A Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #108 Video Review – What is Zordon?

Email Rob at PrimaryIgnition@Yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter and TikTok

TikTok Review: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II #5

Email Rob at PrimaryIgnition@Yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter and TikTok

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #107 Micro-Review – Rita Repulsa vs. Lord Zedd???

***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 107, cover, April 2023, Taurin ClarkeTITLE: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #107
AUTHOR: Melissa Flores
ARTISTS: Simona Di Gianfelice, Raul Angulo (Colorist), Ed Dukeshire (Letterer). Cover by Taurin Clarke.
RELEASED: April 19, 2023

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This issue sees the team take on an evil Green Ranger, who’s under the influence of one of Rita Repulsa’s spells and wielding the Sword of Darkness. Call me crazy, but I feel like that’s been done before…

We’re also teased with a fight between Rita and Lord Zedd. We don’t get it here. But that’s something we’ve got to get eventually, right? It’s inevitable.

Taurin Clarke knocks it out of the park again with this cover. Nothing like this happens in the issue. But it still looks great.

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

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always Review

TITLE: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always
David Yost, Walter Emanuel Jones, Steve Cardenas, Catherine Sutherland, Charlie Kersh
Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale
DIRECTOR: Charlie Haskell
April 19, 2023
Tragedy strikes when Rita Repulsa returns in robot form.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Let’s, first and foremost, come at Once & Always with gratitude. We’ve had anniversary episodes featuring past Rangers before. Super Megaforce was even an entire season dedicated to the history of the Power Rangers franchise (albeit one that was ill-executed). But this is the first time we’ve gotten an extended anniversary special dedicated to the characters and lore of Power Rangers. The folks at Hasbro and Power Rangers were by no means obligated to give us something like this. But they cared enough about the show and the fans to give us something that’s never been done before. For that, they deserve our thanks and appreciation.

Let’s also be thankful for the actors and performers who not only agreed to return, but in most cases agreed to fly out to New Zealand (where the show is filmed) for an extended period of time. It’s been well documented that, despite quickly becoming the biggest kids show in the world, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers wasn’t always kind to its actors. Relatively minuscule pay mixed with grueling filming schedules (and in David Yost’s case, something far worse) meant the actors weren’t left with memories nearly as positive as those of us watching at home. But again, for the fans, they agreed to come back.

Nevertheless, conspicuous by their absence are Austin St. John (who played Jason, the original Red Ranger) and Amy Jo Johnson (Kimberly, the original Pink Ranger). I can only assume St. John would have been involved if not for the legal trouble he wound up in, which would have prevented him from traveling to New Zealand for filming. He did, after all, just come back for an episode a few years ago. I’ll reserve my judgment about his legal situation for after he has his day in court. But regardless, it sucks he’s not involved here. He was arguably the face of the show during its first season.

Johnson, unfortunately, got flack from some in the fanbase for not coming back. The accusation was that her decision came down to money. She eventually went on Twitter and addressed it. Again, it sucks that she’s not here. Johnson is as responsible for the show’s popularity as anyone else. She is, however, writing a Power Rangers comic book for BOOM! Studios this year. I’m very interested to see what she turns in.

Once & Always is dedicated to the memory of Thuy Trang and Jason David Frank. Trang played Trini, the original Yellow Ranger. She was tragically killed in a car crash in 2001. The episode is largely centered around her character, as we’ll dive into shortly. It’s beautiful that the show is paying tribute to her this way. It’s overdue, quite frankly. She was, by all accounts, a kind and gentle soul who was taken from us too soon.

Jason David Frank, who played Tommy Oliver on the show for a number of years and different incarnations, tragically took his own life last November. His is a loss that many fans, my self included, are still trying to process. Frank had apparently opted out of participating in this 30th anniversary special. But his presence is inevitably felt when you go back and look at the early years of Power Rangers. In truth, this special makes me miss him that much more.

The redux version of Ron Wasserman’s “Go Go Power Rangers” plays during the episode’s opening fight sequence. Wasserman, of course, did the music in the early days of MMPR, and composed the show’s iconic theme song. He doesn’t compose any more rock songs. But having him work on this special still brings it extremely valuable credibility. To say we’re lucky to have him back is an understatement.

Hearing characters use the word “kill” in a Power Rangers show takes some getting used to. “She killed mom,” etc. Historically, the show has always used words like “destroy” instead of kill.

We see Trini take a blast from Robo-Rita that was meant for Billy. As a result, she falls off a nearby cliff to her death. My initial impulse was to be turned off by this. We didn’t need to actually see Trini die, after all. But I’ve come around on it. She goes out like a hero, saving Billy, who she always had a special bond with on the show. This is as good a way as any to write the character off.

