Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #101 Micro-Review – A Fresh Start?

***This is where we keep it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 101, cover, 2022, Mateus ManhaniniTITLE: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #101
AUTHOR: Melissa Flores
ARTISTS:
Simona Di Gianfelice, Raul Angulo (Colorist), Ed Dukeshire (Letterer). Cover by Mateus Manhanini.

RELEASED: October 26, 2022

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’m coming back to BOOM’s MMPR stuff after being away for a little while. I was hoping for a fresh start. I’d say I got about half of one, which I’ll take.

Simona Di Gianfelice takes to the Rangers and their world very well. Her fight sequences have a nice energy to them, and her villains look suitably menacing. Except in the case of Goldar, who in this issue we see in a terrified state. Now that’s something different.

Two other things in this issue that are different: Dragonzord in flying mode, and the Rangers paintballing. I dig both.

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Power Rangers Dino Fury, “Morphin Master” Review

Green Morphin Master, Power Rangers Dino Fury, Morphin MasterSERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury

EPISODE: S29:E15 – “Morphin Master”
STARRING: Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Tessa Rao, Chance Perez, Jordan Fite
WRITERS: Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Maiya Thompson
DIRECTOR: Chris Graham
PREMIERE DATE: September 29, 2022

SYNOPSIS: The Green Morphin Master aids the Rangers against Lord Zedd.

New around here? Check out the Power Rangers review archive!

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This episode drops a couple of big-picture bombs on us in terms of the larger PR universe. Let’s start with the Green Morphin Master saying that without the Morphin Grid, life cannot exist. That’s a pretty big proclamation. I was always under the impression that the Grid was something the Morphin Masters built themselves eons ago. It was once described to me by a superfan as: “The Force, if somebody built the Force.” Heck, back in Operation Overdrive we saw someone actually go in to the Morphin Grid.

So…something that sustains life in the universe? I don’t get it.

Moments later, we get the revelation that the Green Morphin Master was responsible for contacting Jason in “Grid Connection,” as well as summoning all the past Ranger teams in “Legendary Battle.” First of all, the fact that the episode spends so much time diving into continuity details like this speaks volumes as to the care being put into Dino Fury, and the affection its creators have for PR as a whole. I’m blown away.

Power Rangers Super Megaforce, Legendary Battle

Secondly, it’s awesome to get an explanation for how/why the past Ranger teams were summoned in the Super Megaforce finale. The added detail of the Rangers teleporting in balls of light in “Rafkon Revealed,” just as all the former Rangers did in “Legendary Battle,” is an attention to detail we rarely see on this show.

But one question remains…did the Green Morphin Master permanently restore all their powers? Or was this a one-shot deal? It seems like the latter is the case, otherwise she wouldn’t have needed to send the Tyrannosaurus Power Coin to Jason in “Grid Connection.” That notion is a little bit of a downer for me, as my own little head-canon had it that she restored all their powers. That would have easily explained how some of the past Rangers we saw in the show’s 25th anniversary episode, “Dimensions in Danger,” got their powers back…

It’s implied in this episode that the Green Morphin Master has interfered at a bunch of points in Power Rangers history, providing aid to teams who’ve needed it. I like that…to an extent. It could potentially explain some plot holes.

But at the same time, I’m not necessarily a fan of all Power Ranger teams having a “big brother” figure who can swoop in at the last minute as a deus ex machina. It lowers the stakes considerably if she can just wave a magic wand and save the day, just as she does with Zedd in this episode.

Rafkon destroyed, Power Rangers Dino Fury, Morphin Master

In stealing the Sporix Generator for himself, Zedd’s forces disrupt Rafkon’s planet core, causing it to explode. Granted, the planet is uninhabited at the time. So there’s no loss of life. But still, Zedd blows up a planet!

And not for the first time! Way back in “The Power Transfer,” Zedd used Serpentera to destroy the unnamed “deserted planet.” That planet, as the name suggests, was also uninhabited.

Lord Zedd, destroyer of (deserted) worlds! It does have a certain ring to it…

Zayto’s to Zedd: “Couldn’t let you destroy two planets today, Zedd.” I don’t like that line. It hits wrong. It almost makes light of the fact that Zayto just saw his homeworld blow up. Bad form.

