This week’s main review is Morning Star #1. Plus, the Wednesday Comics Team has its usual rundown of the new #1s, finales and other notable issues from non-Big 2 publishers, all of which you can find below … enjoy!

Godzilla vs Mighty Morphin Power Rangers IIGodzilla vs Mighty Morphin Power Rangers II #1

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Baldemar Rivas
Letterer and Designer: Johanna Natalie
Publisher: IDW Publishing and Boom! Studios

Review by Jordan Jennings

Following the events of the first Godzilla vs Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series, evil space Witch Rita Repulsa has returned from the multiversal void and has set forth her plan of conquering the multiverse regardless of what power ranger team stands in her way. Godzilla vs Mighty Morphin Power Rangers II #1 focuses on Rita’s return to the Godzilla universe from the first mini-series as the White Tiger Ranger brawls not only Rita’s monsters but Godzilla himself. Rita’s conquest is not alone as she is joined by Andromeda (the main villain of the Power Rangers in Space series) and her Psycho Rangers. With the odds stacked against him, the White Tiger Ranger must seek help from other Rangers across the multiverse.

Cullen Bunn spends a lot of time focusing on the White Tiger Ranger as he is left chasing Rita through the multiverse in a futile attempt to foil her fiendish plans. This is a nice touch and gives the story a little bit more time to breathe when compared to prior series. By focusing on this alternate reality Tommy there is a singular point of view and one that is less frantic.

The more focused nature of the story is complemented by Baldemar Rivas’s art. Rivas uses a clean and crisp art style that allows for increased dynamism. The clean art allows for the action to be a breeze to follow across the page. The kinetic energy Rivas brings to the pages and their layouts make for a real page turner. 

The more focused story and art leads to a feeling of an actual plot this time as there is less concern on delivering on the spectacle of Godzilla and the Megazords and instead turning the spotlight on the human aspect. As a result, Godzilla doesn’t play as large of a role in this issue, but that is fine. 

As much as I enjoy Godzilla stories, I do find it works best if the King of Monsters cedes some of the spotlight to the humans. This helps establish stakes to the story and gives it an emotional center. Admittedly, what happens in Godzilla vs MMPR II #1 isn’t exactly a strong emotional center, but it does feel like there are actual stakes at play. With Rivas use of body language and Bunn’s solid characterizations, this is less flash in the pan. 

Godzilla vs Mighty Morphin Power Rangers II #1 is a solid start to the series and well suited for fans of the Power Rangers, especially those who are fans of what Boom! Studios has been doing with them. This particular issue is less Godzilla centric, but that is likely not to last. There is a bit more substance to the story when compared to the previous mini-series and there is enough there to like. I really enjoyed this issue, but I am a fan of both title properties. A casual comic reader may not feel the same, but that is okay. The target audience is definitely for the dyed in the wool fans. 

Recommended, but only for fans of either property.

Wednesday Comics Reviews

  • Minor Threats: The Fastest Way Down #1 (Dark Horse Comics): We now return to the hottest C-lister super noir in comics, Minor Threats. This time, writers Patton Oswalt and Jordan Blum take us The Fastest Way Down as they use their sequel to spin their street level villain into a legitimate queenpin of crime. If you’re big on rehashing themes without rehashing literal narratives, you’re in luck! On the surface, Fastest Way Down isn’t much of a murder mystery like the first, but features villains aiming to protect the public image of a super when they’re spiralling wildly, vividly, violently out of control. In getting a second shot at his own mythos, artist Scott Hepburn keeps consistent in style, tone, and vibrancy with the previous installment, which is a harder feat than you’d imagine. This new outing however shows just how much storytelling Hepburn can get across in the background/foreground elements and with the environment– ex. how the city has changed under Frankie’s regime, etc. Also helps that colorist Ian Herring has returned with a similar approach to Redport’s particularly bloody streets. Where some colorists use a swath of primary red to contrast in violent moments, sometimes the rest of the palette doesn’t support that shade; the contrast is the purpose. Here, Herring has paired sickly yellows and steel blues in order to amplify the red, so one expects to see it often and in great amounts. Of similar playfulness is Nate Piekos of Blambot who brings an invisibly standard approach to lettering Minor Threats until he flexes with a balloon tail that cuts across the entire panel from offscreen allowing a character to abruptly enter the fray. So, if you were wondering if Minor Threats was still up your alley, good news, it feels like it should be, and you can visit its jacked up streets once again. —Beau Q.
  • Traveling to Mars #11 (Ablaze): For a little over the past year, I’ve heaped praise upon pretty much every issue of Traveling to Mars by writer Mark Russell, artist Roberto “Dakar” Meli, colorist Chiara Di Francia, and letterer Mattia Gentili. It’s just such a well-done and poignant book, feeling like a mix between a near-future dystopian sci-fi parable…and the diary of someone who has deeply internalized some of the most pressing challenges of our times. This final issue is a fitting sendoff to the book. It’s a sad goodbye, but it was always going to be, that was inherent to the conceit here. But what I was maybe most struck by was the tone of hope that this book manages to emerge with from the depths. Things are bad, the series asserts, but it also offers you way to taper life within that framework. It’s a bleak story with a lot of heart, and I just can’t recommend it enough. —Zack Q. 
  • Usagi Yojimbo – The Crow #1 (Dark Horse Comics): It’s always easy to love Usagi because writer, artist, and letterer, Stan Sakai is just so good at what he does and Usagi is a long-standing showcase of that fact. This first issue is a fun introduction to the adventure that Usagi is about to have. It’s always fun seeing Usagi on the page and Hi-Fi Colour Design knocked it out of the park as an excellent complement to Sakai’s work. It’s vibrant and full of life, especially as we see more densely populated urban sprawls. When we start this issue we meet the iconic samurai Usagi and his less-experienced cousin Yukichi as they travel and encounter a man being assaulted and from there, the pieces of the story fall into place. Everything and everyone aren’t what they seem and it’s cause for concern as our samurai must figure out how to proceed. One of the things that really worked for me is how well Yukichi juxtaposes Usagi from his naivete to the way he views being a Samurai and how Usagi, being more seasoned, operates and acts as a samurai. It’s a dynamic that works for a reason and they have a nice play off of each other that Sakai pulls out through his lettering. —Khalid Johnson

The Prog Report

  • 2000AD Prog 2376 (Rebellion Publishing): The story that grabbed me the most in this week’s Prog was Terror Tales: Antumnos by writer Jon Lock, artist Richard Elson, and letterer Simon Bowland. It’s a one-off, standalone horror story, and, as such, it has a lot of work to do in first creating a world and second paying off entry into the world within the space of 6 pages. And this story does that quite well. Right on page one you know our protagonists are paranormal investigators, headed for “one of the soft places” where a legend or ghost or what have you showing up is to be expected. The writing does a deft job of orienting and preparing the reader, and the artwork presents a slowbuild toward a fantastic spooky set piece. Great stuff. As always, you can nab a digital copy of this week’s Prog here. —Zack Quaintance

Read more entries in the weekly Wednesday Comics reviews series!