Remember Visionaries: Knights Of The Magical Light? It’s okay if you don’t, not a lot of people do. The property debuted in 1987 with toys, a comic book, and a cartoon series, but then rapidly faded away before briefly popping back into the cultural consciousness as one of the brands being incorporated into Paramount’s Hasbro Cinematic Universe. The Hollywood bump is all it takes to pull a property out of obscurity, and IDW is showing what an updated Visionaries might look like by bringing it back in comics. December’s Visionaries Vs. Transformers pits a forgotten property against one of the world’s biggest, and IDW is making a smart move introducing this new version of Visionaries by attaching it to a far more popular franchise.
Even smarter is teaming Magdalene Visaggio, writer of the Eisner Award-nominated Kim & Kim, with artist Fico Ossio to put their own fresh spin on the characters as they introduce them on the Transformers’ home planet of Cybertron. “”As someone who grew up on a host of Hasbro/Sunbow animated shows, I’m very excited to help revive Visionaries for modern audiences,” says Visaggio. We’ve worked hard to keep it fresh enough for new readers, but faithful enough to the source material for old fans. It has all the same scheming wizards, dastardly villains, and flawed heroes of the original, but with a stunning new twist.” Ossio adds: “I’m very excited to be working on Visionaries and teaming up with Mags and [editor] Sarah [Gaydos]! Happy to be able to update them for a new generation! Mags’ script is really great and I can’t wait to have them stand against the Transformers.”
Ossio has gained a deep understanding of IDW’s Hasbro comics universe as the artist on the Revolution and Revolutionaries crossover series, but he’s mostly working with set character designs in those book and doesn’t get to show off the full range of his creativity. Because the Visionaries characters aren’t nearly as popular, he has the freedom to bring more of his own distinct style into their new designs, and these exclusive character models highlight his ability to combine futuristic tech elements into classic armor pieces that have a distinct silhouette.
The helmets evoke the head shape of each knight’s totem animal, one of many little touches that connect the knights with their animals throughout the designs. There’s also a shot of what that totem transformation looks like; seeing a spiky lion with two sharp tusks crackling with electricity makes me want to see what Visionaries would look on the big screen, because Ossio makes it look damn cool on paper. Readers can discover this new era for the franchise when Visionaries Vs. Transformers goes on sale December 27, but in the meantime, here’s an exclusive first look at covers and concept designs for the new series.