off:
— IDW Publishing (@IDWPublishing) July 20, 2017
So we’ll update you as we hear more. But for now, here’s a short story synopsis for those of you who never got into Visionaries in the first place, or were born too late to know of the franchise.
The Visionaries story is set on the planet Prysmos, which houses an advanced society where all electronics and complex machinery no longer function and the people are forced to rely on the old magics. Because that’s the basic fantasy premise anyhow. The Visionaries consist of two groups of knights — the Spectral Knights and the Darkling Lords. Everyone who wishes to gain magic is invited to a competition by the wizard, Merklynn. Not to be confused with his better-known on-brand counterpart, Merlin. After surviving traps, dangerous creatures, and each other, survivors on both sides are rewarded. The front plate of their armor is embedded with unique animal totems, which they can turn into. The animals were selected by Merklynn based on their personalities or abilities they exhibited during the competition.
There was also a thing about some knights having staffs with magic abilities and those without getting cool animal-like vehicles. Because stealing from Super Sentai was always a good idea, you know.
And then comes the usual dark vs light shenanigans and predictable 80s character tropes.
Hopefully this new version will be a little more unique.