November 24, 2020

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Mighty Morphin #1 (BOOM! Studios)

MIGHTY MORPHIN #1 review

Neil reviews the first issues of BOOM! Studios new MIGHTY MORPHIN series as the POWER RANGERS saga begins a new era. Grab your copy in stores now.

Synopsis

Two New Series, Two New Teams — The UNLIMITED POWER Era Begins HERE — but who is the NEW Green Ranger and are they friend… or foe? Superstar writer Ryan Parrott (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and rising star artist Marco Renna send the Mighty Morphin team on a collision course with an even deadlier Lord Zedd, who has a new mission and a new motivation — one that will change everything you thought you knew about our heroes! But even if the Mighty Morphin team can all find a way to survive Zedd and their mysterious new enemies, they may discover the greatest threat to their future is the shocking secret of Zordon’s past! The next big epic begins here, perfect for longtime fans and new readers alike.

Review

There’s no two ways around it: BOOM! Studios has absolutely revolutionised the Power Rangers franchise to a degree where it is now impacting on how it plays out on the big screen. So cautious but optimistic is how I was feeling going in to this newly re-numbered era of the comic books.

In case you aren’t up-to-speed: the franchise is being split in to two series; Mighty Morphin and Power Rangers. The first, which we’re reviewing today, focusses on the majority Earth-bound classic team from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV series. The second series focusses on the original Red, Black and Yellow Rangers – Jason, Zack and Trini – as they venture through space as the Omega Rangers.

But Mighty Morphin isn’t a reboot in the classical sense. We’re not returning to day one in the story. Actually both series are continuing exactly where the MMRP and Go Go Power Rangers comic books left off. Most importantly: there’s a new Green Ranger in town.

Aesthetically Mighty Morphin is absolutely the level of visual and storytelling we’ve come to expect from the team. Ryan Parrott has an incredible grasp on what made the TV series successful and how to translate that in to a well rounded, gripping fantasy-adventure comic book. Equally, artist Marco Renna brings a brilliant visual language to the book. It’s colourful, its captivating and most importantly it’s a huge step up from cardboard monsters and spandex heroes.

BOOM! has given Parrott the best edict it possibly can: take everything you’ve done well in the past and double down on it.

This issue opens over ten thousand years ago where we meet what appears to be another group of Rangers locked in battle. It’s the setup we’re used to: colourful heroes taking on the forces of evil. Its fast paced and everything an MMPR fan would come to expect. The twist? One of these Rangers is Zordon, mentor to our present day team.

Instantly Parrott further contextualises the mission. Zordon has the experience of being a Ranger first-hand. From here on out we instantly look at how he advises the team differently, it’s no longer simply the musings of the face in a tube. It’s potentially decades of first-hand experience being used to guide the teens and keep them safe.

It’s just one example of how Parrott takes what we know of the franchise and gently teases it out to become something much more important.

It’s mainly business as usual for the contemporary Rangers with the added mystery of the new Green Ranger. If you’ve read Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #55 then you’ll know the identity. But with the Rangers in the dark this first arc of Mighty Morphin is going to become an exploration of how they uncover and react to that reveal.

It sets up an interesting conflict amongst the team. Rocky, Adam and Aisha are still relatively new and adjusting to this life. Tommy is adjusting to his new leadership role as the White Ranger and that leaves Billy and Kimberly as the stalwart OGs. But with Billy much more clued up to the events around them than anyone is aware it’s no doubt going to cause problems down the line.

Parrott is absolutely laying the groundwork here and he’s doing it brilliantly. Not even the series villains are free from character development. We left Lord Zedd in a very precarious position in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #55 and that leads to some insightful dialogue between Squatt, Baboo, Goldar and Finster.

The group has always been the comedic relief. They’re portrayed in the series as unintelligent, bumbling fools who simply exist to do the bidding of their master. But to see them having a level headed discussion around whether bringing Zedd back to life is morally the right thing to do is pure genius to me. Even our villains have a conscience.

As the first issue wraps up we are left with an intriguing mystery. One which has very little to go on for now but perfectly rounds out this opening gambit. An enticing opening, a brilliant story and an intriguing ending sounds like the perfect package to me.

Verdict

Mighty Morphin #1 allows this superstar team to double down on everything which makes the series great. A pitch perfect opening issue.

Mighty Morphin #1 comes from superstar writer Ryan Parrott (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), rising star artist Marco Renna, colorist Walter Baiamonte with assistance by Katia Ranalli, and letterer Ed Dukeshire.


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