Like most kids who grew up in the 90’s I loved The Power Rangers, I mean what wasn’t to love? It was about a group of badass teenagers with attitude who wore colourful outfits and rode around in robot dinosaurs kicking all kinds of ass. Of course as I grew up I realised how cheesy some of the dialogue was and yes, the writers may have gone a tad overboard with the whole “power of friendship” motif but it remained an enjoyable show at its core. Which is why I have always maintained that if they wrote the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers for a more mature audience they would have an absolute hit on their hands and now, I have actual proof. The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers “Boom!” comic.(“Damn it guys! We’re not leaving until we perfect the pose!”)
Volume one takes place right after Tommy Oliver, a.k.a The Green Ranger (like you didn’t know), breaks free of the control of the villainous Rita Repulsa and teams up with the Power Rangers. Even as a child I always found it strange that the Rangers just accepted Tommy without hesitation, I mean this guy leveled a city and almost killed them, but they just said “no worries, grab a colour coordinated outfit”. In this version however, while the Rangers are willing to bring him aboard, they each have their own reservations to varying extents. By doing this it humanises the Rangers, we get to see how they think and how they react in certain situations and that goes a long way to helping the reader connect with them.
The two most interesting reactions come from Jason, the Red Ranger and leader of the Power Rangers and Zack, The Black ranger. Now I may be alone in this, but growing up I always thought of Zack as 2nd in command, a belief that has now been confirmed. And given his status as number 2 it makes his reaction all the more telling, a reaction born out of jealousy. While, never explicitly stated, the clues are there, there is plenty of subtext and subtle implications but it is confirmed when he is all too quick to reprimand Tommy for disobeying Jason’s order. Cementing the suspicion that his concern isn’t all altruistic.
Jason’s reaction is slightly nobler; he is torn between trying to do what’s right for the team/the world and helping a friend find his way. Now, if this would have been the TV show they would’ve left it at that, I mean, that’s as good as any motivation for a character, but the writers went a step further in order to develop Jason in to a more well-rounded character. You see as the story progresses we get the sense that Jason feels inadequate next to Tommy, Tommy is mysterious, powerful and clearly a skilled fighter. This is compounded when Jason’s sensei asks if Tommy would like to help him teach a class, watering the seeds of jealousy that had already been planted. These little touches are a wonderful addition to the canon and they help define Jason’s personality.
Another thing I loved was how they delved in to Tommy’s mental and emotional state after being under the influence and control of a genocidal monster. In the show they just kind of glossed over it and said “he’s fine now”, but here we get to witness first hand Tommy’s guilt, his lingering doubts about joining such a well knit group or his worthiness of redemption. In fact the majority of the first volume is Tommy battling hallucinations of Rita telling him how worthless and evil he is all while his “friends” question his mental state and motives. It’s just damn good writing.(Aaaarrggghhh!! Bad Touch!)
But it’s not just Tommy, Jason and Zack that get more characterisation, it’s all the rangers. Take Billy for example; while he has always been portrayed as a genius, this comic takes the opportunity to explore some of his doubts and fears. Showing us that, while he is holding his own, it comes at the cost of training twice as long and twice as hard just to about keep up. Then we have Trini, another of the Rangers that gets glossed over in the show, shown in this iteration to be a master tactician and almost as smart as Billy. We witness her strategise under pressure, match the other rangers in combat and empathise with others. I’ll be honest. Before now I never really cared too much about either Billy or Trini, but after reading this, I am rooting for both of them.
And what would a good comic book be without great artwork? Well, they’d be Rob Liefeld comics but that’s by the by, the artist for this comic is one of immense talent and creativity, Hendry Prasetya. Prasetya’s art style manages to capture the essence of the original Power Ranger’s and brings them to life with a stroke of his pencil.(Awesome!)
I’ve said it before at the top of this review and I’ll say it again, The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers “Boom! Studios” comic is what fans of the original show have been waiting for all these years. They have taken the heart and soul of the original show and they have breathed new life into it in the best possible way. With a fantastic story, wonderful character development and an art style that has to be seen to be believed Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is a must read.