Tag Archives: Finster

MMPR: Shattered Grid: 25 Morphinominal Moments, Part One

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

As promised, here we are. My 25 personal favorite moments from Shattered Grid. Keep in mind, these are subjective and opinion-based. Keep in mind, though, that I’m one of many that’s looking at this series as as life-long (and now officially out of the closet) Power Rangers geek. I might throw in a critique or two…

1. Time Force arrives. (MMPR #25)
Time Force was a series highlight for many a PR fan. It upped the drama and personal stakes, and the characters were a little more sophisticated. So it was hugely gratifying to not only see the Time Force Rangers front and center on the very first page of Shattered Grid, but for Jen to have such a pivotal role. To this day, she’s one of the franchise’s strongest female heroes.

In the above image, the Rangers reference the “other dimensions.” That takes us right into moment two, and my main gripe with Shattered Grid

2. Ninjor’s temple. (MMPR #25)
After Mighty Morphin Power Rangers became Power Rangers Zeo, Ninjor disappeared, never to be seen again. So there’s a feel-good quality to him being around for Shattered Grid. Especially given he’s decent-sized role.

But what puts this moment on the list is the fact that we actually get to see inside Ninjor’s temple, and watch him work his magic. Not that it’s particularly extravagant. But I can appreciate wall-to-wall bookshelves for a legendary wizard figure like this. Literally. Remember, this is supposedly the guy that created the Power Coins.

3. Time is fractured. (MMPR #26)
Seeing Jen in the Command Center was a geek-out moment for me. She’s talking about Time Force, all the Rangers that come after the Mighty Morphin team, and the crisis they’re facing. It’s a great Power Rangers legacy moment.

From a story standpoint, this scene is here so author Kyle Higgins can explain how the event works. How the Morphing Grid has split the timeline into different dimensions to “protect from paradoxes and˚ causality.” Admittedly, it’s a convincing sell job. But what he’s really telling us is that Shattered Grid is structured like a multiverse story. Think Crisis on Infinite Earths for Power Rangers. Again, this is subjective, but I’m a big continuity geek. As far as PR is concerned, I’ve always loved the idea of it being one continuous story with one team leading into the next, albeit indirectly. Shattered Grid almost skims over that element. Still, I don’t hold this idea against Higgins. It’s the simplest way to execute the story, and it allows them to shove in as many Rangers as possible. In the end, that’s what matters.

3. Lord Drakkon gets “samuraized.” (MMPR #26)
As the story progresses, Lord Drakkon gains strength by stealing a morpher from each Ranger team and siphoning the power. This was the first time we actually saw him do it, and his little upgrade came with a costume change. While Drakkon’s costume would get a few little additions in subsequent issues, this has been his look for the majority of Shattered Grid. I like it. It makes him look more distinct, and less like the White Ranger.

Note the appearance of Finster 5 in the above image. Certainly not my favorite creation of the BOOM! comics. But it’s cute.

5. Zordon’s call to action. (MMPR #27)

I mean, c’mon. COME ON…

You’ve got a beautifully constructed montage here, with Drakkon’s forces attacking EIGHT Ranger teams at their respective home bases. Again, an amazing legacy moment, if for no other reason than it’s Zordon at the center of it all. We’ve got the amazing Daniele di Nicuolo on the pencils for MMPR #2530, and he keeps finding new ways to hit it out of the park.

Note the Dino Thunder scene in the upper left hand corner. I’m a little surprised they haven’t paid closer attention to Dino Thunder, as an older Tommy was a part of that season. That’s a hell of a missed opportunity.

Email Rob at PrimaryIgnition@yahoo.com, or follow Primary Ignition on Twitter.

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5 Ludicrous Questions with: Ryan Parrott (Go Go Power Rangers)

***In “5 Ludicrous Questions,” we ask a comic book creator five things we’re pretty sure they haven’t been asked before. I mean, probably…***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Ryan Parrott has written for both the silver screen and the printed page. His movies have been shown at film festivals around the world, including the Cannes International Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival. He’s even directed his own independent feature, Loaded. In the world of comics, we know him from Star Trek and Starfleet Academy. In August, the first issue of Parrott’s new buddy comedy series Volition will hit the stands.

But for now, Parrott has business in the Morphin Grid.

