Warning: We need Megazord power! IT’S SPOILER TIME!
Once, back in college, I remember skipping class for a whole week to sit in my room and watch the first season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers on DVD. As for why I was buying DVDs of a children’s show in college—well, it was college. I’m sure you can guess.
The point is that, even years after (sort of) growing up, there’s something about this multicolored team of monster fighters that appeals to me. And given the very strong opinions about the new “gritty reboot” planned to hit theaters in 2017, I’m not the only one. I even read an article somewhere that suggested the film was going to fail if they didn’t cast Liam Neeson as Zordon. That is a very specific and rather odd complaint, but it’s out there. The Power Rangers are important to people, and we want to see them handled with love and care.
BOOM! Studios has proven their ability to do just that with the release of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #0 this week, and I could not be more delighted with the results. My only question when the comic was first announced was just what we’d be seeing. Would it be a new story, or would we be rehashing tales with which we were already familiar? Then I saw the pricey-yet-affordable Green Ranger variant on Midtown’s website, and I practically let out a squeal. I figured the White Ranger variant was just an extra for the fans, but a Green Ranger variant that an internet writer can actually afford? Tommy was definitely going to factor into this story.
And boy, does he ever. The comic opens with Tommy dressed as the Green Ranger, standing alongside the villainous Rita Repulsa. The rest of the Rangers lie dead at their feet. It’s a dark, dark opening. But everything about it is absolutely delicious. The menacing dialogue by writer Kyle Higgins, the striking illustrations by artist Hendry Prasetya, and the dynamic blend of colors by Matt Herms had me hooked from the very first page.
The whole thing turns out to be something of a dream, or perhaps a vision. The “Green With Evil” storyline of the original television series has already taken place, and Tommy is just beginning to settle in with the rest of the crew. This is basically his story, although Red Ranger Jason naturally features prominently as well. The seeds appear to be set for some conflict between Jason and Tommy in upcoming issues, and there are also a few seeds planted for a romance between Tommy and Pink Ranger Kimberly.
While the rest of the crew is a little ignored in this first outing, it’s sort of understandable. Billy gets a few lines to establish his nerdy ways, but he doesn’t do too much as the Blue Ranger. The Yellow and Black Rangers don’t do a whole lot either, although Trini and Zack still feel pretty true to the original.
In fact, everything feels true to the original. But between the artwork, the dialogue, and the sense of darkness in Tommy’s overall character arc, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #0 has clearly been geared toward a modern audience. This is a comic for people who loved the original series, but who are looking for a more mature manner of storytelling.
This is not to say that the comic isn’t kid-friendly. In fact, it walks the line between youth and adult audiences better than a great deal of comics out there. This fact is accentuated in the inevitable battle between the Bullzer (a monster gifted to Rita by Finster, who makes a brief appearance) and the Zords. Tommy struggles with his Dragonzord, and a bridge collapses. Kim has to leave the Megazord to try and help some motorists from falling to their doom. Everything works out, but the sense of death is tangible. If not for Kim, the collateral damage of their battle would have killed civilians. And Tommy’s struggles come close to killing the Rangers, something which Jason is not likely to forget. There’s nothing really so dark about this scene that you wouldn’t give it to your kid, but it’s still mature enough for older readers to appreciate.
Other classic characters such as Zordon and Alpha 5 make appearances as well. We even briefly get Scorpina. While the comic feels a bit short, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #0 does succeed in setting up quite a bit of story for future issues. The ending is especially intriguing, hinting at a menacing plan by Rita. Between her plans for revenge on Zordon, Jason and Tommy’s disagreements, and the hope for more dialogue from the rest of the Rangers in future issues, this is looking to be a rather promising series.
There are also two back-up stories. The first revolves around Bulk and Skull. Not much happens, but the story by Steve Orlando is humorous and sets the characters up to do a lot more in future issues. Corin Howell’s illustrations and Jeremy Lawson’s coloring fit the tone of the script, but the best part of this comic is simply that it looks like the two characters will be regulated primarily to these stories. It’s nice to have them around, but they don’t need to feature in the main story with such a limited page count. Giving them their own thing was a brilliant move.
The second back-up story is written by one of my favorite comic book writers, Mairghread Scott. This is where the Blue, Black, and Yellow Rangers get a chance to shine a bit more (as do their Dinozords). Illustrated by Daniel Bayliss, this story feels a bit more like the classics. It also features an appearance by Goldar, as well as the Putties. It’s kind of a weird story, both joining and ending a battle while in progress. Nevertheless, there’s something nice and digestible about it. I definitely wouldn’t complain about its inclusion.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #0 appears to be setting up something ambitious, a line of comics that will appeal to fans of all ages while balancing numerous characters in relatively few pages. While this reviewer found it nice and digestible, some may disagree. Either way, fans of the original series should be excited to see where this incarnation is headed in the future. As long as the art remains as fresh and the writing as well-balanced as they are in this debut issue, this series should indeed be quite mighty.