Within the first six pages of Boom’s new Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers series, the teen heroes declare that it’s “Morphin’ Time” and hold out the small handheld devices that transform them into the Power Rangers. It’s a moment that is ripped straight from the TV series so cleanly, I almost felt like a kid again.
Spoilers ahead for Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers #0, by Kyle Higgins, Hendry Prasetya, Matt Herms, and Ed Dukeshire.
In fact, this first issue, acting as a sort of prequel to March’s eventual ongoing Power Rangers comic, feels like a laser-guided play to skewer the hearts of anyone who loved the classic iteration of the Power Rangers. Things might not be so tragically, hysterically ‘90s as they were in the original show—these are modern kids, who text each other in streams of Emoji, because that’s what kids do I guess—but from the get go, Higgins is intent on giving you a Power Rangers episode greatest hits.
You get high school worries, Megazord action, posing that would make any Super Sentai team blush with envy, a cackling Rita Repulsa, even a brief appearance by Zordon and Alpha 5—although he doesn’t go the whole hog and shout “Aye-yi-yi-yi-yi!”—all within the first handful of pages to the point it feels like someone’s just passed you a VHS tape of old episodes and you’ve watched it all on fast-forward. It’s honestly kind of great: a Power Rangers series that didn’t embrace the outlandish goofiness that sits at the core of the classic show just wouldn’t have the spark that endeared so many kids to the franchise. It’s absolutely a nostalgia play, and Higgins knows that for now that’s all you really need to get people interested.
But Power Rangers also manages to surprise with the fact that it actually goes beyond cracking open that pure vein of nostalgia, setting up an initial arc that feels intriguing and meaty in a way that perhaps isn’t so typical of people’s fond rose-tinted memories of the TV show. The main hook is the fact that the comic is set shortly after the events of Tommy—a.k.a. the Green Ranger, a.k.a. the guy who’s always wearing green all the time because duh he’s the Green Ranger—joining the team after being mind controlled by Rita Repulsa, which was basically his thing in the series. But while the show simply had Tommy get captured, freed, and recaptured multiple times, the comic starts to explore more about his recovery, and the possibility that he can’t quite forget the things he did under Rita’s thrall.
It starts clawing away at the back of his mind, glimpses of Rita out of nowhere at first, flashbacks to his time under her control, before it eventually renders him unable to help the Rangers take out Rita’s latest giant monster as it attacks Angel Grove. Nothing really comes of it in this all-too-short preview issue quite yet, other than some underlying tension between Tommy and Red Ranger Jason, but the fact that it’s sitting as the core that Higgins and Prasetya are wrapping their obvious adoration of the Power Rangers franchise around is intriguing.
I expected the nostalgia trip of a lifetime when it came to a Power Rangers comic—I wasn’t really expecting it to hook me with the promise of exploring beyond the giant robots and ridiculous explosions to dig into these characters. That bit is more than enough to make me look forward to the start of the series proper in March.