The TokuNet Comics Corner takes a look at the first Mighty Morphin Power Rangers annual issue from BOOM! Studios.
BOOM! Studios is doing something interesting with the Power Rangers license. Between the ongoing and minis like Pink, they’re showcasing the diverse range of subjects and tone that the franchise can adapt to. The MMPR 2016 Annual is a single issue made to highlight just how versatile the story of five teenagers with attitude can be.
The Annual features six stories from six different creative teams, each focusing on different characters in the MMPR universe. Some of the stories are slice-of-life, some are all action, and of course the comedic antics of Bulk and Skull are in there, too.
“A Week in the Life…” by Kyle Higgins and Rod Reis
The first story is by regular series writer Kyle Higgins, who is joined by artist Rod Reis for a look at the life of Red Ranger Jason. Most of the pages feature beautiful one page-length illustrations with various smaller panels laid on top. Each smaller panel shows what the Power Rangers’ fearless leader is up to at different times of the day.
“A Week in the Life…” is a nice, feel-good story. Whenever Jason isn’t fighting monsters or doing his homework, all of his time goes to helping people, whether it be his teammates or his martial arts students.
“Unlockly Heroes” by Ross Thibodeaux and Rob Guillory
This story focuses on the dynamic duo themselves, Bulk and Skull. When the main team gets captured by one of Rita Repulsa’s monsters, Zordon and Alpha are forced to find “two teenagers with even more attitude” to suit up and rescue them.
The highlight of this story is Rita’s new monster, Sir Locks-a-Lot. He’s a loving homage to Oscar-nominated Mighty Morphin Power Rangers voice actor Bryan Cranston.
“A Spot of Trouble” by Marguerite Bennett and Huang Danlan
It’s Yellow Ranger Trini’s turn in the spotlight for the third story. She and Kimberly are putting on a charity event in the park when an anthropomorphic fox witch shows up to spoil their fun and turns everyone into woodland creatures.
“A Spot of Trouble” is a classic after-school special dressed up in a nice “magical girl” skin thanks to the art of Huang Danlan. Trini’s compassion takes the front seat here, as she talks down her opponent without throwing a punch.
“Only the Strong” by Trey Moore and Terry Moore
Now it’s time for us to take a look a everone’s favorite general, Goldar. This story takes a look at his past, during his time fighting alongside his brother Silverback as they lead The Pack in service of Lord Zedd.
This is my favorite story of the bunch. The Pack feel like a mesh of Klingons and Saiyans, and their place in Power Rangers history is pretty interesting. The story is full of references to how Lord Zedd and his forces interacted with other parts of the mythos, like Ninjor and Dark Specter.
“It’s Putty Time” by James Kochalka
It’s comedy time again in this story about a single Putty and his crush on Pink Ranger Kimberly. James Kochalka is one of the most prolific cartoonists out there, and fans of his work or unique indie comics will enjoy this.
“What Makes a Ranger” by Jorge Corona
The last story delivers some much needed Megazord action, but the real focus here is a conversation between Alpha 5 and Zordon. As the rangers fight off yet another monster amidst the skyscrapers of Angel Grove, Alpha worries that this one might be too strong even for them.
This story sums up something that’s touched on in “A Week in the Life…” and “A Spot of Trouble,” and that’s the idea that the Power Rangers greatest strength isn’t necessarily their martial arts prowess or their cool giant robot, it’s something they all had even before they got those things.
All in all, the MMPR 2016 Annual is nice addition to your collection. The BOOM! line updates the characters for a modern audience without using cheap shock tactics like gore and foul language. It updates the characters by respecting them and fleshing them out, and exploring what made them special in the first place.
Personally, I’m not a fan of the two comedy shorts in this issue, but I think their inclusion adds value. The more ways people can examine and explore these characters while making them friendly to both old and new audiences, the better.
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