Go Go Power Rangers, one of two PR books published by BOOM! Studios, is changing the way we look at those five ordinary teens we met in the early ’90s. Whether it’s the boyfriend we never knew Kimberly had, Billy’s dilemma about accepting a prestigious internship, or an all out brawl in Rita’s palace, Parrot knows how to bring the drama. That’s more evident now than ever, as Go Go Power Rangers is a big part of BOOM’s “Shattered Grid” event comic.

Parrott was also nice enough to get ludicrous with us. So he’s is a pretty cool guy.

Let’s dive in.

1. In an alternate universe, Kimberly Hart is bitten by a radioactive salad, and becomes Salad Girl. What are Salad Girl’s super powers?

She’d be super healthy, extremely sensible, and tougher than a week-old crouton.

2. David Yost had a great little “cameo” in an issue of Go Go Power Rangers. What other comics do you think he could have a little guest spot in? Maybe we could get him a referee gig in an issue of WWE

I think he could rock an awesome Infinity Gauntlet.

3. You’re tasked with forming a cult. What kind of cult is it, and what are the rules?

I don’t think there are enough movie cults — so maybe the Cult of Die Hard. Tank tops. No shoes. And we only eat stolen Nestle Crunch bars.

4. What does Finster’s workshop smell like? I mean, logically I feel like it smells of clay. But I feel like there’s something else in there too…

Mahogany and self-loathing.

5. Which of these cartoon birds would you be most inclined to have a beer with?

A. Iago the parrot from Aladdin
B. Daffy Duck
C. Toucan Sam from the old Fruit Loops commercials.

Toucan Sam… and the commercials aren’t THAT old.

Email Rob at PrimaryIgnition@yahoo.com, or follow Primary Ignition on Twitter.

A Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Vol. 4 Review – When Zordon Steals the Show

TITLE: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Vol. 4
AUTHORS: Kyle Higgins, Ryan Ferrier
PENCILLERS: Hendry Prasetya, Bachan, Daniel Bayliss. Cover by Goni Montes.
COLLECTS: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #13-16
FORMAT: Softcover
PUBLISHER: BOOM! Studios
PRICE: $16.99
RELEASED: 
October 25, 2017

***WARNING: Spoilers lay ahead.***

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

The first act in the larger story of Lord Drakkon comes to an end in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Vol. 4. Tommy’s evil doppleganger looks great here, and we also get an awesome character spotlight. Overall, this MMPR series still has a big up side. But once we get into issue #16, particularly the last few pages, things start to get rocky.

When we open the book, Tommy and Billy are still trapped in an alternate universe where the Green Ranger remained with Rita Repulsa after the events of “Green With Evil.” This turn of events led to the destruction of the Power Rangers, and Tommy’s rise as the evil Lord Drakkon. Now the Tommy and Billy that we know must join up with a resistance force (led  by familiar faces) to bring Drakkon down. Meanwhile, Jason and the others face Rita and her minions with reduced powers, and without Zordon. And where is Zordon anyway?

We get the answer to that last question in issue #15, and it’s the creative highlight of the book. Zordon has been absent for several issues at this point, so it’s obviously good to check in with him. But this issue goes above and beyond, following him into a rift between the dimensions. We see him meet his counterpart from Drakkon’s world, and how Zordon has continued to play a role in the conflict despite current predicament. More importantly, after witnessing how events have unfolded in this alternate reality, we see him speak from a place of uncertainty. We aren’t always shown that perspective from a wise old sage character like this. It’s an intriguing change up, which in the end cuts to the very heart of who Zordon is.

Daniel Bayliss hits a home run with the pencils, inks, and colors. His renderings of a full-bodied Zordon interacting with the time warp around him, and later his other self, are compelling, gorgeous, and hit the mark emotionally. He also gets to play around with some of the the war sequences we’ve seen in previous issues. We get some familiar images of Rita’s forces in Washington, Drakkon holding the Red Ranger helmet, and a few glorious shots of the Thunderzords. Bayliss can’t come back to the Rangers soon enough.

We closed the previous volume with the reveal of Trini, Bulk, and Aisha (who we know as the future Yellow Ranger) as members of the resistance. Having Aisha show up is a nice bit of fan service. But that’s all it amounts to. I won’t complain about that, considering how much griping I’ve already done about Tommy and Billy seeing things from their future.

