A quarter-century ago, Rita escaped, forcing Zordon to instruct Alpha to recruit a team of teenagers with attitude! Your Major Spoilers review of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers 25th Anniversary Special #1 awaits!
MIGHTY MORPHIN’ POWER RANGERS 25th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL #1
Writer: Jessica Quinones/Mat Groom & Michael Busuttil/Magdalene Visaggio/Sina Grace/Trey Moore
Artist: Joe Quinones/Lucas Werneck/French Carlomagno/Sina Grace/Da Jung Lee
Colorist: Eleonora Bruni/Marcelo Costa
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Editor: Dafna Pleban & Matthew Levine
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Cover Price: $7.99
Release Date: June 27th, 2018
Previously in Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: After years of trying to bring the Super Sentai series to America (including a partnership with Marvel Comics that gave us Battle Fever J and might have brought Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan to HBO), Saban Brands finally succeeded in 1993. Taking a story about ancient dinosaur humanoids who awoke in the present after centuries of suspended animation, they adapted it into a show about five spunky teenagers who kicked their way into our hearts. The addition of a Sixth Ranger cemented the show as a hit, even as it made the production much more complicated, and Power Rangers was such a success that it continued on, going to space, to the secret world of ninjas, even an strange alternate universe dystopia where the machines had won, but that first team of Rangers continues to fascinate… Time for the Power Rangers 25th Anniversary Special!
FIVE STORIES FROM VARIOUS ERAS
The real fun of the BOOM! Power Rangers material is the depth of knowledge and care that goes into the series. This issue starts with a very cute story by Joe and Jessica Quinones that uses early villain Scorpina as part of a plot by Rita to get her revenge on Tommy, now the White Ranger. It’s cute and clever, leading us to a fun tale featuring Adam and Aisha, the first Ranger replacements, trying to prove that they belong with the Power Rangers. It features Goldar as the villain, with a couple of nice callbacks to continuity that make it clear somebody has done their Ranger homework. Perhaps my favorite story in the entire issue is the third slot, Mags Visaggio’s study of Udonna (the mentor figure/White Ranger from ‘Power Rangers Mystic Force’) and her search for her lost husband, only to end up fighting Koragg, The Knight Wolf. It’s a really fun story that fits into the middle of Mystic Force, and ends with her still not realizing that her lost mate and the villain… are the same guy! Mind… blown. The fourth story is perhaps the most traditional anniversary story of the issue, featuring the current Ninja Steel Rangers facing a foe that fought the first team 25 years ago, ending with a time-spanning team-up during which their Red Rangers end up fighting together in a timeless pocket dimension. Ninja Steel Red manages not to break the time-stream when he gives his counterpart the answer to the puzzle, and makes for a nice bookend of first and latest Rangers. Last, but certainly not least, comes ‘The Trial of Astronema’, which deals with the fact that one of the Galaxy Rangers is actually the villain of Power Rangers In Space…
FINALLY AN ANSWER TO “WHAT HAPPENED TO BILLY’S RADBUG?”
First off, the price tag: A regular issue of Power Rangers is $3.99, Power Rangers 25th Anniversary Special #1 is a double-sized issue for $7.99, meaning twice the page count for not quite twice the price. And, honestly, the amount of story provided here is amazing, especially given that we see five different eras of Power Rangers history in play. There are some really wonderful moments in these pages: Karone/Astronema’s anger at her brother’s impetious actions during her trial, the haunting moments where Udonna is fighting the very man she’s looking for, Aisha’s determination to prove that she can be as good a Ranger as Trini was. Every story has a keen emotional hook at its center, and while they’re all tied into P.R. history, they shouldn’t require an encyclopedic knowledge of the franchise to be effective. The real kicker for this issue, though, is the fact that not one of our art teams falls down on the job, making it difficult to argue which story is the best-looking. Quinones art in the first chapter is excellent, even with Tommy’s Tigerzord is fighting a giant pug (seriously, you kinda have to read it), and the shots of Ninja Steel and Mighty Morphin’ in action against a Cthulian nightmare creature are truly epic stuff. I think that the last words of the fourth story say it best: “There will always be Power Rangers.”
BOTTOM LINE: I LIKE IT
In short, you get a lot of comics, but a lot of talented creators, all in one place. It celebrates the big Two-Five anniversary with style, and every story ends on a note that makes you hope for more like them, leaving Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers 25th Anniversary Special #1 with a well-deserved 4 out of 5 stars overall. A lot of previous P.R. adaptations embraced the camp and silliness, but BOOM! is willing to treat the franchise with care and respect, even making the likes of Bulk and Skull into well-rounded characters and giving us a reason to care about every technicolor teen in a cool helmet. And isn’t that the whole point of all of this?