Posted in Power Rangers, Television

Power Rangers Dino Fury, “Unexpected Guest” Review

SERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
TITLE: S28:E8 – “Unexpected Guest”
STARRING: Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya, Tessa Rao, Chance Perez
GUEST-STARRING: Kelson Henderson
WRITERS: Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale, Maiya Thompson
DIRECTOR: Michael Hurst
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: April 17, 2021
SYNOPSIS: The Rangers get some unexpected aid from Mick, who has followed the Nexus Prism back to Earth.

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

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Nice high-energy start to the episode as we see the end of a Megazord battle. We see the Megazord fail after taking Wolfgang’s energy blasts. Not sure if I’ve ever seen a Megazord crumble like that before. It crumpled like it was made of Legos.

Moments after the battle we get the return of Mick from Power Rangers Ninja Steel. Not sure why they opted to have Kelson Henderson return as the character, but I certainly won’t complain. It’s always good to see him.

Zayto was kind of a jerk to Mick. The Rangers had no time to help him? At all? I mean, granted their Megazord had just fallen apart. But he is a visitor from another world. Couldn’t they have given him an I.O.U.?

Ah yes, a cake gag. Straight out of the Bulk and Skull playbook.

So Mick has a handheld database with info on all the other Ranger teams. That’s how he fills the Dino Fury team in on the Nexus Prism. Seems like it’d be kinda catastrophic if that thing were to fall into the wrong hands.

Not that I’m pitching a fanfic or anything…

Good use of footage from past seasons during the Morphing Masters sequence. That’s the kind of thing that seems really small and obvious. That’s the kind of thing that seems so small and obvious. But it does a lot in terms of reminding us these seasons don’t take place in a vacuum.

The Morphing Masters are always watching, huh? That seems like the kind of thing we’d want to stash in our memory for later this season.

Unlike last week, Boomtower did bite the dust this time. How much you wanna bet Void Knight’s new “general” shows up in the very next episode? Hardly a guarantee. But possible.

We see Void Knight has a woman he calls “my love” in stasis in a secret chamber. Looks like our villain has a Mr. Freeze complex…

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

Posted in Power Rangers

Power Rangers Beast Morphers, “Beasts Unleashed” Review

*** You know what I am? A multi-tasker. That’s why, as Power Rangers Dino Fury is in full swing, I’ll also be looking back at Power Rangers Beast Morphers. Why? Because I can!!!***

SERIES: Power Rangers Beast Morphers
EPISODE: S26:E1. “Beasts Unleashed”
STARRING: Rorrie D. Travis, Jazz Baduwalia, Jacqueline Scislowski, Abraham Rodriguez
WRITER: Chip Lynn
DIRECTORS: Simon Bennett, Yuji Noguchi
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: March 2, 2019
SYNOPSIS: An evil computer virus sabotages a city’s attempt to use the Morphing Grid for clean energy. Three new Rangers rise to take on the threat.

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

It’s fun to me that the Morphing Grid has, over time, become more and more of a character on the show. This thing, essentially used as a piece of expository tech dialogue way back in the Mighty Morphin days, has grown and grown to the point that it’s now an active piece of Power Rangers lore. And in the case of Beast Morphers, a pivotal part of the show’s premise. Morph X, a clean energy source derived from the grid, is being used not only to power the Rangers and their tech, but the city they reside in as well. That’s a really cool premise, and a clever way to use the concept of the grid.

But for crying out loud, is it “Morphin Grid” or “Morphing Grid?” Because I’ve heard it said both ways…

Devon Daniels, our new Red Ranger, reminds me a lot of Zack from Mighty Morphin. Rorrie D. Travis injects a lot of charisma into the character. Mere minutes into the premiere, I can tell he was a good casting choice.

