The most iconic super-team in comics meets six teenagers with attitude for the first time in Justice League/Power Rangers #1.
“Batman’s been taken by a flying pink dinosaur robot.”
These words close out the first of superhero comics’ latest intercompany crossover. It’s a pretty ridiculous sentence, which is exactly what a story like this needs.
On their own, the League and the Rangers occupy unique spaces in popular culture. JL/PR has the challenge of taking them both and making something recognizable for newcomers and long-term fans alike. This first issue does a good job of relating these two teams with each other in a way that makes sense.
The League look and act like the veterans of the superhero business next to the six Rangers. There’s a touching scene at the very beginning (the issue opens in medias res) where Superman has to console Zack after a tragedy I won’t spoil here. It reminds you that even though they’re the biggest heroes in Angel Grove, the Rangers are just kids, and the mentorship of the League would be good for them. When the book rewinds and we get to the requisite super-fight, it’s an absolute joy to see Batman and Flash take them on.
Such different brands can’t always merge perfectly, however, so while the writing works, the art leaves a little to be desired. The art works best when focused on the Rangers. The bold colors especially suit them and their Zords well. When Zack gets transported to Gotham, however, JL/PR‘s depiction of one of fiction’s most famous cities falls short. It’s a minor gripe, especially when the heroes themselves look fine.
Thankfully, Tom Taylor (Injustice: Gods Among Us) and Stephen Byrne (Green Arrow) seem to have settled on just the right tone for something that, at first glance, seemed a little weird. Power Rangers usually brings to mind cheesy 90s nostalgia to the uninitiated, while the Justice League represents a more old-fashioned institution that’s been every thing to every person throughout the years.
Currently, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is going through a millennial makeover in their own comic from BOOM! Studios, and Justice League is one part of one of DC Comics many, many continuity reboots. Thankfully, new readers don’t need to know any of that to pick this book up. If you haven’t seen MMPR since ’93, or you didn’t know the Super Friends had their own league, you can still pick this up. So far it feels like the Rangers are the stars of the show, and I look forward to seeing them navigate the DC world.