MMPR: Shattered Grid: 25 Morphinominal Moments, Part Five

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

As it turns out, these last five moments from Shattered Grid all happened in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #30. So a major tip of the hat to author Kyle Higgins, penciller Daniele Di Nicuolo, inker Simona Di Gianfelice, colorist Walter Baiamonte, and letterer Ed Dukeshire.

Furthermore, we need to send a major thank you to Ryan Parrott, Dan Mora, and everybody at Go Go Power Rangers. That series is great in its own right. But it’s provided some really nice supplemental material for our main story.

And thanks to everybody at BOOM! Studios for giving us better Power Rangers comics than we ever could have hoped for!

With that, it’s back to action!

(Part One. Part Two. Part Three. Part Four.)

26. Zordon and Rita

We’re starting on a subtle note here. Zordon and Kruger come to ask for Rita’s help in stopping Lord Drakkon. Rita responds as you might expect. But in trying to convince her, Zordon says something I didn’t expect…

“We have known each other for millennia, Rita. I would not be here now if I believed there was another way.”

What gets me about those lines is the sentence about them having known each other for so long. I doubt Kyle Higgins meant for it to stand out. But hearing Zordon appeal to his long-standing familiarity with Rita was interesting. Remember, these are two enemies. He’s the one who trapped him in a time warp, and he’s partly responsible for her being locked away in a dumpster for 10,000 years. And yet, in this hour of dire need, Zordon essentially uses their rivalry to appeal to her better judgment. It almost makes you look at the franchise’s original mentor and villain in a new light…

27. Rallying the Troops

Before the climactic battle begins, Jason gives a big rah-rah speech to all the Rangers who’ve come to help. Admittedly, it didn’t do much for me. What did, however, was this shot of all the Rangers and Megazords. There’s a lot of history in this panel…

28. Kimberly and Tommy
While Tommy obviously has a crucial role in Shattered Grid, let’s not forget that the Tommy Oliver of the BOOMverse, the Tommy our heroes knew and fought alongside, was killed. Plus, Kimberly held him as he died. Pretty heavy stuff. So when Jason hands her the Draggon Dagger, and puts her in charge of the Dragonzord, it’s a nice moment. But this has appeal in a larger scope as well.

From a character standpoint, there’s an argument to be made that Tommy should have given his powers to Kimberly at the end of “The Green Candle.” Obviously, the show was limited by the Japanese footage it had to work with. So it ultimately had to be Jason that got them. But it would have made a lot of sense for Kimberly, Tommy’s love interest, to be the one he passed his powers on to. All these years later, this is a nice tribute to a character fans still love and remember.

29. Enter Serpentera
Serpentera was essentially the Death Star of the Power Rangers universe. It was Lord Zedd’s personal zord, and had enough power to annihilate a planet. And it was huge. One of the biggest zords in the show’s history. As you can see at left, it could literally hold a Megazord in its massive jaws.

As any PR nut knows, Serpentera went out like a chump in “Forever Red.” But it gets a nice chance to shine during the big battle in Shattered Grid. We don’t see much of the actual zord, but that’s half the beauty of it. It’s so big, it can’t even fit within the confines of the comic book!

30. Siphoning the Power
We end on yet another reminder of just how much history we’re mining for Shattered Grid.

Lord Drakkon’s big plan is to steal morphers from each Ranger team, and get inside the Morphin Grid itself. In the above panel, we can see he’s assembled some kind of power siphoning device and plugged it in to the various morphers he’s collected. Represented are in Space, Lost Galaxy, Dino Thunder, Megaforce, Dino Charge, among others. I absolutely adore the attention to detail. This is as much an indicator as any of what a labor of love Shattered Grid is.

So once again, thank you to everyone involved. I can’t wait to see how it ends!

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MMPR: Shattered Grid: 25 Morphinominal Moments, Part Four

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

As it happens, these last two installments of our countdown are largely going to be monopolized by Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #29 and #30 respectively. Naturally, Kyle Higgins, Daniele Di Nicuolo, and the crew at BOOM! Studios have ramped things up as we move toward this week’s finale. You’ll see that here, as four spots are occupied by moments from issue #29.

(Part One. Part Two. Part Three.)

16. Lightspeed Rescue appearances.
Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue is a perennially underrated season, in my opinion. Sadly, that point is accentuated by the fact that Lightspeed is fairly underrepresented in Shattered Grid. Not as bad as, say, Operation Overdrive. But still.

