Written by Kyle Higgins
Illustrated by Hendry Prasetya
Colors by Matt Herms
It’s a good time to be in your early thirties. Comic relaunches of beloved children’s media like Jem and the Holograms, Archie comics, Transformers, and X-Men ’92 have been surprising creative and commercial successes, so it’s a fertile time to be taking a new look at Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, a silly sci-fi kids show that I fuzzily remember having cardboard sets and felt costumes but a lot of heart and athletic fight sequences. The original series followed five teens given superhero costumes and giant robots to fight the evil Rita Repulsa and her infinite minions. I know that there ended up being something like six hundred episodes over the course of several series, continually refreshing the team members and overall design of the show. But the cheesy quality killed it for me right around the introduction of the new Green Ranger.
The comic picks up with a clear and entertaining recap, orienting us to the time period when evil Green Ranger has just turned good and joined the Power Rangers team. Buoyant supporting characters Bulk and Skull are interviewing Angel Grove High School students about public opinion on these heroes, deftly introducing the Rangers in helpfully color-coded secret identity street clothes. Green Tommy is haunted by hallucinations of his previous boss, Rita Repulsa, and the rest of the team is trying to sort out how they feel about their new member. There are brief sequences of Rita plotting on her lunar base and the Green and Pink Rangers in their version of the Danger Room (please, Zordon, let it be called the Ranger Room and have lots of Scooby Doo references), but this issue dials back the action in service of plot.
This is a stellar first issue, worthy of association with the strong starts of the Jem and Archie relaunches. Kyle Higgins shows a love for and understanding of the original material, but he’s telling a modern, complex story about how teenagers respond to making new friends and outliving a bad reputation. It’s straightforward and heartfelt, with a little high school romance and a safe distance from the sillier parts of the television show. I am sure giant robots and goofy monsters are in store, but Higgins and his team have won me over, and I could recommend this book to readers of all ages, not just nostalgic thirtysomethings.
Ultimate Comics Raleigh will be hosting Power Rangers events all day today, with the Green Ranger present from 11 to 6 and exclusive Megazord and Party variant covers on sale all day! Come check it out!
-MATT CONNER for Ultimate Comics