Come to think of it, Dino Fury, and modern PR as a whole, has a problem with inappropriately placed humor. The best example of that you’ll ever find is in that same scene Zayto has the “two planets” line. Aiyon calls Zedd a chicken, and then goes “Moo.” It supposed to be a dramatic confrontation, as they’re coming face to face with Zedd after he friggin’ blew up their home planet. But it’s punctuated by a weird joke about animal noises.

As I make this comparison, I understand that Dino Fury isn’t Mighty Morphin, and that kids shows are done differently all these years later. But remember in “Return of an Old Friend, Part I” when Goldar blackmails the Rangers into giving up their Power Coins in exchange for their parents? And then he doesn’t live up to his end of the bargain? That’s a dramatic, scary scene. Especially for kids. It’s well assembled, and well performed.

Aiyon, Izzy, Javi, Power Rangers Dino Fury, Morphin Master

Now, imagine that same scene with a random animal noise joke. It would have killed all the tension. That’s what Aiyon’s line does to this confrontation with Zedd.

The Rangers’ new Dino Master Saber allows Aiyon to shift into Dino Master Mode, complete with a spiffy black cape. Considering they’re superheroes, it’s kind of amazing we haven’t seen more capes in almost 30 years of this franchise. Mystic Force notwithstanding, of course.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Astonishing Art: MMPR by Raptor Ranger

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’m not really a fan of “dark” takes on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Certainly there’s a portion of the fandom that enjoys it, but it’s never really been my cup of tea…

Still, great art speaks for itself. And that’s exactly what we get from Raptor Ranger here. I’ve got a soft spot for season one Goldar, and the dark look definitely suits him. Especially with the glowing red eyes. Raptor Ranger definitely depicts him as someone you wouldn’t want to run into in a dark alley.

Also, note the little Easter egg on the far right. That little “Broom Beetle” poster is a nod to the season two episode, “The Beetle Invasion.”

MMPR, Goldar, Raptor Ranger

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Toy Chest Theater: Goldar in the City

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

There’s just something about Goldar. The gold armor, the fierce face, the broad wings, the big sword, that scary voice from Kerrigan Mahan. When you put it all together, it made for one of the most intimidating and formidable villains in Power Rangers history. And he wasn’t even one of the main villains!

Panoramic Toys presents us with this great shot of Goldar making his way through (presumably) Angel Grove as the sun sets over the city. That lighting is what really makes the image. It sets a sort of mood and tone one might not normally associate with Power Rangers.

Goldar, Panoramic Toys

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Toy Chest Theater: Goldar by Josh Wentworth

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Depending on where in the world you live, Goldar (or at least a rough imitation of Goldar) recently popped up in Power Rangers Beast Morphers. The footage is available on YouTube, for those of you who haven’t seen it. Austin St. John makes a guest appearance as Jason, the original Red Ranger. So it’s worth it for that alone.

Goldar’s re-emergence of sorts inspired me to post this shadowy image from Josh Wentworth. If they’d had the means, or even the desire to make Goldar look this cool on the original series, I imagine this is how he would have entered the Dark Dimension. You know, that enclosed smoky setting out in space? A setting in which we originally saw him fight, ironically enough, Jason.

Very much worth noting is the fact that this is a customized Lightning Collection Goldar (see the above image for reference). I hate to say it, but Wentworth’s paint job actually makes the original figure look that much more…well, plastic. In our little world, that’s not always an insult. But in this case, a darker Goldar is definitely an upgrade.

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Weekly Comic 100s: Power Rangers Double Feature, Spider-Woman #1, and More!

***”Weekly Comic 100s” keeps it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

No comic shop for me this week. These were strictly digital purchases. Thank God for Comixology.The irony in all of this is that it feels like the prologue for a story you’d read in a comic book…

TITLE: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4 (of 5)
AUTHOR:
Ryan Parrott
ARTISTS:
Simone di Meo, Alessio Zonno, Walter Baiamonte (Colorist), Igor Monti (Color Assistant), Ed Dukeshire (Letterer). Cover by Dan Mora.
RELEASED:
March 18, 2020

You knew it was inevitable. You can’t have this story without somehow getting the Turtles into Ranger costumes. That being said those outfits are pretty goofy. Granted, the premise itself is goofy. And they look about as good as they were ever going to. But even by Power Ranger/Ninja Turtle standards…goofy as hell.