However, we do get a few appearances from Carter, the Red Lightspeed Ranger. And issue #29 does start with an appearance from Kelsey, the Yellow Lightspeed Ranger. Oddly enough, she’s in a push-up contest with TJ. Mind you, her hair is the wrong color. But I’m just grateful she made the cut!

17. Andros, Karone, Zordon, and Kruger.
One thing I’ve complained about as it relates to the main MMPR comic, is how characters are learning too many things about their future. The appearance of Saba, the Thunderzords, etc. But of course, I threw my hands up once we got to Shattered Grid, and simply opted to enjoy the story. So this little moment with Andros and Karone managed to be a highlight for me. The story obviously isn’t about them specifically. But this relationship is an important one in the annals of Power Rangers history. So to see it get spotlighted like this is pretty cool.

Zordon and Kruger also get a little scene on the same page. I wouldn’t have mentioned it, were it not right after this Andros/Karone exchange. But it’s cool in its own right.

18. Terra Venture revelation.
Outside of what we saw in the outstanding MMPR #20, the Grace Sterling character hasn’t done much for me. I appreciated the Promethea concept, though. Even moreso when we got this little gem of a revelation…

Promethea is Terra Venture, the space colony that serves as the setting for Power Rangers Lost Galaxy. I mean, c’mon! How damn cool is that? They didn’t have to go there. But they did. And I love ’em for it!

19. Reinforcements from the Future
This is a beautiful moment. Conceptually, artistically, or virtually any way you want to look at it.

As they prepare to face Lord Drakkon’s forces, our heroes discover the cavalry has arrived…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holy crap, that’s gorgeous. The splash page on the right even has a Kevin Maguire, Justice League International feel to it.

While I highly doubt this was intentional, I appreciate that Daniele Di Nicuolo put the Quantum Ranger at the front of the pack. Jason, Kimberly, and the others are seeing the future here, after all. Also, note the appearance of the Rangers from the upcoming Power Rangers Beast Morphers.

20. Tommy’s “second chance.” (Go Go Power Ragners #12)
Up to this point, Go Go Power Rangers had been Tommy-free. Present-day Tommy, at least. That ultimately works to the book’s advantage. The Green Ranger isn’t hogging the spotlight, and we get to focus more on our five heroes.

However, the series makes an exception in issue #12, when Ranger Slayer tracks Tommy down. She shoots him with a super-powered arrow. The future Green Ranger is hurt, but not killed. Kimberly says she’s giving him a second chance. I suspect we’ll find out what she meant in the finale.

It’s definitely a thrill to see Dan Mora draw Tommy, the Green Ranger, and the Dragonzord. By the by, we find Tommy working out at a gym while it’s closed. I suspect that’s meant to imply that his family doesn’t have a lot of money, so he can’t afford a gym membership. Not sure where they got that notion, though. To the best of my recollection, it was never established on the show…

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MMPR: Shattered Grid: 25 Morphinominal Moments, Part Three

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

So as we continue to work our way through Shattered Grid, I’d like to highlight the fact that these are in (mostly) chronological order. We’re going through these moments in the order we read them. We’re certainly not ranking them in any way.

(Part One. Part Two.)

11. Jason and Lauren (MMPR #27)
As Shattered Grid progresses, an unexpected and perhaps unlikely romance begins budding between Jason and Lauren Shiba of Power Rangers Samurai.

Why Jason and Lauren? Eh, why not? It makes a kind of sense, as they both know the pressures of leading a team of Rangers. But part of its appeal is in just how out of left field it is. After all, when you’ve got a bunch of hormonal teenagers in the same space for a lengthy amount of time, this kind of thing is bound to happen, isn’t it?

12. Ranger Slayer vs. Alpha 5 (Go Go Power Rangers #10)

Like the evil Green Ranger before her, the Ranger Slayer, under a spell cast by Lord Drakkon, invades the Command Center. But while Tommy simply incapacitated Alpha 5, this version of Kimberly has a more…physical approach.

