In 1987 Hasbro released a line of action figures called Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light. The figures were similar to G.I. Joes in articulation, but were slightly bigger in size. The biggest draw in my opinion though, was the inclusion of Hologram technology into each figure, weapon and vehicle created for this action figure line.
The toys were broken into two factions the Spectral Knights (good guys) and the Darkling Lords (bad guys). These two sides were granted special powers by the all-powerful magician Merklynn, not to be confused with his more successful cousin Merlyn.
As the legend goes, after each knight completed a competition consisting of traps, creatures and face to face combat, the knights were given their special Visionary powers! These magical powers gave the knights special abilities including the power to turn into their totem animal form! I never knew that!
Sounds pretty cool right? Well, I thought so. I did have the majority of these toys as a kid, but it wasn't until they were clearance for around $1 each at Kay-Bee Toys! My Mom was always on the lookout for great buys and these toys were a great buy! When Visionaries were released in 1987 the price point was a bit steeper than other toys on the rack due to the inclusion of all the Holograms on the figures. This may have partially led to the demise of this toy line. Another reason could have been the competition with other Hologram based lines like Supernaturals.
Obviously there were some set backs with this toy line, but once myself and my brother added these Magical Knights to our collection, they became a favorite. Like I said earlier, they were similar to G.I. Joe figures and like G.I. Joe the Visionaries had some sweet rides including the Capture Chariot and Sky Claw!
Even though the toyline failed and only 12 figures and 4 vehicles were produced, Hasbro put a lot of effort behind it. They had Marvel produce a 6 issue comic series...
and Sunbow Entertainment produced a 13 episode cartoon program. With these resources behind them Hasbro expected another smash hit on their hands. Unfortunately that never happened and the Visionaries faded into 80s toy obscurity. It's kinda sad, because these were actually some pretty great toys that I enjoyed as a kid. That's why I was so excited to hear that they were being resurrected by IDW publishing in the Transformers vs. Visionaries comic mini series!
I have read the first 2 issues and I have to say...Its actually pretty good. There are some unexpected twists and the Visionaries use there animal totem powers to fight each other over their new home on Cybertron! That's right the Visionaries are taking up residence in the home of the Transformers and some people are not happy about these circumstances. My only issue is that this series picks up where the IDW First Strike mini finished off, which I didn't read and left me confused in some parts. The comic does an okay job of recapping events and I can't wait to see where this one goes Hopefully the popularity of this mini-series will lead to an all new Visionaries ongoing comic by IDW? Only time will tell. I'm just glad to see this forgotten toy line back in the spotlight or should I say...Magical Light? Terrible, I know! Now enjoy a clip from the first episode of Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light!