It’s Morphin time! By which I mean, it’s time to talk about the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers ongoing.
The Rangers are in trouble. At the top of this trade, they’re on their own and outmatched. Rita and a mysterious new ally have the upper hand and are poised to take over Earth. Meanwhile the rangers are split up, having trouble trusting their new teammate Tommy the Green Ranger*, and short on resources.
If you were a fan of MMPR, you may remember the best episodes being the ones that seemed hopeless. They were usually multi-episode stories that you had to come back for day after day, with the world at stake. And if you’ve re-watched Power Rangers since it aired, you might have realized that there’s not much tension there at all. It was that kind of excitement only kids are capable of. Well, Kyle Higgins has found a way to recreate that in this comic.
Let’s talk nostalgia. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers would not exist as a comic without it, and at some level that’s in the book’s DNA. It assumes familiarity with characters and their relationships. It leverages those attachments to minimize the amount of introduction necessary. And readers who don’t have that may have trouble getting as much from this book as a fan. But it doesn't fall into the trap of recreating a product and giving you something that looks familiar without affecting you the way its earlier incarnation did. Instead, Higgins builds a more mature, complex product that will make you, as an adult, feel the same way you did as a kid*.
Most of the book’s art comes from Hendry Prasetya on linework and Matt Herms on colors. Their work has a futuristic, dystopian sci-fi vibe that feels darker and more dangerous than the Power Rangers TV show ever did. But it’s stylish and emotive and fits this book perfectly. Thony Silas and Bryan Valenza fill in on issue #5, which flashes back to before the Green Ranger came on the scene and feels appropriately lighter. Their issue is clean and a bit cartoony, as though it belongs to a simpler time.
There’s also a backup whose pages are collected at the end of the trade. Steve Orlando writes Bulk and Skull in a much goofier story that feels like going back and watching old episodes of MMPR now. Corin Howell and Jeremy Lawson provide art; it’s cartoony and stylized. The Bulk and Skull pages are cute, and they make for a nice palate cleanse. But it doesn’t feel like it belongs in the same universe as the main feature.
If you were into Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, this book is must-read. Nostalgia can be a dangerous force, but Higgins and company get it. This book doesn’t try to be MMPR-the-TV-Show rehashed. Instead it does what the best attempts at tapping nostalgia do: it builds something new and interesting in its own right. Reading it feels like I remember feeling watching the show. If you weren’t into Power Rangers you might still dig it, because it’s a quality book, but I don’t think it’s the same slam-dunk recommendation without basic familiarity with MMPR.
*The series is set just after Tommy broke free of Rita Repulsa’s control and joined the team.
** At least, that’s how it worked for me. Volume 1 ended on a brutal cliffhanger, and I’ve spent months with the exact same anxious need to know what comes next that I felt as a kid, watching the clock in my mother’s minivan tick closer to the time the next episode would be on and hoping we’d make it home from school in time. And now I need Volume 3.
- Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Vol. 2 (#5-8)
Writer: Kyle Higgins, Steve Orlando (Backups) | Artists: Thony Silas (5), Hendry Prasetya (6-8), Corin Howell (Backups) | Colorists: Bryan Valenza (5), Matt Herms (6-8), Jeremy Lawson (Backups) | Letterers: Ed Dukeshire, Jim Campbell (Backups) | Covers: Goñi Montes | Designer: Jillian Crab | Assistant Editor: Matthew Levine | Associate Editor: Alex Galer | Editor: Dafna Pleban