We certainly never saw Alpha take a beating like this on the old show, and for good reason. Seeing our robot buddy beaten up like this would have scarred most of us for life…

13. Zack talks to himself (MMPR #28)
Way back in MMPR #5, Kyle Higgins established that before Rita chose Tommy to be the Green Ranger, she tried to tempt Zack into the role. While he obviously refused, Zack never tell his teammates about Rita’s offer. Until he does, at the encouragement of his counterpart from Lord Drakkon’s timeline. Issue #28 gives us a nice little callback to that.

By and large, I maintain that the BOOMverse’s take on Zack is too moody and broody. But the idea of him being Rita’s original pick for the Green Ranger remains a really interesting idea.

14. Bringing Down the Dome (MMPR #28)
Over in the world of Power Rangers RPM, Dr. K is quick to answer Zordon’s call to action from issue #27, as she’s developed technology that can fend off some of Lord Drakkon’s arsenal. But the domed city of Corinth has been fending off his attacks for hours. Jason and Lauren are sent in to help (see above), but Drakkon has reinforcements of his own.

What follows is a battle filled with characters and zords from across the franchise’s history. It’s so expansive that it’s truly a shame it all has to be condensed into one issue. Still, we get a hell of an exclamation point in the end, as Dr. K and Jason have to bring down the dome protecting Corinth.

15. Future Kimberly, Present-Day Juice Bar (Go Go Power Rangers #11)

Once the Ranger Slayer comes to her senses, she aligns herself with our heroes. They wind up taking her to the juice bar, sitting her right next to her past self. And of course, no one recognizes that there are two Kimberly Harts in the room.

Still, it’s interesting to not only see future Kim getting to re-live her past, but watching her tell present-day Kim to enjoy it all while it lasts. And kudos to Dan Mora for drawing future Kim on the balance beam (shown left). That’s something we saw quite a bit of on the show. But we’re obviously seeing it from a whole new perspective here.

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MMPR: Shattered Grid – 25 Morphinominal Moments, Part Two

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

We’re back, and still counting down moments from Shattered Grid. It’s 25 Morphinominal Moments for 25 years of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers!

(Check out Part One if you missed it!)

6. Enter the Ranger Slayer (Go Go Power Rangers #9)
Go Go Power Rangers maintained an interesting balancing act during Shattered Grid. It had to continue doing its own thing, while also introducing us to the Ranger Slayer, and giving her a story that ties into the event overall.

Of course, the Ranger Slayer is the older Kimberly counterpart from Lord Drakkon’s universe. This take on Kimberly definitely has a Katniss Everdeen vibe going for her. She gets a strong introduction too, complete with a couple of oddly humorous lines from Miss Appleby. Mora re-uses this same action pose later in the issue when we see her in morphed form.

And then to boot, we get this next little moment…

7. “Who let you go outside with that haircut?”

I mean, we’ve got two Kimberlys. At that point, you can’t not have a hair joke, right? At least she made herself laugh.

8. Power Rangers Zeo (MMPR Annual 2018)
Zeo has been surprisingly underrepresented in the BOOM! books. Luckily that will be rectified a bit once Marguerite Bennett and our new creative team take over. But MMPR Annual 2018 was the first time we’d seen the Zeo covered by Kyle Higgins and the crew.

Drawn by Marcus To, the story shows us the team’s farewell party for Jason after he loses the Gold Ranger powers. But amidst it all is a great little scene between Tommy and Jason on top of the Command Center. They reminisce about old times, and Jason talks about how good it was to be a Ranger again, if only for a short time.

Of course, there’s a big swerve near the end. But I adore the idea. Scenes like this are a big part of what makes this BOOM! Studios MMPR run so great.

9. Zordon and the Emissaries (MMPR Free Comic Book Day Special)
One of the highlights of Kyle Higgins’ work in the PR universe was MMPR #15, a Zordon-focused issue, following everybody’s favorite blue head in a tube as he travels through a dimensional rift and meets his counterpart from Lord Drakkon’s universe. In the MMPR special that came out on Free Comic Book Day, Higgins once again got to play around with Zordon. This time with co-author Ryan Parrott, and illustrator Diego Galindo.

As the conflict with Drakkon continues to escalate, Zordon seemingly travels to an etherial plane of sorts to meet with three emissaries, in the hopes that they will ask the “Morphin Masters” (long story) to intervene. These emissaries take the shifting forms of various red, blue, and yellow rangers, which is fascinating. They’re seemingly speaking to Zordon from inside the Morphin Grid. So it makes a sort of sense that they would take on these familiar forms.

