Cbr15bingo nostalgia, bingo
This 2013 graphic novel would fit a number of categories for bingo, but given its overall message, I am using it for “nostalgia.” Rainbow in the Dark takes place in a world that looks like ours but that has been taken over by a dark force called the Gloom. The people are unaware that they are in its grip until a band of warriors frees them. Their response to that freedom is what drives the narrative forward and makes the story relevant to our current time.
The protagonist of this novel is Donna White, a teen from a typical family. Mom and dad are successful career-driven people and older sister Becky is a hard working college student. Donna is … different. She discovers that she can see monsters — vivid colorful evil creatures in the black and white world she inhabits. She also sees a band of young heroic warriors whose purpose is to save any children who can see the monsters and to fight said monsters. They realize Donna is one of them and whisk her away to their camp. Donna is amazed — this new world is colorful and full of amazing selfless people who believe in the power of the individual. Donna learns they are part of a world-wide movement to defeat the Gloom, and she discovers that she has fallen in love with Raina, the beautiful kick-ass warrior who saved her. Meanwhile, the malevolent forces behind the Gloom, hideous creatures called Veratu, know that their enemies are gaining strength. Donna has a special connection to the chief Veratu (very Harry Potter/Voldemort) and will ultimately have a showdown with it for the sake of humanity.
Nostalgia is an important theme in this story. At the beginning, when the Gloom is exposed to the people living under it, the warriors expect that the worst is over. Surely, the people will be thrilled with their new found freedom and the truth being exposed. This, however, is not the case. While many people are grateful and astounded by the beautiful new world, others, including Donna’s mother, long for the old days when society was ordered and predictable. They resent what Donna, Raina and the others have done and try to move backwards to restore order. At the same time, there is also some unease amongst the warriors. Raina in particular is having a hard time adjusting to a world where fighting is not her full time occupation. She has spent her whole life as a fighter and struggles to adjust to the new world she helped usher in.
Rainbow in the Dark is chock full of messages of “peace, love and understanding,” and characters frequently quote music lyrics to each other. John Lennon’s “Imagine” has an important place here. It may come across as kind of “hippy dippy” but I found myself liking the overall message of the power of the individual, of the need to resist forces of darkness and conformity, and the idea that those forces — as strong as they might seem — are actually doomed to fail in the long run. I also liked the art in this book. Both Comfort Love and Adam Withers contributed to the drawing as well as doing the writing. The Gloom is drawn in black, white and gray, while the freed world is in full vibrant color. Characters have their own distinctive looks and the bad guys/monsters are suitable creepy. Rainbow in the Dark would be fine for teens and older and seems like a good read for anyone who needs a little encouragement during our own gloomy times.