It sounds like they used archived dialogue from MMPR to lend voices to Trini, Kimberly, and Tommy in their morphed forms. A wise move. Mysteriously, the only one who doesn’t sound like himself is Jason.

Billy: “It’s always just been [Minh] and Trini. She doesn’t have anybody else.” I wondered how they were going to handle the question of Minh’s father. Fitting for a special aimed at adult Power Rangers fans, they went a slightly more mature route and made Trini a single mom. We can probably presume that Minh’s father didn’t want to be in the picture. What’s more, perhaps Trini’s family disowned her after she got pregnant out of wedlock. Thus, the idea that it’s always been just the two of them.

We quickly see that Zack took over raising Minh after Trini’s death. I love that. It adds a whole new dimension to Zack’s character. Minh even alludes to Zack being a former congressman! Well that’s a move I didn’t see coming. Apparently he’s been back from Aquitar for awhile now…

One year after Trini’s death, Robo-Rita returns with robotic versions of her old monsters the Minotaur and Snizzard. I’m a little curious as to why they went with those two monsters specifically. I can only assume they picked Snizzard because he was famously voiced by Bryan Cranston. But why the Minotaur? There are plenty of monsters more famous and synonymous with the show. Pudgy Pig, Eye Guy, and King Sphinx come to mind immediately.

Actually, had they not just used a version of Goldar in Beast Morphers, I’d have had them use robotic versions of Goldar and Rito Revolto.

It quickly becomes apparent that Once & Always isn’t here to impress us with dramatic acting chops. Which, at least to me, is fine. Power Rangers has had some really good actors. But it’s never been what I’d call an actor’s show. Plus, let’s remember that most of our stars haven’t done a lot of acting since their days on Power Rangers. The acting is a flaw in the special. But it doesn’t doom it.

Robo-Minotaur smashes a tombstone that says “Harvey Garvey.” That’s an Easter egg referring to the Rangers appearing on “The Harvey Garvey” show back in season two. Cute.

Robo-Rita refers to Billy by his last name, Cranston. It’s always been generally accepted by fans that Cranston is Billy’s last name. But to my knowledge, this is the first time the name has actually been used in the show.

We go to Cranston Tech, a building that’s clearly modeled after the old Command Center/Power Chamber. On a lower level, we see a large room designed similarly to the Rangers’ original home base. We also meet Alpha 9. Not Alpha 5, as the casting of Richard Horvitz, Alpha’s original voice actor, seemed to suggest. I suppose we can finally take this as confirmation that Alpha 5 has been destroyed. If they were ever going to bring him back, now was the time.

We learn that prior to Trini’s death, it was Billy (along with Alpha 8) who accidentally created Robo-Rita by reassembling her evil energy while attempting to bring back Zordon. They specifically use the phrase “Z-Wave” when referring to Zordon’s sacrifice. Like the Cranston name, I think this marks the first time that phrase has been used in an official capacity.

I like the idea of Billy trying to bring Zordon back. He, as much as anyone, had an emotional attachment to the character. And by standards, it makes enough sense as a way to bring Rita back.

Katherine’s first line in the episode is a reference to “JJ’s junior karate camp.” We know from Ninja Steel that Tommy has a son named JJ. Then later, Kat directly references Tommy as JJ’s father. Thus, we get official in-show confirmation that Tommy and Kat have a son together. We can probably assume they’re married, as Kat is wearing a wedding ring. (Though that might simply be a matter of Catherine Sutherland not taking her wedding ring off.)

As she’s taking her proxy Power Coin, Katherine says: “I don’t care how dangerous too much pink energy is.” That’s a reference to a famously silly line Zordon has in “Wild West Rangers, Part II.” Nice little fandom hat-tip there.

We don’t get a Bulk and Skull appearance in Once & Always. But we do get a blatant reference to them, complete with pictures, in the “Skullovitch & Bulkmeyer Bulk Food Co.” sign. A nice allusion to the show’s classic comedic duo. If we weren’t going to actually see Bulk and Skull in the special, they had to do something to at least acknowledge them.

The recreation of the old juice bar set is glorious. I’m sure it’s not a perfect one. But it’s good enough to get high marks from this MMPR buff. Amazing work.

In a neat little trivia note for fans, they clearly used Lightning Collection action figures to represent the captured Rangers in Robo-Rita’s machine. Based on what the special shows us, in addition to the three Mighty Morphin Rangers, she’s captured…

  • Tanya, the Yellow Ranger from Zeo.
  • The Phantom Ranger from Turbo.
  • Ashley and Carlos, the Yellow and Black Rangers from in Space.
  • Leo (Red) Damon (Green), and Kai (Blue) from Lost Galaxy.
  • Merrick, the Lunar Wolf Ranger from Wild Force.
  • Conner and Trent, the Red and White Rangers from Dino Thunder.
  • Ravi (Blue), Devon (Red), and Nate (Gold) from Beast Morphers.