While there’s certainly no need for us to see them again, I certainly wouldn’t mind another appearance from these emissaries, if not the Morphin Masters themselves.

10. Tommy lounging.
This might seem relatively insignificant, given all Shattered Grid throws at us, but I love this panel. Daniele Di Nicuolo, along with inker Simona Di Gianfelice and colorist Walter Baiamonte, show us Lord Drakkon slumped down in his throne. He almost looks like a petulant young king. If you’re just doing a quick scan of this page, it’s easy to mistake Tommy’s expression as a smile. But of course, it’s not. He’s stewing as he stares into the Red Zeonizer Crystal he stole from his Zeo-era counterpart (see above), who was loved by his friends and fellow Rangers…

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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.

MMPR: Shattered Grid: 25 Morphinominal Moments, Prelude

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Let’s talk about Shattered Grid, shall we?

Brought to us by BOOM! Studios and spearheaded by author Kyle Higgins in the pages of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, this massive event comic has been nothing short of a fan-service goldmine. It’s something I never thought Power Rangers would get, even after 25 years. Not because the franchise doesn’t deserve it, but because it just didn’t seem to be in the cards. Especially after the epic disappointment that was Power Rangers Super Megaforce.

I can’t say I’ve been in love with everything that’s come out of Shattered Grid. But there’s no denying what it is, and the amazing talent and dedication of everyone involved.

Thus, as Power Morphicon assembles in California this weekend, it feels only right that I set out to spotlight 25 moments from Shattered Grid that really reached out and touched me as a Power Rangers geek. I’ll be looking at not just MMPR, but also Go Go Power Rangers, the 2018 annual, and the Free Comic Book Day issue. And it should be noted that the moments that effected me might not necessarily big the big plot points. This character dies, that character appears for the first time, etc. Simply put, this will be opinion based. And who knows? Maybe a little insightful…

The first of this five-part series will drop on Tuesday the 21st. The finale hits the web on the 28th, which coincides with not only the final issue of Shattered Grid, but the anniversary episode on Nickelodeon.

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Weekly Comic Haul: May 16, 2018: Batman, Flavor, “Shattered Grid”

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I’m Rob, and these are the comics I spent my hard-earned money on this week…

Flavor #1
I picked this one up for the sake of sheer curiosity. Flavor was advertised as The Hunger Games mixed with world-building akin to that of Hayao Miyazaki. Based purely on how it looks, I might throw Hell’s Kitchen in there as well. I mentioned this to Mrs. Primary Ignition, who doesn’t read a lot of comics. She promptly exclaimed, “That sounds amazing!” If it’s got her sold, it’s at least worth a look.

Batman #47
I’m not big on Batman using guns. It feels like a cheap trick to me. Or “cheap heat,” as they’d say in the wrestling world. “The Gift” introduced us to such a Batman. In an alternate timeline, of course.  But I’m nonetheless enjoying the story. It’s a tremendous spotlight for Booster Gold, who’s been a favorite of mine for a long time.

Dead Hand #2
Kyle Higgins had a double-header this week. The next chapter of “Shattered Grid” (more on that in a moment), and this baby. Dead Hand #1 surprised many a reader with a twist on its final page, leading us into this sophomore issue. This noir spy thriller is packed with plenty of intrigue, which is based a little more in reality than one might think.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #27
Higgins’ second outing of the week. I’m not big on the way “Shattered Grid” is prominently framed like a multiverse story, as opposed to a time-travel one. But it’s nonetheless amazing to see all these Rangers from all these eras getting to meet one another. I can certainly appreciate the use of Lauren Shiba from Power Rangers Samurai. She was about as underutilized as any Ranger in the show’s 25-year history.

A Walk Through Hell #1
I’ve been diving into the AfterShock Comics library in recent months. Babyteeth, Her Infernal Descent, Animosity, Black-Eyed Kids, etc. So I picked this one up for that reason above all else. I know very little about what to expect here, which is probably what they’re counting on. I know its about FBI agents investigating a mall shooting. That’s about it…

Justice League: No Justice #2
Someone needed to clarify this for me the other day: These four cooky teams aren’t staying together full time. They’re just here for this miniseries, and then the new Justice League book launches next month. That’s a little bit of a disappointment, as we’ve got some really interesting combinations here. Either way, No Justice has me picking up a Justice League book for the first time in a few years.

