It's Morphin Time!
The color-coded teenage super team of "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" is back, this time in comic book form as aseries from Boom! Studios. Due to hit stores in March, "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" no. 1 will feature eight covers (not including any retailer variants).
Hero Complex has the exclusive reveal of the main cover by Jamal Campbell, which features the entire team in action (you can check out the full image below).
Written by Kyle Higgins and illustrated by Hendry Prasetya, issue no. 1 will launch the "Green Ranger: Year One" story arc that will be set up in the upcoming "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" no. 0 (which is set for a Jan. 13 release).
"The story that we're telling takes place during the 'Mighty Morphin' era of 'Power Rangers,' but we're also doing something of an update," said Higgins about the series. "It takes place in 2015 so it's a little bit of a modernization. It's not a '90s book."
Higgins explained that fans can expect familiar characters, themes "and a lot of really killer action," but presented in a slightly different package.
Following the events of "Power Rangers" no. 0, the series will pick up right after Tommy Oliver, the Green Ranger, has joined the Power Rangers. Fans of the original TV series will remember that the Green Ranger was initially a villain under the control of Rita Repulsa and tasked with destroying the Rangers before being freed and joining the team himself.
"Power Rangers" no. 1 will also feature a back-up story around the characters Bulk and Skull written by Steve Orlando with art by Corin Howell.
Hero Complex spoke with writer Kyle Higgins over the phone about the new series and the "Power Rangers'" enduring appeal.
So what exactly does "Green Ranger: Year One" really mean?
Basically, in going the modernization route I decided that I didn't really want to jump in and tell new origins of the Power Rangers or anything like that. So looking at the introduction of the Green Ranger to the team, of him joining the team, was the window that I took for the story in order to get us into the world.
So it is kind of a year one, for Tommy, but it's also our way in to the rest of the Rangers and of the team dynamic and how they operate and what they are. Catching people up with the concept if they're new to "Power Rangers," but also letting people that have been fans for a long time know that [the series] is kind of a slightly new interpretation of them. And this felt like a nice way to do that.
The thing that's always kind of resonated for me about "Power Rangers" is that they are these ordinary kids made extraordinary and the power of teamwork and friendship and things like that. So coming at the story from the perspective of a new Ranger trying to join that team was something that really intrigued me.
Were you a fan of the series growing up? What about this project appealed to you?
I was. I was a fan growing up, when I was about 8. The idea of normal kids who are actually incredibly special and have all this power — and the responsibility that goes with it — kind of touches on the same themes that made me such a big superhero fan growing up as well.
They're very empowering. It's a bit of wish fulfillment, but the series has always had a pretty strong kind of moral message behind it as well. I think that's what resonates and has resonated for so long with so many people.
So when the opportunity came up to pitch for the book, the fact that it was Boom! — and I knew their track record with types of books that this could be — the idea of doing something modern with teenagers is totally up Boom's alley. It just felt like a really nice fit, you know. I didn't see a lot of reasons not to go for it.
Tommy specifically is one of the more enduring characters as he appeared in many iterations of the show. Was it your choice to first focus on him?
That was my choice. It made the most sense for our way into the story and into the series. From the perspective of a new member, he's kind of our audience proxy, right?
That said, it's a big story. It's a big serialized story. And one of the benefits that we have that the original show didn't was, we have a format that really lends itself to serialized storytelling.
I'm working with [artist] Hendry Prasetya, who is just fantastic. He can draw anything. So we're able to do things visually that the show was never really able to do because of the limitations the show had, like using preexisting footage.
Thematically and emotionally I'm able to explore things in the writing that the show with the format of the show was never really able to do either. So working within this medium has been a lot of fun, specifically, for Power Rangers. I think it lends itself quite well to it.
So while there is a big focus on Tommy, especially in the first arc, everyone kind of has their own story and they all feed into each other's. I really wanted to make sure I was exploring different storylines for each Ranger.
Can readers expect a familiar monster-of-the-week set up?
Well the first arc, by the nature of where it takes place in the timeline, looking at Tommy's introduction to the team, the threats come out of that. The threats come out of Rita's quest for retaliation. So there is some monster-of-the-week elements but they're part of something larger that Rita is planning.
Then beyond that it's a very character driven series. So I'm definitely not following the formula of the show as far as each issue being a new monster and things like that.
I think once people see what Rita's plan is, it'll start to make sense how different monsters factor into that.
What about the Power Rangers distinguishes them from other superhero teams?
I think at its most base level there's something visually very iconic about the Power Rangers, and I know growing up, I responded to that.
I mean, you're looking at a group of individuals who are a part of a team and each one is defined by not only a different color but different kinds of flourishes in their costumes as well. So visually you have this group of individuals that is also a part of a larger whole, and there was just something about that. Even the X-Men, growing up, didn't feel as much like a unified team as the Power Rangers.
The characters that last and really pop are visually engaging and unique, and the Power Rangers, for me, kind of speaks to that.
As far as character stuff goes, I think stories that kind of get into the idea of the world just beyond the veil of our own are always really engaging, and as the Power Rangers went on, not only did you see a part of that but you also saw a much deeper mythology. Ordinary kids being brought into that is something that is very empowering.
What is the appeal of working with teenage heroes compared to adults?
I think there's an innocence there. As you get older you start to see the way the world really works. It's hard to not be cynical.
I think you see that in older superheroes. I think you also see that in superheroes written by older people a lot of times as well. I know I've fallen down that kind of rabbit hole before, with some of my stuff.
There's an innocence and there is a natural predisposition for wanting to make the world a better place when you're younger. And I think that that's representative in the Power Rangers. I think there's hope in them. Even when things get dark, when you're dealing with younger characters, in my mind, there's not an overbearing darkness there.
It's something that I've always been attracted to. That's why I loved my time writing "Nightwing" and "Batman Beyond."
It's a lot of fun.
Is there maybe a fun scene you can tease from the upcoming comic?
I've got a pretty fun sequence that I'm working on right now, actually, that takes place in the cockpit of the dragon Zord. But it's the dragon Zord as it is kind of in stasis. So the scene basically takes place inside the cockpit but then when you look out the window you realize you're hundreds of feet underwater.
It's kind of a little thing but it's something that the show was never able to really get into.