For whatever reason, this series is bound and determined to cast the fun-loving Zack as a brooder. We get more of that here. But it’s an alternate version of Zack, who has lost nearly everything and become the leader of the resistance. Given how dark the world around him has grown, I’m alright with this version of Zack being more dour. It even makes for a cool little moment with the canonical Zack toward the end.

This volume also sees Finster create Goldar clones of all builds and sizes to fight against the Rangers. I love this idea. It makes sense. Goldar has failed Rita time and again, so she has Finster “improve” on him. This might have worked as an idea for the show, time and costumes permitting. We even get to see Goldar without his armor on the very first page. I didn’t even know he could take the armor off.

Kyle Higgins deserves a lot of the credit for the more sinister Finster we’ve gotten from the BOOM! books. The crowning example is what we got from Trey Moore and Frazer Irving in the 2017 annual. But the Finster we get in this book has a nice underlying creepiness to him. By comparison, the Finster we got on the show was almost a kind old man at times.

One of the subplots we get in this book involves the Trini of Drakkon’s world coming to grips with seeing Billy, as the Billy of her world died saving her life. If Higgins and Hendry Prasetya are playing at an eventual Billy/Trini romance, they’re doing it in a very subtle manner. The potential romance between Billy and Trini thing is something some of us have been talking about since we were kids. They almost have to address it at some point. Even if it’s just an issue about how they don’t have those kind of feelings for each other. Matters aren’t helped when you consider Prasetya’s strengths are the super-powered action scenes, and not the quiet interpersonal stuff. So one can argue that material isn’t fully maximized.

On the flip side, Prasetya’s fight sequences with a morphed Lord Drakkon are epic in the inevitable good Tommy vs. evil Tommy fight. This is obviously the first time we’ve gotten to see that costume in action. It’s very evocative of classic Power Rangers. The costume is obviously visually similar to the White Ranger suit. Darken is even holding Saba for much of the battle. You can easily hear Jason David Frank’s cheesy “evil” voice when reading some of Drakkon’s dialogue. (“Hello again, Tommy.”)  There’s also a teamwork theme in effect here, which is something that’s remained present for the entire series.

The Yellow Ranger also gets a Battlizer of sorts in issue #16. It comes out of nowhere, but looks cool enough. I also appreciate that it’s Trini who gets it. She was always the most underdeveloped character on the show, and remains that way in the comics. So this is a cool moment for her.

At this point we’ve built this Lord Drakkon story up for four books. Everything has built to this confrontation between the two Tommys, and the Power Rangers finally striking back against Rita’s forces. The ending makes sense. But when I read issue #16 during it’s initial release, I was disappointed. We’d built to those big showdowns for so long, only for them to pass fairly quickly. This felt like it should have been a big, epic finale. The Megazord makes a big comeback against the Goldar clones, and Tommy and Drakkon make some kind of startling discovery about each other that leads into the next phase of the story. Instead the resolution, particularly the bit with the teens back at school, feels very rushed and slapped together. All the right ingredients are there. But we aren’t given enough time with them.

However, I will say that what happens to Drakkon at the very end has the potential to be very interesting…

Our Bulk and Skull back-up stories are no more, now replaced by “The Ongoing Misadventures of Squatt & Baboo.” Like their predecessors, these stories were fairly benign additions to each single issue that are now collected long form. Ryan Ferrier and Bachan set a similar goofy tone. But while the Bulk and Skull stories got old after just a few issues, I somehow find Squatt and Baboo’s adventures a little more palatable. Perhaps it’s because they got a fraction of the screen time Bulk and Skull did, so there’s a refreshing quality to them getting the spotlight here. The collective story is about them visiting an alternate dimension and running into Goldar. It’s mildly amusing, and Bachan has a cool take on our “heroes.”

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Vol. 4 has a few more problems than the previous volumes do. But all the elements that make the series great are still there. Namely, Higgins’ willingness to write an objectively silly concept in a more serious and dramatic voice, Hendry Prasetya’s awesome work on the words and costumes, and the added depth injected into the characters. For Power Rangers fans young and old, this series remains a must-read.