Barbara Goodson returns as the voice of Rita Repulsa. As expected, she’s pitch-perfect. For my money, if they couldn’t get her, there was no point in even using the Rita Repulsa character. Goodson is that important, and that good.

Much like its acting chops, Once & Always clearly isn’t here to impress us with special effects. I refer specifically to how the Megazord and giant Snizzard look. I’d have preferred to see them use physical costumes. That’s how the show did it, after all. That being said, the CGI Dinozord unearthing sequence looked pretty amazing, as did the transformation into the Megazord. Clearly done with a lot of care, and definitely a step up from what we usually get on the show.

Adam and Aisha’s roles in this episode are fairly small. Apparently the characters are now part of a group called SPA, an offshoot of SPD. Apparently they oversee other Ranger teams throughout the galaxy…? It’s never made quite clear. But it’s still great to see Johnny Yong Bosch and Karan Ashley return to the franchise.

The use of old Trini footage just before Minh morphed into the Yellow Ranger for the first time was very effective. As was the use of the season two footage of Amy Jo singing to the team. Honestly? Both nearly brought a tear to my eye…

There are a few unanswered questions here, not the least of which being when the Rangers got their powers back and became an active team again. But all in all, Once & Always was exactly what I wanted it to be. The nostalgia hand was definitely played. But the characters were also advanced, and the use of Power Rangers lore was in full effect. Is it perfect? No. But neither is Power Rangers itself. Once & Always has a beautiful soul to it. More than anything, that’s what I came away thinking about.

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

An MMPR/TMNT II #4 Micro-Review – Mora’s Mutants and Monsters

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

TITLE: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II #4
AUTHOR: Ryan Parrott
ARTISTS: Dan Mora, Raul Angulo (Colorist), Ed Dukeshire (Letterer)
RELEASED: March 29, 2023

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I think at this point I can safely say that, despite the talent of the creators involved, this MMPR/TMNT sequel isn’t doing it for me the way the original did. I will say, however, that the “Mutant Rangers” and the “Power Turtles” look pretty epic on a cover together.

Mora gets to draw some classic MMPR monsters in this issue, which is a nice treat. Bones, the Terror Toad, Madame Woe, etc. Mora is also tremendous at drawing the Turtles. What can I say? The guy’s good.

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

A Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers #106 Micro-Review – A Juggling Act

***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 106, cover, March 2023, Taurin ClarkeTITLE: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #106
AUTHOR: Melissa Flores
ARTISTS:  Simone Di Gianfelice, Raul Angulo (Colorist), Ed Dukeshire (Letterer). Cover by Taurin Clarke.
RELEASED: March 22, 2023

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

For a long time now, dating back to before Melissa Flores’ run on the book, these BOOM! Studios MMPR books have been juggling a lot of characters. We’ve got our traditional Rangers and their supporting cast, the Omega Rangers and their supporting cast, the villains, etc. It can get a little overwhelming.

That being said, in this issue there’s a really nice little scene between Tommy and Jason. Just a nice dialogue scene between two characters, with some great emotion at the end. Nicely done.

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

MMPR: Once & Always – 5 Questions Heading In…

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The Power Rangers franchise is about to celebrate 30 years of action and adventure with an anniversary special, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always, that’s set to release April 19 on Netflix.

The much-anticipated special got a long-awaited trailer this week…

Once & Always promises to be something special for Power Rangers fans, specifically those of us who grew up with the original Mighty Morphin show. But while the trailer answers a few lingering questions fans have had relating to the story, a few lingering queries and doubts remain. At least in my bulbous, German head. Let’s touch on some of those, shall we?

MMPR Once and Always, Trini photo

1. The question of Trini’s death
We’ve known for awhile now that actress and martial artist Charlie Kersch would be playing a character named Minh, the daughter of Trini, the original Yellow Ranger. Naturally, this sparked questions about how the franchise would, decades after her actress Thuy Trang’s tragic death in 2001, handle her not being there. Thanks to the above trailer, we now have an answer: The Trini character, in her Yellow Ranger outfit for obvious reasons, is killed off by Robo-Rita. It looks like she gets zapped trying to save Billy, and then falls off a cliff.

That’s…not how I would have handled it, necessarily. I’d have done it off screen, and maybe kept things a little vague as to how it happened. Maybe not have her death be the inciting incident that it apparently is here.

But at the same time, I understand that fans have had more than two decades to think about Thuy Trang’s death, the Trini character, etc., and come up with different scenarios in their own minds. When something like this actually plays out on screen, and it’s different than you envision, it can be jarring. In truth, based on what we’ve seen so far, there’s nothing wrong with how Once & Always handles Trini’s death. At the very least, it gives the character the heroic send-off she deserves.

