Review – Mighty Morphin Vol 1
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Ryan Parrott
Artist: Marco Renna
Colorist: Walter Baiamonte (with assistance by Katia Ranalli)
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Release Date: May 11 2021
In this first instalment of the brand-new adaptation of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, someone steals the Dragon coin, and consequently a new green ranger is on the scene. He’s aloof and phantomlike, showing up to kick butt and then dissolving without so much as a note on his dagger (or is it a sword?)-flute. Efforts to trace this slippery green apparition by Alpha 5 and the blue ranger, Billy, are futile. Meanwhile, up high above Angel Grove, on the moon in fact, quintessential baddy Zedd lies on the slab immobile in the aftermath of absorbing a destroyed chaos crystal. Also, Skull has a girlfriend (!?) and Bulk is not thrilled, to say the least.
This first volume of Mighty Morphin by BOOM! Studios updates the 90s favourite, boasting deepening characterisation and mythos, vibrant and prismatic art, as well as an intricately-weaved storyline.
While the main story of the new green ranger occurs in the present, writer Ryan Parrott opens the book in an epic, distant past which concerns Zordon. Readers will undoubtedly find it strange to see someone best known for being a giant enclosed floating head occupying a fully-mobile body. It is revealed that Zordon was a warrior of the planet Eltar, and a pretty conventional cog-in-the-machine type. Nonetheless, he gets elected Guardian of Eltar, and the rest is now canon. “Beware that we don’t become monsters ourselves,” warn the Elders of Eltar, foreshadowing the tumult in present time, when the line between good and evil gets blurred so easily.
In addition to excellent storytelling, lifelong fans will be treated to many of the familiar tropes and gags. Look at that silly Alpha going “2, 3, 5, 7, tidy, caterpillar, crocodile” when Billy asks him to list some prime numbers as he fixes his cognitive processors. There is also the subplot of Farkas “Bulk” Bullmeier and Eugene “Skull” Skullovitch, Pynchonian names if ever, an iconic duo of loser-hoods who pick and tease the rangers when they are in civilian mode about Angel Grove. Now, they have always had their own thing, slipping on banana peels into some asinine scheme to reveal the true identity of our heroes. Of course, this never happens; they are just always on the brink of the secret. The same holds true in this installation, where we see the spotlight shining on Skull for a change. Typically portrayed as a (mal)functioning lackey, we are treated to the true romanticism embedded in Bulk and Skull all along through the introduction of his new squeeze, Candice. Both Bulk and Skull are revealed to be intensely loyal, with hearts of gold where it counts, several times. Most important of all, perhaps, is how Candice’s involvement in the pandemonium facing Angel Grove, though it remains to be seen how she will affect the outcome.
The first thought bubbling to the top as readers absorb the first few pages of Mighty Morphin will undoubtedly be that the art style is very colourful, staying close to the classic tones of the original, a wise choice for obvious reasons. This attention to detail extends beyond and into the microscopic, such as the superimposed look given to the Eltarians. Such a minor tidbit really helps emphasize the sense of time and the feeling of otherworldliness that these beings carry with them. Additionally, The zords look great, and the putties have been given an expanded skillset by an awakened Zedd, with the Putty Prime coming across more than a little bit like Venom with each glance.
A minor sore point, and this might only be me, is that the rangers don’t exactly bear the likeness of the Saban cast. Yes Tommy wears his hair long here, but he looks like he could just as well play Liu Kang. Also, are we supposed to interpret his choice to still don green apparel even though he’s the white ranger as some sort of existential dilemma, perhaps he hasn’t integrated what has transpired, or moved on from the trauma?
Meanwhile, harder aspects to capture such as the morphing scenes, are beautifully rendered, but they do feel a little quick. This small critique is underscored however by the realization that that this book’s destiny is to be pored through by hardcore fans. Ultimately, looking at the wide acceptance the 2017 reboot Power Rangers received, subtle deviations from the norm like these should not pose too hard a hurdle to jump over for many.
If you enjoyed our Review of Mighty Morphin Vol 1 then leave a comment below or leave your own rating if you’ve already read it.
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