Tag Archives: Jamal Campbell

A Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #5 Review – Where Is Walter Jones?

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #5, 2016, Jamal CampbellTITLE: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #5
AUTHOR: Kyle Higgins, Steve Orlando
PENCILLERS: Thony Silas, Corin Howell. Cover by Jamal Campbell.
PUBLISHER: BOOM! Studios
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: July 20, 2016

***Miss last issue? Check out Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #4.***

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

As a writer, you look at stories like this one and say: “Damn, why didn’t I think of that?” I certainly didn’t expect to say that about an interlude issue. But Kyle Higgins takes this opportunity to add a bit more depth to his Green Ranger storyline, and the overall mythology around the character. The execution isn’t perfect. But the idea is so interesting it almost doesn’t matter. Almost

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #5 tells us that before Tommy became Rita Repulsa’s evil Green Ranger, she made a play for Zack, the Black Ranger. After being “upstaged” by Jason during a fight, Goldar and the putties abduct Zack so Rita can make her pitch. Obviously, Zack doesn’t accept. But how do the events of this issue impact Zack’s relationship to the team? And what happens when Zack tells Zordon?

Rita tempting one of the Rangers toward the dark side is such a simple, classic tale. It’s perfect for this series. I’m not sure I wouldn’t have gone with Billy instead of Zack, especially considering the scene we saw in issue #2. He was comparing himself to the others, and he seemed to become self conscious and bitter. If Rita could have seen that, she might have exploited it. On the other hand, we’ve seen some curious behavior from Zack in this series. He’s been very suspicious and apprehensive about Tommy. This issue seems to explain why. This experience gives him a negative connection to the Green Ranger that we never knew about.

MMPR #5, Zack, Green RangerThe Zack we’ve seen in this series isn’t the one I expected. On the show, Walter Jones played a fun-loving dancer. Zack is in love with life, and he’s not afraid to show it. That’s not the character we’ve seen in this series. For the most part he’s been very straight faced. I understand he’s in a very tense storyline. But flashes of personality aren’t going to hurt anything, are they?

In essence, what we need in this book is a little more Walter Jones.

Fussy Fanboy Moment: After Zack is abducted, he wakes up in Rita’s Dark Dimension, which we saw in the show. But in one of the “Green Candle” episodes, which these events obviously predate, Jason says he and Tommy are the only Rangers that have been there.

Then again, maybe in Higgins’ mind, Jason never finds out about this. Near the end of the issue, Zordon asks Zack to keep this incident hidden from the others for now. He says it’s so he can “assess the situation and Rita’s capabilities.” But with everything that’s happened, why don’t the Rangers know by now? At least I assume they don’t know…

On the plus side, Higgins sneaks in what seems to be a hint at Zack going to the Peace Conference later in the series. He tells Zordon, “I need to do more … I don’t care about leading. It’s not like that.” I like that second line. It speaks to why Rita’s plan for Zack doesn’t work. He’s imperfect like anyone else, but in the end he’s selfless. It’s more about the good that’s being done, as opposed to the glory you get from it.

MMPR #5, MegazordThe opening sequence, set in Italy, is a lot of fun. The Rangers face Rita’s monstrous take on The Vitruvian Man, who can apparently only speak in da Vinci quotes. Afterward, they receive some fanfare on the ground. We even have the prime minister in the middle of the action. This is yet another example of Higgins doing something that never could have happened on the show.

Thony Silas tags in on pencils for this issue. His style isn’t dramatically different from Hendry Prasetya’s, though his characters are slightly better at emoting. His Rita is particularly sinister. Again, his Zack seems very reserved and stoic, which is not the character we’re used to.

“The Ongoing Adventures of Bulk & Skull” still doesn’t do much for me. Though we do get a surprise in this issue: The BOOM! Studios debut of Lieutenant Stone, Bulk & Skull’s foil from seasons 3 and 4. I’d always been under the impression they’d never met before. Either way, I’m glad to see the putty patroller story is over. On to (hopefully) better things.

