Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #2

Tommy's integration with the Rangers is as rocky as ever in "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" #2. As the team dynamics remain tense after the incident at the bridge, Rita Repulsa sends Scorpina to attack Tommy. There are certainly a few hiccups in the issue; artist Hendry Prasetya doesn't always capture emotion in the characters' faces, and the Rita-Tommy plotline moves strangely. However, Prasetya's strong, readable action scenes and Higgins' surprising character work keep the freshness and fun in the story. All told, this is a thoroughly enjoyable issue.

Prasetya's fight choreography is generally great. Though he occasionally chooses an odd angle in Tommy's battle with Scorpina, his work is mostly readable and dramatic. He really shines in all-Ranger fights, with wider, livelier panels that call to mind the campier, clearly-telegraphed action of the original series. However, I do wish the moments of contact looked more forceful. The hyperbolic kicks, punches and sword clashes in the "Power Rangers" show (always accompanied by an equally dramatic "Hy-yah!") were a huge part of the fun. When the team clashes in this series, I don't get that same sense of force and energy. In addition, Prasetya's simpler lines -- often an asset in the fight scenes -- don't always convey the emotion in characters' faces, and so their expressions can look blank or unreadable.

Plot-wise, the action around Rita's attempts to re-indoctrinate Tommy move in fits and starts. While Rita's devil-on-your-shoulder routine is quite effective, the crescendo at the end feels like it comes out of nowhere, and the escalation between Jason and Tommy reads as artificial. However, outside of this storyline, Higgins also includes some unexpectedly genuine, effective character work. Billy opens up about his insecurities, Trini shows her heart and thoughtfulness as a mentor and Jason demonstrates his gentler side as a sensei. These scenes add nuance and fullness to the characters' traditional roles, and they help "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" feel like a real team book. Admittedly, Zack has been short-changed thus far; aside from a brief hint about his trouble sleeping, he hasn't had one of these illuminating scenes. Hopefully, Higgins will address that in the coming issues, as these moments are a huge part of what makes "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" work. Nostalgia appeal aside, this series can only rehash the existing show for so long before dropping reader interest. It's more rewarding to see the creative team dig a little deeper and give us another look at a beloved property.

Steve Orlando and Corin Howell's "Ongoing Adventures of Bulk & Skull" short was even shorter than usual in this issue, with only two pages of story. Despite the broad buffoonery of its title characters, the vivid, caricature-lite art and self-important dialogue still make me smirk.

All told, "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" does plenty of justice to its much-loved, much-meme'd source material. Though the main plotline still isn't moving smoothly, this issue nails its small moments and big battles. For now, that's more than enough to entertain.

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