As I’ve said previously, pretty paint-by-numbers team-up stuff here. The TMNT characters do Power Rangers stuff, and vice versa. Shredder and Rita are still the best part. I’m guessing they’re already planning on a sequel, as we get a pretty obvious hint.

TITLE: Go Go Power Rangers #30
AUTHOR:
Ryan Parrott, Sina Grace
ARTISTS:
Francesco Mortarino, Raul Angulo (Colorist), Ed Dukeshire (Letterer). Cover by Eleonora Carlini.
RELEASED:
March 11, 2020

A solid issue. But why is Finster creating monsters for Zedd? On the show he was pretty much on the shelf until Rita came back. Why isn’t Zedd just doing it himself?

I’m liking these Goldar, Squatt, and Baboo scenes we’ve been getting in both the main book and in Go Go. It brings back fond memories from season one.

As we move closer to the end (*sniff*), I can only assume Rocky, Adam, and Aisha will pop up soon. If for nothing else than a cameo in the final issue.

TITLE: Spider-Woman #1
AUTHOR:
Karla Pacheco
ARTISTS:
Pere Perez, Paulo Siqueira, Oren Junior (Inker), Frank D’Armata (Colorist), Travis Lanham (Letterer). Cover by Junggeun Yoon.
RELEASED:
March 18, 2020

I’ve never read Karla Pacheco before. But in this book I’m getting a Bendis type vibe from her. That’s not a bad thing. As I recall, Bendis did alright in the Spider-Verse…

Our main story is about Jessica fighting a mysterious illness as she’s trying to protect a rich socialite from being kidnapped. It’s a lot of fun, though I’m partial to the back-up, which goes into how she got the job, and why she’s wearing a different costume for it. Why? Because she goes to a store called “Big Ronnie’s Custom Battle Spandex.”

That. Is. Brilliant.

TITLE: BANG! #2
AUTHOR:
Matt Kindt
ARTISTS:
Wilfredo Torres, Nayoung Kim (Colorist), Nate Piekos (Letterer)
RELEASED: March 18, 2020

BANG! was definitely the most fun book in my stack this week. What we have here is a series that isn’t afraid to revel in action movie tropes and cliches. But beneath the surface there’s something more serious with a lot of intrigue. I’ve officially got high hopes.

This month we meet a new hero, John Shaw, who’s looks like he’s based off John McClane. He gets in the middle of a massacre on a speeding train masterminded by a would-be Bond villain with a disfigured face and a speech impediment shamelessly played for laughs. Yup. I’m all in.

TITLE: Batman #91
AUTHOR:
James Tynion IV
ARTISTS:
Rafael Albuquerque, Jorge Jimenez, Carlo Pagulayan, Danny Miki, Tomeu Morey (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer)
RELEASED:
March 18, 2020

Amidst all the chaos in this issue, the most interesting exchange is between Batman and Deathstroke. Our hero talks about the stakes in his war on crime constantly being raised. He’s almost pleading with Slade, saying that “you people,” i.e. supervillains, need to step aside so he can save Gotham.

Deathstroke gives the correct response, which is ,”You escalated first.”

This is an interesting scene to juxtapose with everything happening with the Designer, the Joker, Catwoman, etc.

We’re six issues into Tynion’s run, and Batman is still firing on all cylinders. Lord knows, I’m still along for the ride…

TITLE: Something is Killing the Children #6
AUTHOR: James Tynion IV
ARTISTS: Werther Dell’Edera, Miquel Muerto (Colorist), Andworld Design (Letters)
RELEASED:
March 18, 2020

As we close this issue we get another glimpse of “the Order,” a bunch of folks in suits who all wear bandanas like Erica. I nice, cryptic little scene with a little glimpse into Erica’s past.

They did a nice job of spreading the layouts over two pages this month. The panels go left to right, then down, then left and right, almost like words in a paragraph. It’s not necessarily a rare thing. But I really dug the execution here.

TITLE: Marvels X #3
AUTHORS: Alex Ross, Jim Krueger
ARTISTS: Well-Bee, Cory Petit (Letterer). Cover by Ross.
RELEASED: March 18, 2020

There’s a line in here about Reed Richards being blamed for a global pandemic. That one hits home right about now…

They apparently felt the need to re-emphasize David’s importance. They hammer the whole “He could save us all!” thing home so much in this issue it becomes grating. I would also argue David’s plucky fanboy shtick is getting old.