Higgins pleasantly surprised me with this Zack story, by following up on a plot seed he’d planted as far back as issue #1. It makes you wonder what else he might come back to in future issues. Whether it’s how Billy sees his role on the team, Jason feeling threatened by Tommy, or something else fans may have wondered about. There’s so much fertile ground to cover, and I’m hopeful that we’ve only scratched the surface.

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A Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #4 Review – Easy, Red Ranger…

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #4, cover, 2016TITLE: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #4
AUTHORS: Kyle Higgins, Steve Orlando
PENCILLERS: Hendry Prasetya, Corin Howell. Cover by Jamal Campbell.
PUBLISHER: BOOM! Studios
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: June 22, 2016

***WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #4.***

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

If you dare to think of the Power Rangers from a semi-realistic standpoint, you come to the conclusion that in some ways, they’d operate like a military operation. What you basically have here are soldiers fighting in an interplanetary war with space-age weapons and giant robots. So logic dictates that you’d have your leader, in the case the Red Ranger, dictate your battle plans while the other Rangers fall in line. Makes sense, right?

Of course, logic and realism weren’t the strong points of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. (I think the my first clue was seeing that blue sky on the moon.) On the show, the Rangers didn’t really operate like that, at least not in the era this book takes place in. Jason was indeed the leader, but it seemed like more of an honorary title. He took on the role, but the Rangers were a team. We never heard lines like: “Jason gave you an order.” That’s not the case in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #4, and it’s a turn-off.

The team’s trust in Tommy has been shaken, as he’s revealed he’s having visions of his former master Rita Repulsa. The Green Ranger is benched for the Rangers’ battle against Scorpina and the Dragonzord, which is once again under Rita’s control. But Tommy isn’t one to sit idly by when he knows he can help. The resulting argument will lead to disaster for the Rangers.

MMPR #4, Tommy and Zordon, Hendry PrasetyaEarly in the issue, Jason tells Tommy not to come into the field. As the battle progresses, he tells Zordon he wants to go in, as he’s seemingly rid himself of the visions and can help. Zordon advises him not to, as “Jason has given you an order.” That line by itself is weird. Especially because Zordon says it. He’s the boss, isn’t he?

But after the fight, which they win thanks to the Green Ranger’s help, Jason gets indignant. He actually says: “I don’t know how I could have been any more clear. You were not to come into the field.”

I don’t have a problem with what Jason is saying. It’s how he’s saying it. He almost comes off like a parent disciplining a child. Jason and Tommy, even when they were at each other’s throats, never talked to one another like that on the show. As such, Jason looks like a condescending jerk. I’m wondering if this is being done to establish Jason feeling threatened by Tommy. One might gather that from things he’s said in previous issues. I’m trying to give Higgins the benefit of the doubt on this one. Either way, I don’t like this side of Jason.

As we’ve seen in previous issues, Higgins, Prasetya, and the team show us things we never could have see on the show. In the zord fight, we see Green Ranger crash through the eye of the Dragonzord, which is spectacular. We also learn that the Triceratops zord has an underwater mode. We also see Scorpina in the Command Center. The Rangers restrain her by tying her to a chair, which is downright comical. We’ve seen characters trapped in force fields numerous times on the show, but for some reason Scorpina gets tied down like a damsel in distress.

Blue Ranger, MMPR #4, Hendry PrasetyaHendry Prasetya’s performances have been consistent in the five issues he’s done. His take on the Power Rangers and their world hasn’t gotten old. Even simple things, like a shot of Dragonzord walking away from camera and rising out of the sea, manage to be extremely cool. Ditto for a handful of panels where we see the words powering up. My favorite panel in the issue is pretty basic shot of the Blue Ranger in the cockpit of the Triceratops Dinozord (shown right.) We’d never seen it from that angle before, and it’s panels like this that make this book so fun for longtime fans like yours truly.

We have yet another edition of our back-up feature, “The Ongoing Adventures of Bulk & Skull.” I hate to say it, but I’m officially turned off by this. Not because the writing or the art are bad, but because we’ve been on this story since issue #1. Bulk & Skull manage to capture a putty, and use it to try and make themselves look like superheroes. They could have done this in one, maybe two installments. This issue gives us our fourth. If they’re going to keep doing this we need a new story, and we need to quicken the pace.

