For all its popularity and superhero trappings, "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" hasn't had much success in the comic book genre. After a few short-lived series in the '90s and a couple books from Papercutz, they disappeared from comics like Putties. Boom! Studios hopes to correct this course with its new series from Kyle Higgins and Hendry Prasetya. Though this #0 issue is a teaser for the upcoming series, it gives fans a taste of the various stories that can be told with the group. It's a fun grab bag that's still trying to find its voice but has loads of potential.
What works here is Higgins' approach to the franchise. These Rangers are recognizable, but act more like X-Men with secret-keeping, brooding, teenage hormones and big time rescues. This is the Green Ranger era of the team and Tommy still has a big skeleton in his closet, as he struggles with his mission to betray the team from within. Rita Repulsa, Goldar, Finster and the rest of her gang of idiots all make appearances in this and the second backup story; though there's no Zedd yet, Rita keeps the team busy enough without him. Previous attempts at adapting the series were written by adults trying to guess how teenagers sound to small children, but Higgins respects the fanbase and follows along with the characters without speaking down to the audience.
Prasetya's art is a fun addition to the story, as his work adds just the right amount of Eastern-influenced flair, much like the original show. His out-of-action character work is a little stiff, but the characters honestly seem like they're more at home piloting a giant robot or passing out superkicks than dealing with homework. Higgins uses the team's Megazords in ways fans probably did when they were playing with them at home decades ago; thankfully, there's no money in comics, so the sky is the limit when it comes to the comic's crazy action stunts. Fans will also be relieved to know Zordon's speeches are just as self-important and heavy-handed as they were in the Fox show.
And that's part of what makes relaunches like this so much fun: fans who grew up with the material making bigger and more bombastic stories than the former creative teams, who likely viewed the story as work. Eventually, some of these creators get to play with these characters in much the same way they did as children in order to create more exciting stories.
Much like a teenager, there are some growing pains, as the series tries to do a few things at once. Making the characters contemporary pulls in the original fan base, but then Higgins needs to slow down to explain the franchise for newer readers who may not be as familiar with the original crew. Steve Orlando -- whose espionage tales at DC are some of my favorites right now -- writes a two-page Bulk & Skull strip that feels like it reaches for a young audience, while the main story aims at an older one. Splitting your storytelling focus like this can be difficult; editor Dafna Pleban might need to pick one audience and build them first before going after another.
Starting with a zero issue is just about as '90s as you can get, but that's what you're looking for when you pick up a "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" comic, right? If you grew up with the show, then this book is worth a pickup. It's promising and feels like the type of story I'd have wanted to read when the Fox series was on the air. Once the expository character work has been laid out and the book picks its crowd, Higgins -- whose "Nightwing" work has proven he can write good characters and compelling family drama -- will open the franchise up.
Get pumped, Rangers fans. You know what time it is.