Jazz Baduwalia, who plays Ravi, is the first Indian actor to play a Power Ranger.  I remember being shocked when I heard that. Yes, diverse casting deserves to be celebrated. But the show also deserves to be called out for this one. Beast Morphers is the 26th season of Power Rangers, a show that has supposedly had diversity built into its DNA from the start. And yet there had never been a Ranger of Indian descent until now? To me, that’s more sad than anything else. Sadder still is the fact that we’re now on season 28, and we still haven’t had a Middle Eastern Ranger…

You really can’t blame Devon for sneaking into Grid Battleforce, can you? He’s a gamer, and Grid Battleforce sounds like it was plucked directly from a video game.

Devon’s dad, the mayor of Coral Harbor, references Rita Repulsa, Sledge, and Galvanax when talking about villains who’ve wanted to steal the Rangers’ powers. That’s a nice little moment, harkening back to not just the first season, but Dino Charge and Ninja Steel too.

Nate Silva, the genius “child prodigy” character played by Abraham Rodriguez, annoys me for some reason. Like Will Wheaton in Star Trek: The Next Generation, he’s got a very punchable face.

The Beast Morphers suits are…different. Even by kids standards, the spandex costumes on this show have always required a pretty big suspension of disbelief, not the least of which because of the zippers in back being clearly visible. In contrast, these suits appear to be made of a leathery material, with the zippers clearly visible in front for some reason.

I don’t dislike them, though. They’re an ingredient that makes Beast Morphers stand out amongst other seasons. Would I want the suits to be like this every season? No. But as a one-off they’re perfectly fine.

For whatever reason, Power Rangers loves to tinker with the DNA of its heroes. Case in point, Beast Morphers is merging human and animal DNA to give the Rangers animal-themed super powers. The speed of a cheetah, the strength of a gorilla, etc. As far as the risk/reward ratio is concerned, I wonder how that stacks up against being bitten by a radioactive spider. Or perhaps a radioactive jackrabbit…

Yeah, the Yellow Ranger’s DNA was merged with that of a jackrabbit. Cheetah. Gorilla. Jackrabbit. One of these things is not like the others.

For the uninitiated, Power Rangers is made using footage from the Japanese show Super Sentai. So the producers of Power Rangers are to a large extent beholden to what the Japanese creators do. In this case, I’d love to be able to ask those creators…Why a jackrabbit?

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

Posted in Power Rangers, Television

Power Rangers Dino Fury Episode 1 Review

SERIES: Power Rangers Dino Fury
EPISODE: S28.E1. “Destination Dinohenge”
STARRING: Russell Curry, Hunter Deno, Kai Moya
WRITERS: Becca Barnes, Alwyn Dale
DIRECTOR: Charlie Haskell
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: February 20, 2021
SYNOPSIS: Two youngsters uncover Dinohenge, a lair containing secrets from 65 million years ago…

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

I like that Amelia, our new Pink Ranger, is a reporter. It creates a cool little Clark Kent/Superman vibe. More importantly, reporters are the often unsung heroes of our society. So it’s nice that Power Rangers is creating that connection for kids. I also like the name of the web site she works for: “Buzz Blast.” It’s a thinly veiled allusion to BuzzFeed.

Apparently Amelia is also a Ghostbuster. That “spook snare” reminded me of the Ninja Steel premiere, when Sarah showed up with an honest-to-God hoverboard.

So Dinohenge is filled with “Hengemen,” who will apparently serve as the henchmen for this season. Get it? Hengemen? Henchmen? Brilliant…

As the Hengemen are preparing to attack, Amelia says she’s taken three years of karate. Ollie, our new Blue Ranger, replies with “Yeah, me too.” Does that mean Ollie has taken three years of karate too? If so, that’s a remarkable coincidence even by kids show standards. I’d like to think it was just a general affirmation that he too knows karate.

After they’ve morphed, and Amelia asks Ollie what else they get with these new powers, he says: “If you watch the news, zords!” I like that line a lot. Not only does it tie into Amelia’s job, but it’s a nice reference to the fact that the Power Rangers get plenty of news coverage in their universe.

Design-wise, those helmets are pretty busy. They’re going to be an acquired taste. But I’ll get there.

