Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Justice League/Power Rangers #1 Review
Writer: Tom Taylor
Art Team: Stephen Byrne
DC Comics/Boom Studio
Release Date: 1/11/17
We start off with the classic comic book story cold opening and discover some hints about where the future of this comic is headed, primarily that the Rangers have failed their city. As the group of young Rangers look down on a destroyed town we hear Superman encourage a distraught Zack “This isn’t on you. We know who did this.” This book is already a whole lot darker than I’d ever imagined it would be in just the first few pages, which sets the tone for the story to come in the pages that follow.
From our cold opening we flashback to 36 hours ago and unwrap the backstory to this event. Things start off hot as Zordon summons the Rangers, to the Command Center, because Alpha Five is missing after not returning from a routine patrol. The Rangers are quickly sent out, separately around the base perimeter, by their talking hologram boss to discover the whereabouts of their trusty robot friend. Zack quickly discovers a damaged Alpha Five in a nearby crevice and helps the sidekick back into the Command Center with Zordon before anyone else can return.
All fine and dandy right? Next mission please. Well, well, well not so fast my friends, because by the time Zordon and Zack sense something is off with this Alpha Five, mainly that it’s a planted imposter, he explodes destroying a large chunk of the Command Center and providing the distraction Lord Zedd needed to slide on inside with a few Putty’s to attack. Zack uses some quick thinking and morphs into his suit. Then using his teleporter he zips the bad guys off and away from the team base, but due to the explosion and a damaged teleporter, he’s sent with the crew of baddies to “parts unknown”.
At this point in our story a simple turn of the page reveals what everyone knows they came here to see, BATMAN! Batman’s appearance starts as he approaches a shadowy figure, who upon being shined with the Batmobile lights, reveals itself to be a universe displaced Black Ranger fighting Putty’s in Gotham. Obviously Batman asks the Black Ranger, with a Power Ax in hand, to stand down which goes down about as well as a trip to a gas station bathroom. Just as it looks like Batman has controlled the situation, Zordon teleports in the other Rangers to the scene, forcing Batman to have to issue a call for back up, which Flash mockingly accepts. (I think Mr. Taylor also pulled this little trick in the Batman/Superman Lobo story from last year before Rebirth as well and I love it every damn time!)
For the remainder of the issue we have the Power Rangers and a small part of the Justice League (Batman, Flash, and eventually Cyborg) mixing it up over this misunderstanding in typical crossover fashion. The final straw for the Pink Ranger though is at the point in time when Batman jumps in his ride and starts firing missiles all willy nilly. As a counter measure Kimberly calls in her Pterodactyl Dinozord to battle, and in a boss move, decides to one up Batman and kidnapping the Batmobile with Batman himself inside. As she flies off our issue ends, and yes you can breathe again now.
Tom Taylor does a great job of grabbing the reader’s attention right of the bat in a great cold opening sequence and doesn’t really let up. While you’re still digesting what’s going on in the title Taylor also catches you off guard by establishing stakes to the story you may not be expecting in a crossover title at all, especially so early in the opening pages. From there on out the Justice League/Power Rangers continues to read at a break neck pace but with the surprises placed perfectly throughout the book.
It’s also a nice touch to have Lord Zedd here in the title instead of the standard Ranger villain of Rita Rupulsa. I always found Lord Zedd more frightening anyway and Rita to be a bit bogus even back to when I was a kid. The highlights in issue one seemed to focus mostly on Zack, the Black Ranger, and Batman so being a fan of both characters I got a little extra bonus out of that spotlight attention here as well only enhancing my enjoyment personally. The only knock I would have against the book so far is that we never get past the heroes fighting heroes’ trope this issue despite seeing the group’s eventually team up in the opening pages … but that’s a nitpick it will come.
The art done by Stephen Byrne is also very well done, and colored brightly, with a few standout splash pages especially the one where the Rangers teleport into Gotham. The artist has a good handle on both the Boom Studio and DC Comics characters. Nobody looks out of place even when the shit starts to hit the fan, which is nice because I wasn’t sure if the Rangers fighting the Justice League would actually look believable drawn out, but Byrne makes it work here without pulling you out of the story in any way.
Bits and Pieces:
Overall, when going into this crossover, you have to ask yourself a few questions. Do you enjoy the characters in this comic book? Are you in the mood for a little bit of over the top, crazy, crossover fun? If your answers are “yes” to these questions then this title is for you even if you may think you’re too old for the likes of the Power Rangers. Tom Taylor, a Weird Science favorite, and Steven Byrne have established a shocking tone, to go with an interesting premise in the first issue, and all the characters together early to make it a crossover I want to read going forward.