‘It’s Morphin’ Time!’ – Boom!’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1 Recap
written by Kyle Higgins; art by Hendry Prasetya; colors by Matt Herms; letters by Jim Campbell
These are exciting times for Ranger fans and Boom! Studios is making the most of it. Last time, I took a look at the one-shot Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #0. It was a fantastic re-introduction to a universe that’s often seen as childish and less highly regarded than other IP’s such as Transformers or He-Man even though a lot of themes are similar.
Boom! Studios gave us a repackaged Power Rangers aimed at the more mature fan. These comics have a broad appeal but primarily cater to the fans who loved the show as kids and want to see a more realistic take on the trials and tribulations of being a team of colour-coded superheroes. This new take features heroes with genuine doubts and fears in a world where a mistake has real consequences. It’s a fantastically refreshing view of the titular Rangers.
The story in the one-shot takes place immediately after the Rangers defeated Rita’s evil Green Ranger and broke his programming, turning him good. It tells of him still being haunted by Rita’s brainwashing and struggling to fit in to his new group. This leads to him misunderstanding a command from Jason, the Red Ranger, and making a mistake that almost leads to loss of life.
Back at the Command Centre, Tommy and Jason butt heads and are reprimanded by Zordon. This initial misunderstanding adds a whole new level of conflict to the relationship. Even more so if you remember that eventually Tommy will lead the team as the White Ranger. It’s good to see that Tommy and Jason’s friendship hasn’t fully formed yet. Back in the show, they were best buds almost instantly. It was a little jarring because up until that point, Jason And Zak were the best friends of the team and after Tommy’s arrival, Zak was kind of pushed aside. It made sense because Jason and Tommy had more in common, but it would’ve been nice to see it develop organically.
Fast forward to issue one and we see the seeds sown with the one-shot starting to grow and develop. The issue starts with a fantastic way of delivering exposition and a quick recap. Bulk and Skull are filming a video for their Youtube channel about the Rangers. The way it’s done is great because it acknowledges one of Bulk and Skull’s more endearing character traits; their admiration of the Power Rangers. It’s also an entertaining way of catching the readers up and also, they interview people and get their views on what’s happening. As far as people are concerned the Green Ranger is an enemy of the others and now, suddenly, he’s fighting alongside them. The show never addressed this, and I’m glad Kyle Higgins has in this comic.
In reality, the public would almost certainly question and initially mistrust Tommy’s new alignment.
Also, the other Rangers’ personalities are given more depth. In this issue, Zak isn’t sleeping and blames the ‘stuff at home.’ He’s also not entirely convinced about Tommy. It just fits. Out of them all, Zak is the one who would be most likely to doubt the new arrangement. As Jason’s best friend and the beta male of the team, he’d have the most to lose from Tommy joining the team. Armchair psychology aside, they’ve set up a nice little sub-plot with the mystery of Zak’s apparent insomnia.
Tommy and Kimberly’s romance starts to show up. Kim invites Tommy for a coffee. He ultimately misses the date because of a training simulation he feels he failed. So far, his own doubts have gotten in the way of him bonding with the others. I’m sure it’ll be resolved, but in the meantime it’s great to see this develop and affect the characters. The only characters that remain slightly underdeveloped are Billy and Trini. They get a line of dialogue here and there but it’s not a lot and certainly not enough to give them much in the way of development.
Another superb addition to the lore is the aforementioned training. Zordon guides Tommy through a simulation of a monster attack. Much like the Kobayashi Maru from Star Trek, the scenario is unwinnable and is a test of how a Ranger reacts when the odds are stacked against them. The simulation is a great device within the plot from which to develop Tommy’s sense of self-doubt. He stays behind when Kim leaves to keep training even though Zordon informs him that it’s un-winnable. It’s such a unique take on Tommy, who in the show came across as confident 90% of the time and only really showed weakness if the plot called for it.
Speaking of new takes on characters, Rita is portrayed as more calculating and cunning in this version. The cackling witch who just sends monsters out on a whim with a flimsy plan is gone. In her place is someone who seems to be playing a long game, although it’s currently unclear what that game is. But it does seem to involve a criminally underused character from the show; Scorpina. Okay, she doesn’t get much in the way of a personality but the fact that she’s being utilized as more than just someone to occupy the Rangers is a step up from the originals.
The artwork, yet again, is top-notch. The battle scenes are dynamic and full of energy and the detail is incredible, particularly on the villains during a scene in Rita’s moon palace. This art would look incredible in a frame on my wall.
Continuing on from issue #0, we also get the next installment of ‘The Ongoing Adventures Of Bulk And Skull.’ It’s only two pages and to be honest, it’s most just a bit of fluff and saves it being a part of the main story. I don’t say this because it’s bad, but the focus of the story would be lost if suddenly you had this Bulk and Skull story going on in the middle of it. Besides, the main story had plenty of the comical duo.
Boom! Studios continues to impress me as this series progresses. So much so, that I have considered taking out a subscription so I don’t miss an issue. Yes, it’s that good. It just takes everything I loved, and still love, about the show and improves on them while introducing new elements and perspectives. Boom! Studios is quickly becoming one of the publishers I enjoy the most. With a Pink Ranger spin-off on the way, it’s only going to get better. I’d love to see a legends story with Rangers from other teams. Who knows what the future holds. Keep up the good work guys.
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