Ryan Parrott and Francesco Mortarino continue laying the groundwork for the next stage of BOOM! Studios’ Power Rangers epic. Led tenuously by the former Lord Drakkon, Jason, Trini and Zack set off to track down the Empyreals, starting with a trip to Drakkon’s homeworld.
Parrott accomplishes here what is most essential in a Power Rangers story: it’s fun and energetic. Readers won’t feel as if they’ve wasted their time here, which is a great quality for a comic book to have. Outside of this, though, Parrott has a great grasp on the individual voices of each Ranger, whether it’s Jason musing about the struggle of leading or Trini showing a little too much of her heart more often than not. This allows Parrott to create really defined dynamics which the reader understands completely.
It’s also what makes it so exciting for all of these characters to interact with Drakkon. While he’s the one character who Parrott seemingly hasn’t perfected a voice for, swinging wildly between nuanced, troubled, and deeply cliche, it’s his conclusion that brings out the most interesting elements of our protagonists.
The issue also exists as an exciting venture into Power Rangers lore. Dealing with things like Red Emissaries and manifestations of the Morphing Grid are the dreams of any little kid who grew up with any depiction of the Power Rangers. Parrott is neatly using some of these concepts readers are familiar with to maneuver them into uncharted territory. It’s exciting, but well thought out and seems to be the building blocks of a fun new adventure.
What isn’t as well thought out is Parrott’s use of what is almost a science-fiction cliche at this point, when he invokes the concept of, “time being different here.” While this is an interesting concept to play with in sci-fi, Parrott does nothing new with it — in fact, he does virtually nothing with it at all. It’s possible something builds from this moment, but it seemed rather pointless.
Lastly though, it may just be the wrestling fan in me, but I have to give props to Parrott for writing a clever face. There’s a moment where Zack does something genuinely clever to escape a confrontation with a more powerful enemy and it’s legitimately cool. I’ll always pop for a clever face.
Mortarino’s art complements Parrott’s writing incredibly well. He’s an excellent fit for this book, whether it’s the energy the art has whenever it’s in motion, or the precise way he can make the book’s heroes feel both like real high schoolers and action heroes. There are numerous pages when Mortarino’s art helps sell the youthfulness of our characters, and the emotion which they feel in some of these complicated situations.
Conversely, it could also be said that Mortarino’s art also helps sell Drakkon as comically villainous in some instances. In some scenes it’s the over-dramatic sneer, or cartoony glowing green eye that remind the reader somewhat heavy-handedly that Drakkon is in fact the bad guy.
Outside of this though, Mortarino is excellent in almost every other aspect of the book. His depiction of action is fun, and it can often cause readers to just stop and look at panels without really remembering to read. This goes doubly so for when the Rangers are in uniform. Every action panel is one that reminds readers why the Power Rangers are cool and why they fell in love with the concept as a kid.
It’s beautiful when a book can both remind you of a childhood love and invite you back into it in a deeper way. These characters are more fun than they’ve ever been to be around, and Parrott and Mortarino are only promising more to come.
Ok, but why isn’t this book called ‘Omega Rangers’? They are Omega Rangers, right?
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