Editor’s Note: If you haven’t read the comic and like the element of surprise, STOP. Do not read any further! Spoilers are ahead!
The eighth issue of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers from BOOM! Studios is the refractory period of the current storyline. It’s the time when a masterful chess expert positions his pieces for the endgame. While not as glamorous as all that came before, it is still a necessary stage as the saga inches ever so closer to the finish line. Writer Kyle Higgins shows that even in moments of quiet contemplation, he can still execute an engaging tale.
The internal battle between Tommy and Zack reaches a somewhat satisfying conclusion but not before the very real battle that pitted Tommy and a depowered Jason in the Dragonzord against Black Dragon reaches its own end. Ultimately, this fight proved to be a tool in order for the rangers to obtain a chunk of their enemy. While it wasn’t the rangers’ original plan, in doing so this issue continued to display quality ingenuity on the parts of both the writer and artist Hendry Prasetya.
From Tommy disengaging his shield, to turning the enemy’s weapons against them, the battle had a desperate tone to it that is usually lost in the more polished presentation of the television series. The constantly shifting close ups and wide shots bring the reader into the very real threat of a ranger taking on an enlarged monster without the often taken for granted help of a fleet of zords.
As big as the rangers’ world can be, this issue was dominated by smaller one-on-one moments. Bulk and Skull return to the pages of the main storyline by once again being the voice of the common man and illustrating what it’s like for an average citizen to observe the fantastical battles that the Power Rangers partake in. It’s a human perspective that can sometimes be lost. Thankfully, by exploring it via that lens, the reader is able to get a better grasp on the gravity of the situation.
Meanwhile, Billy inadvertently forces Goldar to question Rita’s dedication to him as her loyal commander in the same breath that Rita questions the benevolent nature of Black Dragon’s questionable intentions. It’s moments like these that illustrate the shades of gray nature of this series. Due to the need to manipulate Japanese footage while also delivering a simple narrative; the television show would often have villains appear suddenly with little backstory and elementary motivation. In the flat universe of comic books, more well-rounded characters are currency and these asides act as well-earned cash ins.
The only negative to speak of in this issue is the resolution of the Tommy and Zack story. It’s a difficult balancing act. On one hand, Zack’s dislike of Tommy has felt very palpable from issue to issue. He has a sense of mitigation with his position on the team and while Tommy’s recent heroics have proved him worthy of a spot, is that enough to wash away all of Zack’s doubt? The conflict felt like it was mostly about Zack questioning Tommy’s integrity. Is one heroic display enough for them to truly bury the hatchet? Here’s hoping that their conflict will yield further resolution down the road.
Trini continues to shine in her role of being somewhat of a surrogate Billy. While that will always be a part of her character, she further demonstrates that with help from a damaged Alpha 5 giving advice through back channels, she’s more than capable of picking up the slack as she discovers a way for the rangers to once again morph. In a nice role reversal from the show, it is Tommy’s powers that are used in order to jump start the rest of the team and leave them ready for a counter assault.
Overall, this issue is light on action and more focused on all of the players moving forward in critical, controlled ways. Whether it be the rangers regaining their powers (albeit with the side effect of them all sporting an emerald hue), the conflict between the villains growing, or Goldar’s internal struggles on the rise; everyone is a dynamic player. While not the strongest issue of the run, stories like this one are solid examples of how the world that Higgins’ is crafting is being built for long term sustainability.
Score: 4 out of 5
(Images Courtesy: Comic Book Resources)
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