Given the success of BOOM! Studios’ licensed Mighty Morphin Power Rangers comic book series, spinoffs were an inevitability — and the latest is Go Go Power Rangers, which fills in the previously untold period between the time where the teenagers with attitudes became Power Rangers, and when they evolved into fully fledged superheroes.
The series, from writer Ryan Parrott and artist Dan Mora, has already dropped one bombshell: That there was a sixth member of the group, before Tommy, that wasn’t chosen to be a Power Ranger. That’ll be explored throughout the first part of the series, and Parrott says there are more surprises to come — including some insight into what makes Rita Repulsa tick, and how she reached supervillain status.
With Go Go Power Rangers #2 on sale next week, CBR talked with Parrott about what to expect from that issue, the series going forward, the reception to July’s inaugural issue and how to balance quieter character moments with classic Power Rangers action. CBR also has the exclusive first look inside the issue, with preview pages illustrated by Mora.
CBR: Ryan, now that it’s been a month since the release of Go Go Power Rangers #1, how pleased are you (with however much you’ve paid attention to it) with the reaction to the first issue, from both critics and — most importantly — the many hardcore Power Rangers fans out there?
Ryan Parrott:: I think my reaction was about 96 percent relief it wasn’t universally hated and about 4 percent sheer exhilaration. I have a little experience writing for books with established fan bases but this was my first solo mission–I really just didn’t want to let anyone down. I will say, the coolest part was having readers reach out about their favorite elements — an oxford comma joke, or a “green olives” Easter egg — the positive feedback was immensely gratifying. Hopefully, I don’t screw it up next issue.
One thing that really caught my eye about this series before the debut is some of the clever aspects behind the marketing, namely the variant covers — with parodies of Sixteen Candles, the locker covers, the paper doll covers, etc.. They all worked to give a sense of the tone and feel of the series months before its out (which is, I guess, the ultimate purpose of a comic book cover). How involved were you with that end, and how happy were you with how that framed the series for readers?
Oh, I wish I could take credit for them because I loved every single one. But that’s all the fine people at BOOM! You hit the nail on the head, the variants worked almost like a tone trailer for the series — with the ’80s movie parodies and school motifs — I think they were instrumental in selling the style and setting expectations. Plus, they gave me ideas. That Dodgeball variant? Absolutely in the book at some point.
This series is very focused on the emotional core of each character in the time shortly after they become Power Rangers, and exploring deeper issues that weren’t in the original TV series, which maybe wasn’t known for the most three-dimensional characterization of the Power Rangers’ civilian lives. When approaching this series, how much were you able to pick up on elements from the source material to help shape your take on these characters? And how much of it was you basically starting anew?
When I first got the gig, I sat down with Kyle Higgins (who writes the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers comic) and he told me to write the characters the way that I remember them as a kid and that’s been my guide to approaching their voices. When it comes to motivation — wants, needs, and goals — most of that stuff I pulled from my own time in high school. So far, every character has at least one moment that actually happened to me (and yes, that means I got hit in the head with a water balloon and fought Putties).
Dan Mora has been one of the standout artists at BOOM! for years now, and in this series he has the task of balancing both Saturday morning-level action scenes and nuanced character moments. How have you enjoyed working with him on this series?
Dan makes me look like I know what I’m doing. There are script pages I’ve sent to him that make zero sense and, when I get back the art, even I’m convinced I’m a genius. But seriously, what I love the most about his work is the body language. His characters actually perform — their faces, their posture, everything — Dan sells a moment with an eyebrow raise that I can’t with three pages of dialogue.
One of the major selling points of this series is revealing unknown aspects of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers history — like that there was a sixth member of the group before Tommy. Since there is presumably a finite period you’re working with here, how much room do you have for those kinds of surprises? Are there more in store?
Because we’re in essence telling a story in which people already know the ending, I felt like the point is the details. I just try to mine unexplored territory and challenge preconceived notions — that’s where Matt came from. We do have a smaller runway, yes, but I think that works to our benefit, as it gives Matt a sort of tragic energy knowing he’s not going to be around forever.
We do have more turns in store — I mean, these kids were chosen to protect the world, but what molded them into heroes? Were they always good? Plus, we’re not going to just feature the heroes, but the villains as well. I really want to explore who Rita Repulsa is and how she collected her crazy little band of misfits.
Speaking of timelines — the series takes place in the present day (or something close to it), rather than being a ’90s period piece. How do you see the characters as affected, when recontextualized for current times?
You know, it hasn’t been as much of a problem as you might think. It almost seems like high school is its own unique universe, with a specific set of rules and stakes. So, when I approach the students at Angel Grove, their daily concerns are the same ones I worried about at that age. Grades. Popularity. Girls. They just have phones now. Maybe being a teenager transcends space and time. Who knew?
Issue #2 is out next week — what are some of your favorite moments that readers should look out for?
Well, in issue #2 we get to see Matt and Kimberly’s first date, which goes about as well as every first date I ever went on. Plus, we’re introduced to the teens’ home life and what it’s like to try and be a superhero when you don’t control your own time. And finally, we explore what it means to morph — what does it actually do to you both physically and mentally? Are you a different person? Maybe a little heady, but these are the questions I find interesting and I hope readers do, too.
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