In Brenden Fletcher, Kelly Thompson and Daniele Di Nicuolo’s “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink” #1, Kimberly Hart suits up for her own miniseries. Despite a strong opening, this debut issue squanders its strong characterization and subtle, spooky mood for a by-the-book gang-of-goons showdown.
Fletcher and Thompson hook the reader quickly in very first panel. When Kim says “you would have killed me if I pulled this on you” in a voicemail to her mom, the character immediately comes through as affectionate, responsible and conscientious, with enough confidence and humor to call her Mom out. Di Nicuolo’s artwork also quickly fleshes out other aspects of Kim’s personality, with the cheery smile she gives to a friend and subsequent take-no-prisoners expression as she heads out to investigate. The second page is heavy on captions, as the writers let the reader into Kim’s thoughts as she rides her bike.
As Kim enters the village and her parents’ home, the captions begin to fight with the artwork for attention. Di Nicuolo’s clean, thin lines are attractive, and the perspective and architecture create an eerie mood and atmosphere for the pretty French village. Sara Stern uses a pink near-monotone in some panels, but her use of light preserves the illusion of depth in the streets and building facades. Unfortunately, though, these strong visual effects are crowded and diminished by the steady patter of Kimberly’s thoughts.
The story rapidly changes in tone once Kim suits up and has her quiver of arrows at her back again. The quiet horror of an empty village evaporates when two thuggish monsters appear, as these villains don’t look frightening and there is no suspense about whether the Pink Ranger can handle them. Di Nicuolo changes the perspective rapidly and pops the figures out of the panels, but the fight still lacks movement and energy because the figures look too still. The action lines in the background try too hard and fail to convey a natural flow to the movement of fists and kicks; likewise, the rhythm of the fight is choppy and unconvincing.
The scene of dialogue between Kim and Serge is more believable, but it rushes the exposition with information dumps. More funny lines like “My French is… Mal?” would have been better. Kim’s conversation with Zordon also bogs down the momentum of the plot even more. Individual sentences sound generic and bland, like “I have to stay focused” or “the solution to your problems may lie within you already.” I loved the “Die Hard” reference when Fletcher and Thompson rope Serge back into the plot, but the humor completely dies in the scene where Kim locates the monster lair. Stern’s bright color choices for the empty backgrounds in some panels are pretty on their own, but the color changes are too rapid and unaligned with anything occurring in the story. The color work ends up fragmenting the transition from panel to panel. The hostage situation lacks suspense, and the odd flattening of Kim’s nose and fish-like eyes in the last panel make the cliffhanger even flatter.
“Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink” #1 is aimed squarely at existing fans of the franchise, as Fletcher and Thompson assume previous knowledge of things like Alpha 5, Goldar and Zordon as well as Kimberly’s accessories and powers. The storytelling isn’t strong enough to stand on its own yet, though the writing is sharper and brighter when Fletcher and Thompson focus on Kim’s voice and don’t hew quite so closely to the conventions of the original live-action show.