Hello everyone! This week’s big number #1 is the battle of two big toy chest franchises.
Justice League/Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1
Story: Tom Taylor
Art: Stephen Byrne
Letters: Deron Bennett
Cover: Karl Kerschl
Publisher: DC Comics,Boom Studios!
Justice League/Power Rangers is the second in a series of crossovers between BOOM! Studios and DC Comics. The first was the highly entertaining Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy mini and in February we’ll also see a Green Lantern/Planet of Apes collision. JL/PW marks the battle of the most merchandisable factions both sides have to offer and the one we’ve all been looking forward to most. The six part mini-series, written by Tom Taylor (Injustice, All-New Wolverine) and illustrated by Stephen Byrne (Green Arrow, Serenity), has the daunting task of having to balance the austere tone of Justice League against the B-movie irrational one Power Rangers developed its fan base on. Not only can you see instances of that being the case; along the way it manages to sneak the beginnings of a meaty story full of potential resonance.
Tom Taylor brings a level of heavy gravity to this tale right from the get go as this story begins in the apparent aftermath of another destroyed city written by the guy who blew up Metropolis. The narrative we get is all about the lead up to this cataclysmic destruction. Zack, the Black Ranger, is teleported into the DCU as a result of trying to save the rangers base from… quite frankly a more cunning plan than anything we ever saw on TV from the evil Lord Zedd. As crossover rules go, the good guy factions have to battle each other under the guise of misunderstanding to which they’ll no doubt bro down about in later issues. This always happens in stories like these, because for all the virtuous qualities we love superheroes for; patience never seems to be one of them when it comes to crossovers.
Perhaps a 70’s Justice League would have visually jived organically with the bright color palette the Power Rangers smoothie gym world is known for, but that’s not the case for current DCU. Today’s modern version of DC’s super group is a bit more muddled in serious atmosphere. Finding the happy medium is a challenge for any artist, but one that Stephen Byrne really makes look easy when it comes to showing the reader how different these two worlds appear and then fit together. When the Power Rangers show up in Gotham, the book shifts from a vibrant almost lively gold tone in Angel Grove to warm art deco crimson in Gotham. It makes the Power Rangers stick out like a sore thumb and works well in these pages. There are a few misses in the visual story that would have been nice to see in this book. Sure, it’s a cheap gag; but if you’re gonna go full Fox Kids then go all in. Give me panels where Batman or Flash see the Pterodactyl Dinozord come out of the exploding volcano, though the last panel is a hilarious substitute. If you’re already taking the liberties of being able to teleport between dimensions with the simplicity of flipping a vinyl record, why can’t that cheesy volcano just show up in Gotham? Sure, it’s cheap pop moments but, nothing about this series is suppose to be serious cannon so why not have ALL the fun with it.
As #1’s go, the opening chapter feels short. That’s sounds worse than it is. You get a bit of a sense as to where the overall story is leading to, but that’s all overshadowed by moment after moment of crossover fan moments; which while not equating to a proper crescendo, do leave you wishing issue 2 was already here. The result is a bit of cliche formula, but something has to have been proven to work numerous times in order to become that level of commonplace. JL/PW shows readers that formula can still make you smile even as you know what’s coming.
ONE OR DONE works on the do-or-die scoring system of either “1” for worth your money or “Done” as in please don’t make any more of these.
Justice League/Power Rangers #1 is a solid “1”- If you’re a fan of either of these franchises you’ll find a book with enough pop to get you to like the other.