The bad guy’s name in this episode is “Void Knight.” I can’t decide if I like that name. Look at a thesaurus, and you’ll see it’s a degree or two away from “Bare Champion.” You don’t want a Bare Champion on Power Rangers. Bear Champion? Maybe. Bare Champion? No.

After we get acquainted with Zayto, our new Red Ranger freshly awakened from a 65 million year hypersleep, he reads Amelia and Ollie’s minds. He calls Ollie “a rational, logical adventurer and scientist.” He refers to Amelia as, an “imaginative, unstoppable truth seeker.”

It’s rare that a show flat out gives you the rundown for some of its characters. It’s contrived, yet amusing.

I wonder what Russell Curry, who plays Zayto, thinks of those tentacles he has to wear. You think they told him that at the audition? Probably not.

Solon, our resident helper (a la Alpha 5 or Redbot) this season, is a cyborg dinosaur. That’s amazing. Have we not had a cyborg dinosaur in two and a half decades of Power Rangers? I’m thinkin’ we haven’t…

We see the Morphing Masters (or is it Morphin Masters?) in this episode. That name dates all the way back to an expository line from season one. But we’ve never seen any characters called the Morphing Masters until now. That level of attention to detail, especially on a show primarily meant for young children, is really cool.

Zayto says the other Knights of Rafkon were “lost” in battle. Which, in Power Rangers speak, means they probably died. So who wants to bet on when one or all of them shows up in an episode? Are we thinking end of season one? Or are we going into season two?

Overall, I dug this premiere. I tend to like it when the show paces itself like it did here. We haven’t had any zords or big city battles yet. The show took its time and allowed us to get to know Amelia and Ollie a little bit. Things felt like they unfolded organically.

A good start to what will hopefully be a good series.

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

Posted in Power Rangers, Television

Jenna Rae Frank Coming to Power Rangers?

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Is Jason David Frank’s daughter about to turn Power Rangers into a family business?

PopLurker.com stirred up the Power Rangers fandom Saturday morning, with the story: “Actress Jenna Rae Frank Rumored to Lead Power Rangers as the Next Red Ranger.”

Jason David Frank, of course, played Tommy, the Green Ranger, on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in the early ’90s. He stuck with the show until 1997, returned for a season in 2004, and has done a few one-offs since then. He currently co-owns Power Morphicon Express, a traveling fan convention making its first stop next spring in Pasedena, TX.

Mind you, the article is only a “What if they did this?” fan pitch. It offers nothing in the way of evidence. But lets not be foolish enough to dismiss it outright.

For one thing, this is obviously something the Franks want. I suspect they were actually involved in getting the PopLurker story published, as it conveniently coincides with this “action audition” posted to 14-year-old Jenna’s YouTube page…

According to her IMDB page, Frank’s only on-screen credit, outside of appearing in her father’s YouTube show My Morphin Life, is an episode of 6 Rounds of Chloe, which is labeled as “filming.”

For the record, I’m not saying putting her on the show would be a bad decision. A sort of “legacy” choice like this would drum up a lot of good will with older fans. Which, now that the franchise is under the new ownership of Hasbro, would be a wise publicity move.

Plus, you’ve got to believe JDF would want at least a little on-camera time with his daughter, so it would give them a nice excuse to bring Tommy back again. The Christmas episode of Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel just did something like that with brothers Yoshi  and Peter Sudarso.

Power Rangers Beast Morphers premieres premieres on Nickelodeon this February, and is expected to run through 2020. So the soonest we might expect to see Frank on screen with a morpher in her hand would be early 2021.

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

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels

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.

Posted in Television

That Power Rangers 25th Anniversary Photo: Pulling Back the Curtain!

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

So yesterday, like a perfectly normal 33-year-old man, I geeked out over a photo from a children’s show.

But not just any children’s show. The Power Rangers 25th anniversary episode, which is set to air August 28 on Nickelodeon. In prime time, no less.