Still, a fairly enjoyable outing. Well-Bee draws a hell of a Spider-Man. I also noticed the touch of gray he added to Peter Parker’s hair. Ironically, it makes him look like Reed Richards.

TITLE: Hotell #1 (of 4)
AUTHOR:
John Lees
ARTISTS:
Dalibor Talajic, Lee Loughridge (Colorist), Sal Cipriano (Letterer). Cover by Kaare Andrews
RELEASED:
March 18, 2020

Hotell feels like a horror book with self-contained stories, a la Tales From the Crypt or The Twilight Zone. I’m not quite sure if that’s what it’ll end up being, especially with only four issues. But that’s what it feels like.

While it tends to suffer from the kind of awkward dialogue you often get in newer indie comics, Hotell surprised me with its ability to create a genuine sense of fear and dread that few comics do. If this is your cup of tea, I highly recommend it.

But be warned. It earns its Mature rating in spades.

TITLE: Star Wars #4
AUTHOR:
Charles Soule
ARTISTS:
Jesus Saiz, Arif Prianto & Rachelle Rosenburg (Colorists), Clayton Cowles (Letterer). Cover by R.B. Silva and Guru-eFX.
RELEASED:
March 18, 2020

In regard to Luke, Leia, and Lando returning to Bespin, the solicitation for this issue tells us, “Things did not go well for the trio the last time they visited this place.”

You mean a few days ago? Hell, Luke is basically wearing the same clothes. Because for some reason the heroes in this book are complete idiots.

Luke digs through mountains of garbage to find his lightsaber. Leia has gotten herself frozen. But don’t worry! If you’ve only been frozen for a little while, you can be thawed out and be completely alert with no side effects!

Friggin’ stupid.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter, or email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com.

Panels of Awesomeness: Go Go Power Rangers #9

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

CREATORS: Ryan Parrott (Author), Dan Mora (Penciller/Inker) Raul Angulo (Colorist), Ed Dukeshire (Letterer)

THE SCENE: The Power Rangers morph into action to take on Goldar and the Putty Patrol.

WHY THEY’RE AWESOME: Go Go Power Rangers is always near the top of my stack. That’s due in large part to the work of Dan Mora and Raul Angulo. I don’t even know if we deserve a team of artists as good as they are…

To wit, I’ve pulled two selections from this week’s Go Go Power Rangers #9. The first is the  five-way shot you see above. I like the concept of this one more than the actual execution. The center point for the gutters is in between the eyes. Thus, the way the image is framed you get a lot more of Zack and Billy than you do the others. Jason is almost boxed out. But it’s still a neat way to play with the page layout and spice up the morphing sequence.

The second is a close-up shot of the Red Ranger and Goldar in battle. Firstly, Mora’s take on Goldar has been spectacular from the get-go. He emphasizes the character’s simian side without making him look like a big hulking gorilla. I love the emphasis on the fangs. Goldar always looks much more agile when Mora draws him. That approach makes sense, as he’s supposed to be a warrior.

(Also, don’t skip on the level of detail Mora puts into the Red Ranger helmet, including Goldar’s reflection in the visor.)

This issue is tied into the big “Shattered Grid” crossover. That story has no shortage of life and death stakes. But Ryan Parrott nonetheless takes time to inject levity into the proceedings. He pokes a little fun at the standard Power Rangers “monster attack” formula in this issue. This panel gives us the most notable instance, not to mention the funniest. Of course, it’s a reference to the cliche that the “definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Keep in mind how many times we saw Goldar and the putties attack the Rangers over the years.

If you’re picking up this issue (and you should), look for MMPR‘s resident school teacher Miss Appleby early on. Parrott gives her a couple of funny lines.

Go Go Power Rangers #9 is out now from BOOM! Studios. It’s also available online via Comixology.

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 Go Go Power Rangers #1 Review – Scaling the Palace Walls

TITLE: Go Go Power Rangers #1
AUTHOR: Ryan Parrott
PENCILLER: Dan Mora
PUBLISHER: BOOM! Studios
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: July 26, 2017

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

There’s a reason it’s taken 20 years for us to get quality Power Rangers comic books. So many of today’s creators grew up with the show and have a special fondness for it. As such, this campy TV show that so many have dismissed as mindless fluff is now being shown an unprecedented amount of love and respect. You can see it in both the broad strokes and the smaller details.

