Written By: Kyle Higgins, Jamal Campbell, Tom Taylor, Trey Moore, and Caitlin Kittredge
Art By: Goni Montes, Jamal Campbell, Dan Mora, Frazer Irving, Da Jung Lee
Published By: Boom!
It has been a banner year for the Power Rangers. The new series by Kyle Higgins took familiar heroes in a vastly entertaining new direction while somehow balancing murder and good ol’ family fun. DC and BOOM! followed that up with an entertaining crossover series in which the Justice League and the Power Rangers work together to battle calamity. Finally, a surprisingly well made movie hit the silver screens and kept that wave of nostalgia rolling.
The year is only half over, but BOOM! is bringing even more entertainment with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 2017 Annual. A collection of five short stories, the 2017 Annual brings together five different author/artist teams to create vastly different experiences. Some are focused on humor while others tell darker tales. Not every story is perfect, but they come together to form something fun. Like a Megazord.
Like his main series, Kyle Higgins’ short story, Search Party, touches on Tommy’s struggle with good and evil, as well as his relationship with Rita. More importantly, the story actually provides a little more information about Lord Drakkon, albeit in a teasing manner. Higgins has continually crafted interesting stories in the Power Rangers universe, and this is no exception. The only strange aspect is that the characters look like they belong in Aladdin. Not a bad choice; just a little jarring.
The best of the five stories, Trini’s Vacation aims to explain why heroes just can’t relax. Instead of following the Power Rangers around Angel Grove, Trini’s Vacation actually focuses on the yellow ranger as she is on a family vacation in some podunk little town. All Trini wants to do is kick back with a nice pot of tea, a goofy t-shirt, and a good book, but achieving that wouldn’t make for a good story. Instead, she has to deal with the inconvenient schemes of Rita and Goldar.
Despite only focusing on one Power Ranger, Trini’s Vacation achieves something special by showing what can happen when one hero has to improvise in the middle of nowhere. Tom Taylor avoids using the suit for as long as possible while making Trini use her God-given skills to protect surrounding civilians. And he does so with the right amount of mirth.
Forever Mighty Morphin Black
The weakest story of the annual, Forever Mighty Morphin Black doesn’t seem to follow the clearest path to reach big fight scenes. The story just immediately switches from Zack being hard on himself to fighting in a gigantic battle. It’s a jarring transition that takes away from an otherwise interesting concept. It would have been nice to see Zack meet the other members of his patchwork team before they fought the battle. Forever Mighty Morphin Black has a nice payoff at the end, but the beginning and middle just seemed a little rushed.
The most utterly depressing story in this group, Perfect is a true wild card. Instead of focusing on a particular Power Ranger and their struggles, writer Trey Moore actually takes the opportunity to delve into Finster’s unknown origin story (the creator of Putty Patrols and other fearsome monsters). As it turns out, his tale is tragic, fascinating, and impossible to put down, but it’s also completely draining. I had to take a break after reading Perfect simply because it was just a departure from the other stories. It also didn’t help that Frazer Irving takes the art in a completely abstract direction, relying on darkness and shadows. It’s quite haunting to see truly terrible scenes play out with this very specific art style.
Sabrina’s Day Out
The final story in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 2017 Annual, Sabrina’s Day Out is the antithesis to Perfect. Instead of being dark, tragic, and deep, this story is goofy fun. Where Finster is focused on making his life and creations perfect to a disturbing degree, Goldar is simply trying to have fun while avoiding punishment. Basically, Sabrina’s Day Out is the happy ending in a horror movie.
The simple premise is that Rita sends two of her minions to Angel Grove in disguise so that they can learn the dirty secrets of the Power Rangers. Unfortunately, the duo gets distracted by promises of taffy and carnival games and actually end up having a really enjoyable time. At least, until an unexpected character arrives. What follows is a truly humorous encounter that goes completely against existing characters, but that’s a positive thing.
As a whole, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 2017 Annual is a very solid product. Each author manages to take existing characters and place them in new situations without any issues, and the different art styles mostly fit the changes. There are a few weaker moments for sure, but these fall by the wayside once you examine the collection as a whole piece.