The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are a lot of things, but in their current form, they aren’t quite as accessible to the millennials that grew up with the franchise. After a fan-film depicted a grim and gritty version of the Power Rangers, many sought out a more balanced representation of the characters that still appealed to a wide audience. BOOM! Studios newest relaunch of the series showed off that more balanced approach to the content with issue #0. Author Kyle Higgins (C.O.W.L.) debriefed his unique approach via The Beat, paired with artist Hendry Prasetya (Power Girl) this comic is a force to be reckoned with in the industry.
How do you balance the tone of the series between something that will keep the attention of longtime readers that veers away from leaning too far into the grim and gritty.
Kyle Higgins: As an eight year old, I was aware of the differences between the Japanese footage and the American footage, the re-using of Zord footage, and—eventually—the general formula of the episodes. However, one of the magical things about being eight is your ability to look past flaws and limitations in the things you love. Instead, you tend to see them for what you love about them. Over time, my memory of Power Rangers became much less defined by what happened on the original show and more by how I remember the original show making me feel. The wish fulfillment and responsibility of relatable teenagers getting super powers. The high-stakes tension and drama of Tommy’s manipulation, defection, and subsequent loss of powers. The game-changing “how the heck are they going to deal with THIS guy” feel of Lord Zedd’s arrival. It was a show that seemed both epic and personal… even if, in looking back, it was up against a lot of limitations.
All of this is a long-winded way of saying that I’m writing Mighty Morphin Power Rangers as I remember feeling about it. I’m trying not to overthink the tone too much—honestly, I’m just trying to tell a story that interests and excites me, that takes advantage of the medium we’re working in, and both stays respectful of what makes the Power Rangers so beloved, and also explores new territory.
What kind of tension does the Green Ranger reveal from #0 add to the series?
Well, at its core, the show is about the strengths of friendship and teamwork. Introducing the thread of Tommy’s secret is designed to serve as a vehicle to explore some of these themes in a different way. We all keep secrets, especially when we meet new people and want them to like us. Plus, the things Tommy actually did while under Rita’s mind control… that’s not stuff you just let yourself forget. Tommy’s journey is as much a story of learning to forgive yourself as it is the story of joining a team and trying to make new friends. Plus, who doesn’t love a good Manchurian Candidate-esque thread?
Since so many fans of modern comics are familiar with the property, what kind of freedom does that give you to jump right into the first story?
Well, I’ll be totally honest—I wasn’t about to take that for granted. Which is why I pushed to open the first issue with something of a recap, via Bulk and Skull. The old Stan Lee saying of “every comic is someone’s first” is one hundred percent true, and also quite applicable to a property like Power Rangers. Just because so many people grew up with the show doesn’t mean we should take for granted what they know and remember. Plus, we’re doing something new here. I want the book to be something you can pick up, having never watched the show, and be able to figure out what’s happening. We’ve designed it to be accessible.
That said, one area where the shorthand did help was that I didn’t want to do new origins. I knew I wanted to launch with Tommy’s introduction to the team, and really… we were able to do that because of the general familiarity that we knew people were going to have with the property. So, I guess I’m a bit of a hypocrite in that regard (laughs).
What is it like to craft a Power Rangers comic book with no budget constraints or baggage?
Oh, it’s great. Yeah, in some ways I’ve always felt like Power Rangers lends itself as well—if not better—to comics than to TV. Add in the fact that Hendry can draw damn near anything, and my biggest challenge has been figuring out how to push things further. I’m looking forward to the next few issues coming out and people seeing what I mean by that.
What does Hendry Prasetya add to the comic?
Like I said, he can draw anything. He and Matt (Hermes) bring so much to the book and make my job so easy. They’re able to juggle the big action with the small character moments, and really give the book a very unique feel. I’m very fortunate to be working with them.
Issue #1 launched in comic book stores this past Wednesday, with #0 previously available– this is your chance to get into the ground floor.