This Jason thing is the biggest hiccup the series has seen so far, but by no means is it a reason to drop the book. Higgins, Prasetya, and the team have got something special, and it’s been consistently good. PR fans have been given a great gift with this series. And by and large, it keeps on giving.

Images from readcomics.net

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A Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #2 Review – This Time, It’s Personal…

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #2, coverTITLE: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #2
AUTHOR: Kyle Higgins, Steve Orlando
PENCILLER: Hendry Prasetya, Corin Howell. Cover by Jamal Campbell.
PUBLISHER: BOOM! Studios
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: April 6, 2016

***Miss the first two issues? Check out issues #0 and #1.***

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

It’s quite obvious that Kyle Higgins was an MMPR fan growing up, and as such is a perfect fit to write this series. How can you tell? Because he’s showing us things we always wanted to see on the show, and taking us places we’ve always wondered about. Case in point, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1 shows is the inner workings of the Dragonzord, and then gives us a confrontation inside Tommy’s home.

It’s not easy being the Green Ranger. Tommy continues to be plagued by visions of his former master, Rita Repulsa. What’s more, he’s having trouble getting the Dragonzord to respond to his commands, tensions are rising between he and his teammates, and now Rita’s minion Scorpina has invaded his home. Something’s got to give. Unfortunately, it may be Tommy himself.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #2, 2016, Hendry PrasetyaLast issue ended with Scorpina appearing in Tommy’s room. In this issue she ups the ante, threatening his oblivious mother. This was one of those logic holes in the TV series. “Why doesn’t Rita just go after them at home and attack their families?” While it’s unclear why Rita hasn’t tried this before, it’s clear she’s crossed a line. Tommy neutralizes the threat to his family quickly by simply hitting his communicator and grabbing Scorpina, teleporting them somewhere isolated, presumably in Angel Grove Park. I’d enjoy knowing how he did that. Did he just have to think of the park?

Our opening scene also expands on the events of the show, as we see Billy and Trini working inside the Dragonzord. We also get an exchange in which Billy self consciously refers to Tommy as “another fighter,” clearly feeling left out and inadequate by comparison. This leads to Trini giving him a pep talk, in which she calls him “the most amazing person I’ve ever met.” If you watch the old shows, there always seems to be a touch of romantic tension between Billy and Trini, even through I suspect it’s not intentional. Are we finally going to see that addressed here? If Higgins and Prasetya are game, I’m game.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #2, Hendry Prasetya, Dragonzord

Prasetya continues to excel at drawing Power Ranger style action sequences, and Power Rangers stuff fin general. His rendering of a sleeping Dragonzord (shown right) is absolutely gorgeous. The quieter dialogue scenes also come off better in this issue. The character acting hasn’t been Prasetya’s strong point thus far. He seems more comfortable when he’s allowed to be more cartoony, i.e. Bulk & Skull scenes. But with characters that have to play it straight, like the teens, Prasetya struggles. But the exchange between Trini and Billy is strong. There’s also a two-page scene that simply consists of Kimberly meeting up with Jason after a karate class, which is well done. Naturally, I suspect as Prasetya spends more time with these characters, the better he’ll get at this sort of thing. Higgins understands their personalities (or at least what the show established of them) to a T. So the pressure is on him to keep up.

As expected, we also get more of “The Ongoing Adventures of Bulk & Skull” from Steve Orlando and Corin Howell. I can’t say I’m in love with this stuff, but it’s harmless fun.

Higgins’ writing style for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers definitely evokes memories of Chris Claremont’s work on Uncanny X-Men, and Marv Wolfman’s work on The New Teen Titans, both monumentally successful teenage superhero books. The presence of a “danger room” last issue not withstanding, Higgins has established a surrogate family dynamic among the Rangers, which has been an integral ingredient to the story he’s telling. Given the tone of the TV show, that’s a great way to play things. As history indicates, it opens some great storytelling doors.

Hopefully, this is only the beginning.

Image 1 from snappow.com. Image 2 from tokunation.com.

