Monday, August 27, 2018

The Comics Conundrum: Go Go Power Rangers!

Power Rangers in one form or another has been around since I was around six years old. I remember seeing it for the first time in first or second grade but in all honesty, I never thought it was that great.

I was more interested in Star Trek and whatever was happening in the 24th century. Kids my age were excited about what Rita and Lord Zedd were up to, I was more worried about what the Dominion was doing on the other side of the wormhole. Most guys say their first crush was Kimberly, the Pink Ranger. 
Mine was Jadzia Dax from Deep Space Nine
Kimberly was a girl; Jadzia was all woman

When it came to comic books, I knew that there was currently a comic out from Boom Studios simply titled Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers and that in addition to being a modern take on the series that it would feature the original characters from the series. 

I took a quick peek at the first issue when it came out and while it certainly looked interesting, I just didn't have enough interest in the franchise overall to become invested. That was back in March of 2016.
One day I'll talk about this comic & how I told the writer that I was an asshole.

Fast forward to late July of last year. It was a Wednesday (New comic book day!) and I was at my local comic store and saw a new comic series had hit the stands also from Boom Studios that was also starring some teenagers with attitude. 
I'd heard about the series a few months prior when looking at previews of upcoming comics but for some reason, I felt that maybe I should pick this one up. 
The comic was Go Go Power Rangers written by Ryan Parrot with art done by Dan Mora.
Fun times ahead.

This series was going to be different by focusing on the early days of our heroes (Zack, Trini, Kimberly, Jason & Billy) after they got their powers and trying to balance that with their personal lives as well as survive high school. I remember reading the description and it sounded similar to Stan Lee & Steve Ditko's early work on Amazing Spider-Man and Chuck Dixon's first run on Robin.

When I finished the first issue, I realized that this comic had done something that doesn't happen to me very often: I went online to check when the next issue was coming out because I needed more of this comic.

In a time where the latest issue of Batman can involve him giving a monologue for 22 pages and nothing happens or where fan favorite and interesting characters are shoved aside for characters people couldn't care less about (Lookin' at you, Duke Thomas), Go Go Power Rangers is something that a lot of mainstream comics are not anymore: FUN!

The first thing that immediately draws you in is the art, particularly that of the cover. Dan Mora has quickly become one of my favorite artists currently working in comics and along with Raul Angulo doing the colors, it's enough to make me stare at the pages for hours like some kind of weirdo. But what I also loved about the cover were our heroes being out of uniform; not so much that but how they were presented. They were SMILING! How often do you see that anymore in comics? And I mean a genuine smile.
Billy, you can dial it back a little bit...

My philosophy towards good or even great art is you need writing that compliments it (And vice versa) and writer Ryan Parrot more than rises to the challenge that comes with this book. You can tell that he has a genuine love not just for the characters but for other fans of these characters. Where on the original show they might have seemed a bit one-dimensional and...dull (Please don't hurt me!), here they're more fleshed out, they begin to feel like real people and you begin to care about them and their problems.

You want to know why Billy & Skull aren't friends any more; you want to know why Zack and Trini referred to Kimberly as "Salad Girl" when they first met; you want to know if Jason will ever get a clue and figure out who's got a crush on him; will Zack challenge Jason for leadership of the team? Will Bulk be crowned homecoming king!? (The most important question in the whole series).

And the dialogue is top notch. Nothing is worse than when teenagers in any medium don't sound even remotely how teenagers do in real life.

The overall plot is no different from that of the original series: Rita Repulsa, after being freed for 10,000 years has set her sights on Earth and thus the big giant head Zordon summons five teenagers to battle her and save the world. 
While every episode of the series might have introduced a new monster/threat for the team to defeat, here the plots take their time but it never feels like they're dragging their feet to get to the point. Every issue feels like they put just the right amount of story into it and the last page is always one that makes a reader say, "I gotta see what happens in the next issue."

I don't want to spoil too much of the plot so instead I'll encourage you to go to your local comic book store and pick up the first trade paperback was released last month. For fans and non-fans, they're likely to find this is the most fun going on in comics today.

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