Justice League/Power Rangers #1 review

Justice League vs Power Rangers 1

Lord Zedd has it out for Zordon and he’s got an army of thralls to overthrow the Power Rangers’ peacekeeping on Earth, but never fear: the Justice League is here! Or there. Because teleportation is going to make this crazy crossover happen! Sound like the zany plot of a Saturday morning cartoon? Welcome to the first installment of the six-issue DC/Boom! Studios’ 1st time ever team-up: Justice League/Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers!

Tom Taylor pens this tale (you wouldn’t know that except from the “Taylor” on the cover because there are no credits in this comic. On Art, we’ve got Stephen Byrne (also only discernible from the cover). Maybe there’s a colorist. Probably there’s a letterer. Heck, maybe, if we knew who the editor was, we could harangue them about this unfortunate oversight.

Taylor’s an ace handling big groups of superheroes duking it out. He’s also an ace in the age range for which this book is intended: pre-teen/teen. 

So don’t expect a dark bloodbath of contrasting powers and nuanced moral ambiguity. But then you knew that already, right? I mean, this is our evil overlord baddie:

Z is also for Zipper and Zebra, kids!

Which is not to say this isn’t so far an interestingly written and satisfying comic book reading experience. If you’re a big fan of the Power Rangers even more power to you. I confess I’m not a fan. The Rangers came along in 1993 when I was already graduating from college, so, no, it’s not something that was ever more than vaguely on my radar. I’ve never seen a single episode of the show and my eyes glazed over when I saw the trailer for the upcoming big screen release. Take all that into consideration with regard to this review.

I don’t have anything against the Power Rangers. I just don’t know them.

Taylor gives a succinct introduction, which is always one of the things I look for in a crossover of this type. Are the people who like Justice League going to understand the Power Rangers? Are the Power Rangers’ fans going to “get” the Justice League? Does the writer assume the fanbases of these two worlds must naturally concur that both sides are totally rad and this is the greatest idea since neolithic man Gorr Cruda chipped the edges off that flat stone and made it roll?

I don’t know if this comic book is that great, but it’s a pretty fun read. To answer the questions, as I said before, Taylor makes the Power Rangers accessible to a know-nothing like me. We get to see generally how their team works, we get a sense of their abilities–and without a whole lot of exposition. We can also figure out what we need to know about robot Alpha, and we understand that teleportation is a fancy thing these candy-colored crusaders are into.

My big problem with the book is why on earth does Batman fire on the Power Rangers after Flash has disarmed them? Yes, they are a hostile force, but Batman doesn’t even try to negotiate after Flash takes their toys away. That just seemed like overkill to me. Batman had already expressed that he felt Black Power Ranger was confused, but the tables turn suddenly.

He means that threat, kiddies. Don’t mess with the Bat.

And then: SHOW SPOILER ▼

I’ll admit I’m amused. The final splash reveal was tasty frosting, but also pretty silly, even in this realm. It could be a pacing problem with the way the panels reveal this action, the fact that we don’t know what Bats and Flash are doing while all this is going on–I don’t know, but it didn’t entirely work for me.

Byrne on art is a great choice for this book. Except…where it concerns the Dark Knight. His Batman looks a little off-model somehow. Is it the ears? The head? The set of his cowl just looks strange to me throughout–too far back with a huge expanse of forehead. That said, Flash and Cyborg are ace and the Power Rangers look great! Byrne knows how to cram a lot of people into panels without it looking overstuffed, and the colors really help keep the action clear. His minimal backgrounds are effective and his splash pages deeply dramatic. When the Power Rangers blast through the teleportation to find Zack, it’s certainly a mini-poster-worthy moment.

The story starts in media res, so we know things are going to go gaflooey; the opening scene between a grieving Black Power Ranger and Superman sets the tone. Among our big open ended questions, of course is what happened to Angel Grove and will there be a way to prevent it going forward? Guess we have to buy the next issue to find out!

Recommended If…

  • You like a book that emphasizes family-friendly values and G-rated action!
  • More = Better where superheroes are concerned.
  • You never get tired of galactic takeover and interdimensional travel plots.

Overall

Taylor and Byrne are a great team on this all-ages romp.  While the story feels a bit simple at the moment, that’s not a bad thing: good guys vs. bad guys is the heart of comics and always has been. Batman feels maybe a smidge out of character here, but it’s just the introduction, so there’s plenty of time to see how the relationships between these two heavy-hitter teams works out!

SCORE: 7.5/10

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