For the 25th anniversary of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Kyle Higgins and Ryan Parrott are going all in. The writers of BOOM! Studios’ Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Go Go Power Rangers series aren’t just crafting a Power Rangers story, they’re crafting the Power Ranger epic.
“Shattered Grid” sees the world of the Power Rangers coming apart at the seams, and the life of every Power Ranger ever is at risk, as popular villain Lord Drakkon returns to power. Kicking off in March’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #25 by Higgins and artist Daniele Di Nicuolo, the event promises action, surprises, and a brand-new Ranger -- with a familiar face.
CBR spoke with Higgins and Parrott, along with series editor Dafna Pleban and Power Rangers executive producer Brian Casentini, about all things “Shattered Grid,” from new characters to surprise returns, and what longtime fans can expect with appearances from their favorite Power Rangers characters. With so many Rangers making their first-ever appearances in comics and crossing over with other fan-favorites in ways never seen before, the event scribes and longtime friends definitely seem to have the best interests of the characters in mind. While the two remain tight-lipped around any truly juicy spoilers, they definitely let slip a few tantalizing details about what’s to come for the Power Rangers in “Shattered Grid," and beyond.
CBR: “Shattered Grid” is looking like a huge event, and pulling this off only 25 issues in is pretty exciting. Are you worried at all about going so big just three years into the series?
Kyle Higgins: I’m not, because we’ve been planning this for so long. So this actually is the natural escalation and development of the series from our very early plans. It also coincides with the 25th anniversary of the franchise, so we felt like since we launched the books and discussed the publishing plans for year 2 and then year 3, it really made sense to build it with that kind of runway, so that it doesn’t feel like a huge out of nowhere escalation
Ryan Parrott: Well, it’s a little different for me, because my series is only like 8 issues in. So it’s a little early for me, but that was one of the things about getting involved in “Shattered Grid." I wanted to make sure that if we were going to be a part of it that it would still allow me to tell smaller, grounded stories. What ended up being great was when we sat down and started working through how Go Go Power Rangers would fit into this story and how it could be a tribute. The stuff that we came up with ended up tying together a lot of the thread and story elements that I’d already been planting in a way that I really hadn’t expected, and it actually ended up being really great for the series. So I’m not worried about it being too big for me, because it actually ended up tying things together, which is nice.
Higgins: That’s one of the things that Ryan and I really pride ourselves on and also really enjoy about big comic stories: when they’re done right they’re emotionally resonant in a way that feels consistent with what’s come before. So if you build the story right with enough advance notice of an event, you can build towards it so that the event is actually the culmination of certain character arcs. I was involved in a lot of Batman events with DC, and that was always the approach that I tried to take when I was writing Nightwing, because he needed to be involved in a lot of events that Scott Snyder was running. The trick to me was to use the event to my benefit and basically arc towards it.
“Shattered Grid” is bringing back a lot of Rangers that fans haven’t seen in a long time. What’s the thought process going into who to bring back and how best to respect those fans' memory of those Rangers?
Higgins: The first challenge for me was to figure out where in these character’s timelines we’re coming in at. So for example, are we picking up with them while they’re mid-season from their respective Power Rangers series? Or are we picking up with them where they are now, or at least after their season ended? And it’s a mixture of both. So my way into a particular set of Rangers is indicative of the emotional and thematic material that I found the most interesting about them, or that I wanted to mine for the “Shattered Grid” event, so that I was staying respectful and true to the characters but introducing them in certain cases in new ways. So it is a combination of what you know and love about these characters as well as potentially new developments that feel like a further continuation from what’s come before.
When this event was announced a lot of people immediately kind of read into it as, “Well this is going to be every Power Ranger ever teaming up,” and that’s not really what the series is. There are a lot of Power Rangers in this book, and every Ranger ever is at risk, but neither Ryan nor I were interested in just throwing every Ranger together just to get them illustrated. The Rangers that I chose on my side of the event were chosen because the pairings between them were really interesting and I had stories to tell for them. So there are a lot of different points of view in the “Shattered Grid” event. To me, this is an opportunity where I’m able to use Rangers from throughout the 25 year history of the franchise in a way that is outside of the limits of time and space, meaning that Jason Lee Scott as a teenager can meet and team up with Lauren Shiba around the same age range, whereas in real life if you try to do that, Austin St. John is in his 40s and Kimberly Crossman is in her 20s. You’re very limited by what era of their Ranger career you can portray them as. So that’s one of like the really fun opportunities that I wanted to take advantage of.
And that’s not to say that there aren’t a ton of Rangers in this. I literally have an excel spreadsheet going of all the Ranger teams from throughout the last 25 years and where each Ranger is in the event within the multiple storylines that I’m running concurrently, because keep in mind not only are the Rangers teaming up but the Rangers are also targets of Lord Drakkon, so there are different perspectives on these Rangers depending on whether we’re following the good guys or the bad guys.
Parrott: I’ve sort of been lucky in this situation where I don’t actually have to deal with all that. The thing about Go Go Power Rangers is that we are bringing a new Ranger into the story, and it's a Ranger that wasn’t in any of the television series. So I wasn’t handcuffed by any pre-existing character stuff. I had to create a brand-new character, which, hopefully, people will embrace that character the same way that they embrace Lord Drakkon. But that’s pretty much all I can say about that.
Go Go Power Rangers takes place like a year or so before the events in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and we’re playing with time and space and the causality of it all. This has been one of the fun things about writing with Kyle and reading his book as I write my book. We’re able to find things both on a thematic level and little Easter eggs that we can play off one another, and never more so than what we’re doing with this particular event because things that happen in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers directly affect the things that happen in Go Go Power Rangers…
Higgins: And flip it…
Parrott: And flip it backwards and forwards, yes. That’s the fun thing. It’s sort of like being able to do the elements of time travel but in sort of a direct way and as far as I know, I don’t know if there’s any other series that has ever done that.
Higgins: Yeah, we’re playing with causality in a really cool way, especially when you see the events of issue #25 and what leads to the Grid beginning to fracture. That event is what allows us to not only play in these different eras of Rangers and bring them together, but also explore things in Go Go Power Rangers that occur before the grid fractured. And how that causality can inform things that are going to be happening in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in real time during the event.
Ryan, creating a new Power Ranger, that’s pretty rare. How does that feel to you? What does that mean to you?
Parrott: Terrifying! It was super fun because it is a new Power Ranger. But much like Lord Drakkon, while the name and look of the character is new, and the Ranger itself is new, the face under the mask is one familiar to fans. What’s great is this particular Ranger has a really direct, emotional relationship with all of the Power Rangers and in different ways, and it was really fun to use that Ranger to push the story forward. And it’s just fun, you know, bringing in a new Ranger. Hopefully, someday I’ll be at Comic-Con and somebody will be dressed up as that and I’ll be like, “that was what it’s for.”
Higgins: Yeah, I’ve got to admit, seeing Lord Drakkon show up somewhere like the "Legacy Wars" game is really cool. And I think they’re making an exclusive figure of him for Power Morphicon this August. That’s really neat. It’s cool to see an original creation like that be so embraced by the fandom.
What excites me the most about this event on a character level is that this is where we get into really who Drakkon is. We introduced him in issue #9. We saw his world in issues #11-#16. But as far as who he is and why he’s really doing what he’s doing, we haven’t gotten into that material. He’s an alternate timeline version of Tommy Oliver who chose to stay evil. That’s all we know. So what’s so exciting to me is to see the character, to see so many people as excited about the Lord Drakkon character as they have been and to know what I’m going to be doing with him going forward. It brings a mischievous smile to my face.