Comic Publishers

November 11, 2017

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays: Power Rangers: Year One

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No. 199

Welcome back to our all-ages comics column, From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! Its been a minute since we last spoke but we return once again with a hit from BOOM! as they continue the stories of the legendary Mighty Morphin Power Rangers! That’s right folks it’s the classic lineup of Jason, Billy, Zack, Trini, Kimberly, and one time enemy, Tommy as the fight against Rita and her evil horde continues.

So welcome Eric as he takes you on this wild ride of Rangers, Zords, and morphin martial arts!

 

Power Rangers: Year One
Publisher: Boom!
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Artist(s): Hendry Prasetya, Thony Silas & Jonathan Lam
Colorist(s): Matt Herms, Bryan Valenza, Joana Lafuente
Cover: Goñi Montes

Sometime during the early 90’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, an american adaptation of Japan’s Super Sentai Series, debuted on american televisions and captivated children all across the country. The characters Jason Scott, Kimberly Hart, Zack Taylor, Trini Kwan and Billy Cranston became household names and over the next 20+ years The Power Rangers would go on to spawn four films and sell millions of toys and other merchandise across a generation. However, while it’s a safe assumption that today’s children are consuming whatever form Power Rangers is currently in, my generation lived through the crime fighting soap opera that was the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

My first impressions of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was that it was just a kick ass show full of martial arts action, some hooky acting, lots and lots of low budget pyrotechnics and giant kaiju vs. robot battles.  Even with the initial main cast there wasn’t much substance to be had within the world of Power Rangers and honestly I don’t remember expecting any. However, that all changed with the addition of the Green Ranger, who is arguably the most interesting character in the shows history.  With the Power Rangers formula of daily battles against the forces of the evil witch Rita Repulsa becoming wearing thin the world was introduced to the Green Ranger, Tommy Oliver.  At first he was a mysterious figure complete with Ranger powers and his own dragon zord but fighting for the forces of evil.  What played out was a surprisingly interesting drama as the Rangers attempted to first find out who this mystery Ranger was and the show detailed his internal struggle against Rita’s compulsion to do evil and eventual emergence as a hero who, ultimately joined the Power Rangers and battled at their side.  It is here that Boom! has decided to jump start it’s Power Rangers series collected in this Year One Omnibus.

After liberating Tommy from Rita’s power, the team is struggling to integrate the Green Ranger into the team. While Jason is optimistic that Tommy will be a powerful ally, Zach isn’t quite convinced causing conflict between the two. While all that seems to be a nod toward the original plot of the tv show it’s the secrets Tommy holds that drive the story.  Tommy isn’t as free of Rita’s influence as he’d like everyone to believe. She manifests herself to him as an apparition, filling his mind with disparaging thoughts and sowing self-doubt. Meanwhile, the real Rita actively seeks to drain him of his powers with the help of a mysterious and powerful new ally. Fighting Rita’s influence interferes with the power of the Green Ranger and causes the other rangers to lose confidence in Tommy’s ability, especially when he loses control of the Dragonzord and it begins destroying Angel Grove.

Boom! does an excellent job filling in the gaps left by the original tv series. While it may take some liberties, older fans will remember a lot of the events both leading up and during the pages of Year One. Without spoiling anything, it’s the midpoint and beyond where Boom deviates a bit and breaks new ground in the Power Rangers mythos and fans will love the new twists and turns that befall the Power Rangers. Even though readers of the Power Rangers series have already seen where these turns end I won’t spoil the bombshell reveal at the end of the book.  The artwork of Hendry Prasetya, Thony Silas & Jonathan Lam across the multiple chapters of the story is fantastic and makes the story feel more adult focused as if the creators were speaking directly to the original fans from yesteryear and I loved that as well.  It marks a clear distinction between the multitude of Ranger titles geared toward kids and adults.

As this is a collection I have to say this hardcover edition is huge! While it will look gorgeous on your shelf I don’t think anyone will be traveling around with it for casual reading and at $75 I think that even with how well written and illustrated it is it may only appeal to the more hardcore collector while casual readers may be more comfortable with the smaller trade paperbacks. The Year One storyline only takes up about half of the books total pages.  However, outside of the main story readers are treated to a few additional Power Ranger stories, including the first chapter of The Adventures of Bulk and Skull, and loads of beautifully rendered artwork. I’d have loved it if Boom! added a pullout so that some of the art could be framed without destroying the book. Maybe, if they read this they’ll consider that for the Year Two Omnibus.

 

Eric Snell
esnell@comicattack.net

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