The following review may contain spoilers for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #4.
The last few issues of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers have brought us ever closer to the reveal of a few mysteries, many of which pay off in the latest issue. Not only does Rita’s plan involving the crystal and the Dragon Dagger come to fruition, but we also learn more about Tommy’s hallucinations. The latter mystery leads Tommy to a much-needed moment of self-discovery. The former leads to a major kaiju battle in which we get to see some extended action by the individual Zords. Considering how often the show had the team resorting immediately to the Megazord, scenes like this are always welcome.
Tommy’s internal battle toward the end was also quite welcome, as it’s hard to say whether or not his hallucinations would have sustained the story much longer. There’s only one downside, which is that his epiphany leads him to directly defy Jason’s orders that he stay out of the field. In many ways, this is actually great, as it leads to an awesome encounter between Scorpina and the Green Ranger in the cockpit of the Dragonzord (Tommy’s entrance in this scene is especially epic). Unfortunately, while Tommy might have single-handedly saved the entire team, the rift between them only grows wider. Although, to be fair, Walter Whi—ahem, Zordon—pretty much told Tommy that this would happen.
It’s hard to say how I feel about this part of the story. In many ways, Kyle Higgins does an excellent job writing the team’s fractured dynamic. Everyone does a good job of justifying their viewpoint on the issue, and each character’s reaction is rather believable. The only problem is that when everyone seems to be right, everyone also seems to be a tad bit wrong. Tommy, Jason and Zack all show some pretty unlikable sides to their characters in the last few pages, even if they do so while making some very valid points about each other’s behavior. Again, this is believable and is in many ways excellent characterization. I just find that I’m more than a little bit ready for the whole thing to blow over.
Fortunately, this might happen quite soon. The introduction of an awesome new threat at the end of the issue implies that the Power Rangers will finally have to get their act together and start acting as a team. If Tommy overcoming his personal issues and demonstrating himself as an asset wasn’t enough to sway Jason and Zack from their distrust, teamwork is the only thing that will make it happen. This would redeem the “we can’t trust Tommy” storyline a bit, as we’d get to see them organically grow into a team so that they can face new threats together as they move forward into bigger story arcs.
One thing that both the writing and artwork accomplish quite well in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #4 is keeping a lot of balls in the air at once without letting them fall. We learn more about Tommy and Trini while also checking in with Goldar. This is all in addition to an already big plot line, and none of it feels rushed. As for the Zord/kaiju battle referenced earlier, this is the sort of scene that would fall apart if not for an artist of Hendry Prasetya’s skill. Even the letters by Ed Dukeshire add to this, color-coding speech bubbles in major action scenes to prevent confusion as to who’s speaking. Add Matt Herms’ colors to the mix, and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is one of the most aesthetically pleasing series out there at the moment.
No review of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers would be complete without at least a brief reference to “The Ongoing Adventures of Bulk & Skull,” with writing by Steve Orlando, illustrations by Corin Howell, colors by Jeremy Lawson and letters by Jim Campbell. We finally get to see the two stooges’ heroic plan fall into place, and it all goes predictably awry. It’s unfortunate if you were hoping to see Bulk and Skull do some real fighting which, if unrealistic, would have made an interesting change. Nevertheless, Kim and Trini get a neat little action beat that makes the mini-adventure feel absolutely worth its page space. The slug promoting the next installment also plays off of the dialogue in a clever way, making us wonder what’s next for our bumbling heroes.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #4 continues the series’ reputation for managing to strike a balance between artwork that feels true to the show and storytelling that feels as if it’s matured with the fans. It would be nice to see the team stop arguing so much, but that change feels as if it’s just over the horizon. As long as the quality of the art and writing keep up as well as they have, it’ll definitely be worth it to keep reading and find out.