David Yost, Billy Cranston, MMPR Once and Always

2. When did Billy get back from Aquitar?
David Yost, who played the original Blue Ranger Billy, was famously absent from the show when his character was written off. (David Yost had walked off the set, for reasons we wouldn’t know until many years later.) They slapped together a story about him suddenly aging rapidly and having to journey to the aquatic planet of Aquitar to get better. An older actor was brought in to play Billy, an the character was sent off never to be seen again. Until now.

Given the attention Once & Always appears to be giving to to details, as well as the show’s history, I can only assume we’re going to get some sort of explanation for why and when Billy came back. It doesn’t have to be much. A simple expository line would be fine.

Either way, as much as anybody else’s return to the show, David Yost’s comeback deserves to be celebrated.

Rocky, firefighter, MMPR Once and Always

3. What have the Rangers been doing since we last saw them?
Some of these characters have been back before. Johnny Yong Bosch came back for a pair of episodes in 2007 to celebrate the show’s 15th anniversary. Steve Cardenas (Rocky) and Catherine Sutherland (Katherine) were both back as recently as the 25th anniversary episode of Power Rangers Ninja Steel. But Once & Always will be the first chance we’ve had to place emphasis on some of those characters since we last saw them. So naturally, certain questions come to mind. What they’ve been doing, whether they have families and children, etc.

Again, these aren’t things we need to devote extensive time to. Simple expository lines will do. But it can obviously be more than that. Based on what we’ve seen, Adam and Aisha have obviously been up to something together (more on that in a moment). You’ve got to be quick to catch it in the trailer, but Rocky can be seen in firefighter garb (shown above). We also know that Tommy, who we don’t see in the special, has a son named JJ. If we’re to believe, as we’ve been told, that the BOOM! Studios comics are (at least somewhat) canon, then Katherine is JJ’s mother.

These are the kinds of little details that geeks like me obsess over. Here’s hoping we get some more.

Aisha, Adam, MMPR Once and Always

4. What is S.P.A.?
When the first images from the set were released online, fans were quick to notice that Adam and Aisha were wearing matching shirts with tags that read “SPA.” Assuming they don’t work at some kind of intergalactic health spa, this invited plenty of speculation about their connections to SPD, the interplanetary law enforcement agency we saw in 2005’s Power Rangers SPD. As SPD took place in the future (the year 2025, to be specific), are we to assume SPA is some sort of predecessor to SPD?

Again, little details…

5. Where did Robo-Rita come from?

Our enemy for Once & Aways is a robotic version of Rita Repulsa, the original Power Rangers baddie. Her line, “I found a new body!” is a little perplexing. It seems to imply she was drifting around in some invisible, perhaps spiritual form for a long time. That doesn’t fit with what we saw happen to Rita in “Countdown to Destruction” back in Power Rangers in Space. But we’ll see what the special tells us…

So where did this new Robo-Rita come from? It could have been any number of places, I suppose. But I do know one guy who could very well have had a hand in it…

Robo-Rita Repulsa, MMPR Once and Always

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

An MMPR/TMNT II #3 Micro-Review – Dan Mora’s Main Event

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

MMPR TMNT II, cover, February 2023, Dan MoraTITLE: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II #3
AUTHOR: Ryan Parrott
Dan Mora, Raul Angulo (Colorist), Ed Dukeshire (Letterer)

RELEASED: February 22, 2022

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Dan Mora really gets a work-out in on this one. He draws the hell out of Shredder, gives Krang a bitchin’ new robot suit, and then debuts the “Mighty Mutant Power Rangers.” Somebody give that man a cookie. He earned it.

In truth, Mora’s art is really the big draw for me on this book. As good a writer as Ryan Parrott is, especially when it comes to the Power Rangers, the plot here feels a little too convoluted for my taste. Too many characters, too much to keep in play, etc.

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

A Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #105 Micro-Review – A Friggin’ Van!

***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 105, cover, February 2023, Taurin ClarkeTITLE: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #105
AUTHOR: Melissa Flores
Simona Di Gianfelice, Raul Angulo (Colorist), Ed Dukeshire (Letterer). Cover by Taurin Clarke.
February 15, 2023

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Late in the issue, we see the Rangers stash Lord Zedd an his minions in a friggin’ van! A van! I’ve complained about the bizarre use of vans on the show, but I didn’t think we’d see them here in the comics!

On a similarly bizarre note, there’s a panel in here where Adam kicks a robot between the legs. Uh…what effect did he think that was going to have?

We’ve got another great cover from Taurin Clarke. There’s also a page in here where the Rangers summon their zords that Di Gianfelice and Angulo knock out of the park.

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