As you can likely tell, I’m an un-closeted, unabashed PR geek. As such, I can tell you history dictates that an anniversary show usually means appearances from past Rangers. With this big anniversary approaching, we were all expecting an episode with some familiar faces. We just weren’t entirely sure who we’d see. This week, we got our first official confirmations with this photo from IGN…

For the uninitiated, these are (left to right) Catherine Sutherland, Jason Faunt, and Jason David Frank, reprising their roles as Katherine, Wes, and Tommy. All three are regulars on the convention circuit nowadays, so it’s not necessarily a huge shock to see them. But while JDF and Jason Faunt both appeared on the show’s 20th anniversary episode, this will be Sutherland’s first on-screen appearance for PR since 1997. So it’s obviously quite special to see her with a morpher on again.

Oddly enough, some fans have balked at Kat using the Turbo powers, as opposed to the Zeo powers. The argument being that while she eventually passed her Turbo powers on to someone else, she was the one and only Pink Zeo Ranger. While I admit that given the choice I’d have her use the Zeo powers, I’m not going to nitpick it. I’m just happy to have her back.

Look closely, and you’ll see Tommy is using the Green Ranger power coin. So he’ll be the Green Ranger again, as he was when we last saw him. It makes sense, as the Green Ranger has more nostalgic value than almost anything else in the series. But I’ve actually got a soft spot for Tommy as the White Ranger. I almost wish they’d swerve us and go that way.

As for who else we’ll see on the show, there’s a list of names out there of PR actors spotted in New Zealand (where the show is filmed) during production. But again, nothing is confirmed. The only unannounced name that I think is pretty obvious is Ciara Hanna, who played Gia in Power Rangers Mega Force. She recently did some business with the show alongside JDF. So I don’t think it’s much of a stretch.

Either way, here’s hoping this show is as special as we’re all hoping it will be. After enduring for 25 years, the series deserves at least that much.

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

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Panels of Awesomeness

Panels of Awesomeness: MMPR Anniversary Special #1

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

CREATORS: Sina Grace (Illustrator), Eleonora Bruni (Colorist)

THE SCENE: In this 25th anniversary issue, the Ninja Steel Power Rangers meet Alpha 5, who has come to ask for help.

WHY IT’S AWESOME: Sadly, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Anniversary Special #1 doesn’t quite measure up to some of the epic multi-story annuals that have preceded it. But it does have its moments. For instance, there’s a terrific story about Karone standing trial for her crimes as Astronema.

But in terms of nostalgic feels worthy of a 25th anniversary issue, Sina Grace’s story about Alpha 5 and the Ninja Steel Rangers takes the cake. Frankly, seeing a story where Alpha is still around is a feel-good moment in and of itself. For a long time, the belief among many fan has been that Alpha 5 was destroyed off-camera when Dark Specter captured Zordon before Power Rangers in Space. That’s a heck of a downer ending for such a beloved character.

Grace’s figure renderings are excellent, especially in the big panel at the top. He does a great job of capturing Mick’s face. What’s more, Kelson Henderson, who plays Mick, has played a variety of roles on the show over the years. So to see him standing with Alpha is very fitting for an anniversary issue.

Moving downward, I love the shot of the Rangers over Alpha’s domed head. And because they’re kids, they don’t quite grasp who they’re looking at. Preston actually calls the original Power Rangers “the dinosaur ones.” Notwithstanding, of course, that they’re been a few dinosaur teams at this point…

And then you’ve got the lower left panel of the two characters running from something. There’s a lot of energy here, between the way Mick and Alpha are posed, and what Grace does with the background. To cap it off, we’ve got the ridiculous outfit Alpha is in. It’s utterly nonsensical, but charmingly silly in that Power Rangers sort of way.

Question: Is BOOM! Studios about to lose the publishing rights to Power Rangers now that Hasbro owns the franchise? As many of us know, Hasbro already licenses Transformers, G.I. Joe, and numerous other IPs to IDW. That’d be a raw deal for BOOM, as they’ve really put PR on the map in terms of the comic book industry. Some of the stories they’ve given us these last few years have been simply priceless.

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