Gideon Falls #3
I wasn’t sure if I was going to stick with Gideon Falls after issue #1. But I found myself drawn back to it as the weeks went by. I’m grateful for that, as the characters have only gotten more interesting. Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino, and the Gideon Falls team have given us something irresistibly haunting.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #72
This book has had its share of flaws. But it’s still one of the best TMNT runs ever. Dave Watcher’s art has a nice gritty texture to it. And Ronda Pattison’s colors are gorgeous as always. The Toad Baron character is a lot of fun too.

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A Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #20 Review – Summer of ’69

TITLE: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #20
AUTHORS: Kyle Higgins, Ryan Ferrier
PENCILLERS: Daniele Di Nicuolo, Bachan. Cover by Jamal Campbell.
PUBLISHER: BOOM! Studios
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: October 25, 2017

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

One thing you can’t take away from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #20? It knows how the moon works.

Throughout the show’s history, Power Rangers has had a really weird take on the moon. The most notable example is probably the iconic “Forever Red” episode, where we see 10 years worth of Red Rangers fighting unmorphed on the lunar surface. They can breathe freely, and the gravity is the same as on Earth. The entire sequence looks suspiciously like it takes place in California somewhere…

That’s not the moon we get here. This is the genuine article. How do we know? Because the issue opens with the moon landing in 1969. In true Power Rangers fashion, our astronauts accidentally unleash an alien threat. And so, decades before Jason and the others take up arms against Rita Repulsa, Zordon must choose a team of heroes to protect the Earth. They are Earth’s first Power Rangers, and their story isn’t quite as happy as that of their successors.

I initially frowned upon the idea of Jason’s team not having the distinction of being the “original” Rangers of Earth. But transplanting the Power Rangers concept into the ’60s is too good an idea to pass up. It’s just a shame we don’t have time to flesh it out. Everything gets crammed into this one issue, and certain elements suffer as a result.

Our leader and Red Ranger is Grace Sterling, whose older self we’ve met in previous issues. She’s a secretary at the PR equivalent of NASA, with dreams of going into space. At her side are a British rock musician, a Russian communist, a Vietnam War veteran, and an idealistic youngster. Obviously these characters are written to clash. The problem is making it believable and organic in such a short time. For instance, there’s an exchange between the Pink and Yellow Rangers about whether the war is right or wrong. But they’re on the moon! Plus, because we know so little about these people, and the conflict only lasts about two panels, it’s almost not even worth it. In a perfect world, giving this story three or four issues would have granted it much-needed breathing room.

As this MMPR series has progressed, we’ve seen Kyle Higgins cherry pick elements and ideas from around the Power Rangers timeline. He does that here with the use of Psycho Green, a villain spinning out of the evil Psycho Ranger team from Power Rangers in Space.  I’ve gotten on Higgins’ back for muddying the pre-established continuity, but this is harmless enough. It’s a nice little tribute to PRiS. Interestingly enough, Psycho Green is apparently the right hand to another PRiS villain, Dark Specter.

MMPR: Pink artist Daniele Di Nicuolo is back for this issue, and is also solicited for issue #21. Di Nicuolo does well in the Power Rangers universe. But I was a little caught off guard by how jacked the male Rangers looked in morphed form. It’s fairly consistent with what he gave us in Pink. Maybe the alternate costumes distracted from it?

Either way, Di Nicuolo draws an awesome Psycho Green. The gender swap element in this book is also interesting to look at. Our Red and Black rangers are women, while our Yellow and Pink Rangers are men. That’s a nice little twist on things.

The scene with our five new Rangers in the Command Center is an issue highlight for me. Zordon has been absent for much of this series (the amazing issue #15 notwithstanding), so it’s great to spend a little time with him. It’s also the only time we get to see our unmorphed heroes interact with one another. Di Nicuolo gets to play with facial expressions, body language, etc.

“The Ongoing Misadventures of Squatt and Baboo” continue as well. For whatever reason, I’ve found these a little more palatable than the Bulk and Skull stories we got in earlier issues. Squatt and Baboo fight the Megazord this issue, which goes about as well as you’d imagine.

Considering how much hype MMPR #20 was given, not spending more time with this 1969 team seems like a wasted opportunity. Obviously what we saw here will factor into the coming issues, as Grace continues to interact with the Rangers. So in all fairness, we don’t have the whole story yet. But my immediate reaction is that they could have done so much more with this idea. But I’ll credit the BOOM! Studios crew for at least making it a reality. It’s a nice bit of world-building, in a series that’s already given so much to the Power Rangers mythos.