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A Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 2017 Annual Review – Growing Up

TITLE: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 2017 Annual
AUTHOR: Kyle Higgins, Tom Taylor, Jamal Campbell, Trey Moore, Caitlin Kittredge
PENCILLERS: Goni Montes, Dan Mora, Campbell, Frazer Irving, Da Jung Lee. Cover by Montes.
PUBLISHER: BOOM! Studios
PRICE: $7.99
RELEASED: May 31, 2017

***WARNING: Spoilers lay ahead.***

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

I read a review not long ago, entitled: “You can’t force the things you loved as a kid to grow up with you.” It was in reference to the new Power Rangers movie. But the same idea can obviously apply to the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series from BOOM! Studios.

But perhaps certain things grow up better than others.

Last its predecessor last yearMighty Morphin Power Rangers 2017 Annual contains several short stories. What stuck with me after I closed this issue was how relatively mature it felt. Certainly by Power Rangers standards. Mind you, as a ’90s kid I’m inevitably biased here. I make no bones about that. But I think what this annual highlights more than anything is that MMPR can indeed work when played straight as a teenage superhero book. And it can work in a number of ways. You can go the moody teen angst route. You can approach it like a young adult novel. You can even go flat out dark. There’s something to be said for looking at these characters and this world through different lenses. Especially when you’re trying to play to readers that grew up with the show. The BOOM! that way before. This story also makes Rita look delightfully cunning, manipulative, and that much more wicked. I didn’t recognize Goni Montes’ work at first. I’d never seen him work in this style before. Those amazing helmet variant covers for MMPR #1 are still plastered into my brain. I have yet to get tired of his work on this book.

The next story, focused on the Yellow Ranger’s day off being interrupted by Goldar, is a preview of sorts for a second monthly MMPR title called Go Go Power Rangers. Series artist Dan Mora has a manga-influenced, animated style that should be a lot of fun. Author Tom Taylor (InjusticeAll-New Wolverine) isn’t on Go Go Power Rangers, but he’s perfectly serviceable here. Much better than his work on Justice League/Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, that’s for sure.

The clumsily titled “Forever Mighty Morpin Black” is next, written and illustrated by MMPR‘s regular cover artist Jamal Campbell. As both a continuity buff and a Power Rangers geek, this was a real treat. In the distant future, Adam Park, who succeeded Zack as the Black Ranger, returns to the ruins of the Command Center. He calls for help across time and space from other incarnations of the Black Ranger. What follows is a feast for the eyes, as variations of Zack and Adam arrive to fight off a monster. It’s essentially an Easter egg hunt for PR fans, as you spot all the little details and nods Campbell has sprinkled in.

But having heaped all this praise upon this issue,  it’s Trey Moore (Rachel Rising) and Frazer Irving that really steal the show. Seeing Irving doing PR is surreal to begin with. But in this context, it works. In last year’s annual, Moore gave us Goldar’s origin story. This year we get Finster’s. Moore and Irving give us what is essentially the first Power Rangers horror story. We see that at his core he’s an artist longing for inspiration, but he finds it and justifies it in the worst way imaginable. When he later is recruited by Rita to make monsters using a mystical, life-granting clay, he searches for vindication by attempting to resurrect someone he lost to his own selfishness.

There’s a haunting quality to this story that’s brilliant. I’m hesitant to say much more, for fear of taunting the big pay-off. But these eight-pages are among the creative highlights of BOOM’s run with the PR license. It’s that good. If you’re an older fan, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

My one nitpick with it? Finster’s line (shown above): “I’m not a bad person!” That struck me as awkward. It feels like it should have been “I’m not evil” or something.

The issue ends with a more cartoony tale about Goldar and Scorpina getting a day off. It’s more akin to a Bulk and Skull story. Goldar is able to disguise himself with human clothes and a baseball cap. It’s a hard swerve to go from the Finster story to this one. But it’s fine. This kind of stuff obviously has it’s place. Heck, this material is arguably more faithful to the tone of the television show.

A year later, I still have really fond memories of last year’s MMPR Annual. I don’t doubt that a year from now, I’ll still have fond memories of this one. It’s no accident that we’ve gotten things like a spin-off miniseries, and a second series in Go Go Power Rangers. BOOM! is producing quality. Not just quality nostalgia, either. Pure and simple quality.

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