Case in point, the first few pages of Go Go Power Rangers #1 takes us back to the events of the show’s premiere episode, “Day of the Dumpster.” The climactic point in the episode sees the Megazord take on Rita Repulsa’s henchman Goldar for the first time. In the end, Goldar retreats. He insists, “This isn’t over! I’ll be back!” With that, he throws his forearm horizontally across his chest and vanishes.

There’s a panel on one of those early pages that depicts that same line and pose (shown below). As a lifelong PR fan, little things like that make me so happy. It shows me our creative team is as passionate about this as I am. You don’t always get that with a licensed book like this. But when you do, it can be a beautiful thing.

Spinning out of the success of BOOM’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers title, Go Go Power Rangers kicks off at the tail end of “Day of the Dumpster.” Our five young heroes are adjusting to their new lives as superheroes. But before the battle lines are completely drawn in this ongoing battle with Rita, the Rangers take the fight straight to her doorstep. To save the astronauts that accidentally freed the evil empress, our heroes storm her moon palace head on. They wanted a fight. Now they’ve got one.

Go Go Power Rangers is apparently aiming to be more character-focused than its sister series, with a stronger balance between teenage drama and superheroics. This issue has an extremely positive indicator in that respect. Unlike virtually every other PR story from BOOM!, Go Go Power Rangers gets Zack right.

For some reason, both MMPR and Justice League/MMPR have often portrayed the Black Ranger as a sort of introspective brooder. I understand tweaking these characters for a modern audience. But that approach is the polar opposite of the Zack character. He was always warm, fun-loving, and enthusiastic. Ryan Parrott is the first writer I’ve seen at BOOM! who really taps into the spirit of Zack. I give him credit for that. But I can’t help but wonder why it took this long…

We also get an early morning scene with Jason training before school. It’s designed to give us a little bit of Jason’s background, and that’s all well and good. But I just like seeing him be so tireless and hardworking. It’s similar to what Kyle Higgins and Rod Reis were so successful with on their portion of MMPR Annual 2016.

This issue introduces us to a character named Matt Cook (shown below). He’s in the circle of friends with Jason and the others. But he obviously has no idea they’re superheroes. Matt also happens to be Kimberly’s boyfriend. By all indications he’s a good egg like the others. I almost feel sorry for him. He’s clearly about to be boxed out of the group. Sorry, dude. We can’t all be Tommy Oliver.

As a kid, I always wondered why the Rangers never took the Wizard of Oz approach and attacked Rita at her palace. It looks like this opening story is going to show us why. Mind you, it’s not simply an ambush. They’re trying to rescue the two astronauts we saw in “Day of the Dumpster.” In over two decades, it never occurred to me that those two could have been captured. It seems really obvious in retrospect.

When the team teleports directly in front of the palace, they’re met by an army (literally an army) of Putties. And of course, they later have Rita and Goldar to contend with. Dan Mora, along with colorist Raul Angulo, show us both the interior and exterior of the palace from a bunch of different angles. This includes the gloriously ludicrous neon “Bandora Palace” sign.

I was very impressed with what Dan Mora showed us in MMPR Annual 2017, and I’m still impressed now. Mora’s teens are much more expressive and animated than we’re used to seeing in MMPR. But his action sequences also deliver that same epic, awe-inspiring feel we’re used to getting. He’s very balanced in that respect. And of course, he still draws an awesome Goldar. Also, his rendering of the Megazord is one of the best I’ve ever seen.

I’ve touched on this before, but it’s somewhat uncomfortable for me to see the teens “modernized.” Even in the continuity of the show, MMPR is set in the ’90s. So it’s always going to be weird seeing them use smartphones and sporting modern looks (shown below). I get that it comes with the territory, and I don’t place blame on anyone for it. But it still seems weird…

The only updated look I take a bit of exception to is Jason’s. Something about the longer hair and the jacket rub me the wrong way. I’m not in love with Trini’s new hairstyle either, but it’s somehow less grating. Also, I just noticed Trini’s wearing glasses in the image below. That’s different.

Nitpicking aside, I enjoyed Go Go Power Rangers #1 as much as I’ve enjoyed any issue of BOOM! Studios’ MMPR series. Maybe even a little more. I admit, as a reviewer I’m likely biased when it comes to these books. As a fan, I’m so proud of everybody at BOOM! for what they’ve given us. Proud and grateful.

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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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