Power Rangers: Shattered Grid
Reprints Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #24-30, 2018 Annual, Free Comic Book Day Special, Go Go Power Rangers #8-12, and Shattered Grid finale
Written by Kyle Higgins and Ryan Parrott (with Anthony Burch, Caleb Goellner, Adam Cesare, Becca Barnes, and Alwyn Dale)
Art by Jonas Scharf, Dan Mora, Marcus To, Dylan Burnett, Patrick Mulholland, Hyeonjin Kim, Simone Di Meo, Daniele Di Nicuolo, and Diego Galindo
Power Rangers has seen twenty-six different versions of the original premise from the first Mighty Morphin variety to the current Ninja Steel just launched Beast Morphers. I came of age just a bit too old to be a fan, but due to younger siblings in the house, I ended up watch much of the first season of the Fox Kids series. I know of the original group of teenagers and the evil of Rita Repulsa. After that era, I go blank. Boom Comics acquired the license to make comics based on Power Rangers a couple of years ago, and this reimagining came from writer Kyle Higgins. The books are a little more involved, fleshing out the families of the Rangers and making the city of Angel Grove feel a little bigger. With Shattered Grid, Higgins does the impossible and brings together the two dozen versions of the Rangers in one epic tale.
The premise for Shattered Grid hinges on the moment Tommy Oliver escaped Rita’s spell as the Green Ranger and became one of the good guys. In an alternate reality, Tommy refuses to join the Rangers and stays with Rita until it becomes advantageous to betray her. Tommy takes the moniker Lord Drakkon and begins to conquer his universe, turning Rita’s henchmen into his own and convincing Kimberly the Pink Ranger to become his Ranger Slayer. Now Lord Drakkon is intent on spreading out across the multiverse, siphoning the power from every version of the Rangers and installing himself as a sort of cosmic overlord.
If you are a fan of this Power Rangers franchise then Shattered Grid is about the best thing you could ever get, a crossover of immense proportions, something impossible to do on television or film due to the ages of the actors in our present time. Shattered Grid also highlights how limited Power Rangers has been with its storytelling due to budget constraints. The scope of this story, the number of characters, and the scale of the action are all beyond what a Saturday morning kids’ show can accomplish. Writer Kyle Higgins also scales the maturity of the text up to at least young adult so that these characters feel more human and nuanced than their tv counterparts.
I hadn’t read the issues previous to these but its clear that Lord Drakkon and this reckoning is a story arc that had been developed over the two years of the series’ run. The crossover also shows that the writers have learned from the successes and failures of other comic book companies and keeps things limited to just two series with a couple of one-offs. Because Mighty Morphin and Go Go are set in two different periods (post-Tommy and pre-Tommy), Higgins and Parrott make the former the core setting of the conflict and the latter as a place to explore the Ranger Slayer and her slow realization that she shouldn’t be doing what Drakkon has ordered her to do. This story is done so well it diminishes the source material even further, making viewings of the original series and its spin-offs pretty rough. This is more in line with the recent film reimagining that was surprisingly good.