Comic Review: Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: FCBD Special (Papercutz)

It’s hard to describe the appeal of Power Rangers. You were either there and you get it, or you weren’t and you don’t. It’s incredibly cheesy, even by 90’s standards, […]

Rangers Free Comic Book DayIt’s hard to describe the appeal of Power Rangers. You were either there and you get it, or you weren’t and you don’t. It’s incredibly cheesy, even by 90’s standards, borderline racist, and just generally ignorant of the mannerisms of real high school kids.  But it was a kid’s show, and most of that explains any actual problems that you’d find with it.  Regardless of your stance, you can’t deny the genius of it’s formula. The scenes of the “Rangers” fighting monsters were actually recycled footage from a Japanese sci-fi program called “Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger” or the less pretentious title “Galaxy Rangers”.  So in order to make the scenes filmed by Saban (The company that owns Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers) work with those shots they would have to redub all the dialogue, remake the monster costumes, and even write in plot devices that would fit with the original storyline of the Japanese episodes. If a special machine or weapon was used to defeat the monster in the original, they would have to write a sub plot on how they get that object or how they create it. From a narrative standpoint it’s a phenomenal achievement. I’ve always admired the work ADR directors do to make certain situations and dialogue fit in a different context than the original work, but Power Rangers took it one step further.

Power Rangers WeaponsRegardless of how impressive their original formula, it doesn’t really amount to anything in comic form. It’s basically like everything else like it in the same medium, the only selling point it would even have is that it’s nostalgic. The story of the comic mimics Power Rangers’ formula to a tee. They get attacked, they morph, they come up with some overly complicated plan to achieve a simple outcome that involves all of the Rangers contributing in some way, Monster gets big, they call the zords, they fight, they win, and someone learns an important lesson. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially if you’re a 9 year old. But sadly, the ones who are going to care about this comic at all are people who grew up on Power Rangers. These particular people are no longer 9 year olds. In fact, the story picks up in the middle of an episode that aired in the second season of the series; that’s not exactly an ideal place to start if you’re trying to reach a new audience.

It’s written like a Power Rangers episode, which is either good or bad depending on how much you still like Power Rangers. The art for the Zords, suits, and the Power Ranger’s weapons are really detailed, but when it comes to landscape, environment, and tone it’s pretty barren. In fact, anything that wasn’t copied directly from the show looks lower quality, and that contrast is hard to ignore. On the plus side, the action is really promising. Not for this particular storyline of course which is just sort of basic (More Food Fight, than The Green Candle), but it’s easy to see how a more complex and even action packed storyline would really benefit from this kind of choreographic layout.Power Rangers Megazord

It seems redundant to say all of this, mostly because any actual critique can just be chocked up to it being Power Rangers, but as a story it’s just kind of plain. Not enough is going on, and there’s a great deal of potential, but it’s so focused on being the same old Power Rangers that it actually holds itself back from finding anything interesting to do with it. This could be cool. An alternate future of Power Rangers targeting a more grown up audience could be cool. But that’s probably not what this is going to be. Nostalgia is in overload for this particular issue, but if you’re looking for a new take on an old classic, you’re probably going to be disappointed.

-PS

Oh! Speaking of Power Rangers! If you’re a fan, you might be interested in checking out Zordon of Eltar. It’s a fanmade, short-film, prequel that details the events around Rita and Zordon’s pre-Power Rangers years. It’s not finished yet, but they surpassed their Kickstarter for it, and the trailer seems pretty unique. Could be cool.

 

Papercutz Power Rangers series official site: http://www.papercutz.com/comics/power-rangers/

Images courtesy of Tokunation, Papercutz, and Comicsalliance

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