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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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A Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #12 Review – The Day Evil Won

mighty-morphin-power-rangersTITLE: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #12
AUTHOR: Kyle Higgins
PENCILLER: Hendry Prasetya. Cover by Jamal Campbell.
PUBLISHER: BOOM! Studios
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: February 15, 2017

***WARNING: Spoilers lay ahead!***

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

I just have to keep reminding myself: The story’s not over yet. The story’s not over yet. The story’s not over yet…

Everything I wrote about Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #11 still applies in this issue. Exposing Tommy and Billy to elements from their future, such as the White Ranger, the Tigerzord, and the Thunderzords, potentially taints the events that occur later in his timeline. Assuming, that is, we don’t get a mind wipe at the end of this story. But until we see how the story ends, there’s no use poo-pooing what Kyle Higgins, Hendry Prasetya, and the BOOM! Studios crew are giving us here. So we may as well enjoy this whole post-apocalyptic, alternate universe tale they’ve crafted for us.

MMPR #12 tells us quite a bit about said universe. In this timeline, Tommy remained with Rita and her forces after the events of “Green With Evil,” as opposed to teaming up with the other Rangers. As such, Rita eventually conquers the Earth. But not before Zordon creates the White Ranger powers, and attempts to give them to Jason. In the final battle between the forces of good and evil, Tommy steals the White Ranger powers, and merges them with the Green Ranger powers. But Saba, the talking saber that was to have served as the White Ranger’s partner, has survived. And for the Tommy and Billy we know, he’s the only ally in sight.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #12, Hendry Prasetya, big fightOn the pages that show is the final days of this great war we see Lokar (who shows up later in season one) the Alien Rangers and Ninjor (season three), and even the Phantom Ranger (Power Rangers Turbo)! Strangely enough, we also have the Pumpkin Rapper, a random monster from season one. I don’t mind him being there. But out of all the monsters you could have picked, why the Pumpkin Rapper?

The battle itself really does look like a doomsday scenario where our heroes have their last hope snuffed out. I gripe about Tommy and Billy “knowing too much about their own destiny,” as Doc Brown would say. But I do appreciate the fan service that comes with having the Thunderzords, the Alien Rangers, etc. If you’re a Power Rangers fan, it has an undeniably epic feel.

On the subject of fan service…um, hi Aisha Campbell? The issue ends with the character that eventually takes Trini’s place as the Yellow Ranger showing up as part of a rebellion of sorts, next to Trini herself! Trini and, of all people, Bulk. Again, Tommy and Billy meeting Aisha in this alternate realty potentially spoils the emotional impact of them meeting later in life. But I’ll wait ’til the story’s over…. *clenches fists*

As I’ve said previously, Prasetya’s main strength on this book is drawing all the extravagant sci-fi stuff. He proves that yet again with a gorgeous splash page of the Tigerzord (shown below). It’s very reminiscent of the footage we always used to see on the show, with the crushing of the rocks and the big roar. It’s the strongest page in the issue, by far. Of course, the battle stuff is awesome. We get a very strong two-page spread of all the Rangers and baddies in front of the Command Center. It feels every bit as epic as it needs to be.

mmpr #12, Tigerzord, Hendry PrasetyaQuestion: Does merging the Green and White Ranger powers take a toll on the body of Lord Drekkon? I keep coming back to that weird vascularity we see on his face. If you remember from the “White Light” episodes, the Green Ranger powers were created by the forces of evil, while the White Ranger powers were created from “the light of goodness.” So in theory, it would be unnatural to combine them.

My assumption has been that Drekkon was the one to reach out to Rita across the space time continuum. But why? Perhaps to find a younger version of himself to give the power to, and then inhabit? Just a guess…

We also get a brief scene in this issue where we see Rita and her forces have taken over the Command Center. She tells Goldar that she and Finster are working on “a better you.” That’s damn intriguing, considering how Higgins has written Goldar in this book. He tended to have his own agenda on the show, and that’s very much the case here. I’d be surprised if he didn’t have a major role in the outcome of this story.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers remains near the top of my stack each time it comes out. But with each passing month, I get more and more nervous about how this story is going to end…

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