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A Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1 Review – Changing the Dynamic

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1, 2016TITLE: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1
AUTHORS: Kyle Higgins, Steve Orlando.
PENCILLERS: Hendry Prasetya, Corin Howell. Cover by Jamal Campbell.
PUBLISHER: BOOM! Studios
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: March 2, 2016

***Miss issue #0? Morph into action!***

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is more than just a nostalgia trip, folks. Kyle Higgins, Hendry Prasetya, and the team are showing us things we could never have seen on the show. For this reason among others, I’ve got high hopes that this series will compliment Power Rangers in the same way IDW’s Ghostbusters compliments that franchise. They’re entirely different books. But like GhostbustersMMPR benefits greatly from the lack of television limitations.

Tommy, the Green Ranger, is getting used to life as a Power Ranger. But the Rangers are getting used to life with Tommy as well. This new teammate changes their dynamic, leaving at least one Ranger wondering if the addition of Tommy is a good thing. Meanwhile, as if Rita Repulsa continuing to plot against the Green Ranger wasn’t enough, Tommy continues to see visions of her in his head.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1, 2016, Hendry PrasetyaHiggins and Prasetya have a pretty straight take on the Power Rangers universe, which is a surprise considering how goofy the show could be. MMPR was a strange beast. It could be very dramatic in certain episodes, but focus more on comedy in others. Higgins’ dramatic scripts, ripe with teen angst, are refreshing. To my knowledge, we’ve never seen PR comics done this way. As someone who grew up with the show, it’s nice to see a universe I love so much treated with this kind of respect.

In this issue we see the Power Rangers have an equivalent to the X-Men’s Danger Room. The “pocket dimension” allows Zordon and Alpha 5 to manipulate and create artificial crises for the Rangers to practice responding to. In this case, Tommy and Kimberly are responding to a monster attack, and the Green Ranger practices guiding civilians to safety. It’s the kind of thing you’d expect an inter-dimensional wizard like Zordon to have, and it’s an interesting tool for plot and character development.

On the subject of technology, it still irks me that Higgins moved MMPR into 2016. I talked about this last time, but it bears repeating. The opening sequence in the issue sees Bulk & Skull working on a Power Rangers-themed video for what I assume is a YouTube channel. I say that because Bulk uses the word podcast in the dialogue. Smartphones can also be seen. This decision still makes me scratch my head. Thankfully, it doesn’t put a damper on the proceedings. Maybe it’s just something I need to get used to…

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1, interiorOne thing that does put a damper on things is what appears to be a continuity glitch between the show and the comic book. There’s a scene where Jason and Zack are in detention. Zack mentions “problems at home,” which is curious. But when they start talking about Tommy, Zack asks: “…it doesn’t bother you that Zordon never actually asked anyone how they felt about him coming on board?”

Zack seems to be implying that it was Zordon’s decision to put Tommy on the team. Ultimately, I suppose it was. But in Green With Evil, Part 5, it’s Jason who extends his hand and asks Tommy to join them. None of the others seems to object to it. Granted, I’m reading heavily into something that probably wasn’t thought out so extensively. But it is the source material. On the other hand, Zack might be wondering about Zordon simply having a talk with the five Rangers about their new teammate. Either way, it’s confusing.

This is what happens when you adapt something as beloved as Power Rangers. Geeks who grew up on it (i.e. me) start to nitpick at little things.

Hendry Prasetya is stronger at action than he is at the scenes with the teenagers. This issue is heavier on the latter, so I wouldn’t say he’s in his best element here. But I buy his renderings of the characters from the show, so I can’t bring myself to sling much mud at them. On the subject of art, looking at the variant covers for this issue, you see names like Dustin Nguyen, Philip Tan, and Paul Pope. Again, as a life-long Power Rangers fan, it’s really cool to see big name like that associated with this book. Also among the variants is piece by Goni Montes, who as far as I’m concerned can keep drawing Power Rangers stuff as long as he wants. It’s tough to get tired of looking at his work.

Higgins, Prayseta, and everybody on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers have kept some tremendous momentum going from last issue. As a ’90s kid, that’s really exciting. Just as the TV show has a special place in our hearts, I imagine in time this series will too.

Images from comicbookresources.com.

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