Justice League/Power Rangers #5 review

JL PR 5

Remember this comic? No? I don’t blame you: it’s been on hiatus since last spring, that’s why. That tends to happen when you have months-long gaps between issues of a six-issue limited series. Is anyone still following along with this thing?

If you aren’t, that’s a shame because DC/Boom! Studios’ Justice League/Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers is a fun book, even if it is a little light-weight. And by issue No. 5 I definitely feel like this could have been a three-issue mini rather than a six. While I enjoy the “easy read” feel of it and appreciate the splashy artwork, the story does feel a rather padded for what’s not a very complex plot. Brainiac and Lord Zedd have combined forces to try to take over an alternate Earth where the Power Rangers are doing everything in their power to stop them (including inviting the Justice League along for the big battle to thwart these dastardly plans). Hanging in the balance, of course, are whole worlds.

Tom Taylor is still writing and he has managed to sustain this story on his usual excellent character development. There’s more fun in just watching the interactions of the Justice League than any strong sense of stakes here. The mere fact of alternate universes and all this silly pseudo-science already tip this one into the realm of low-stakes fantasy, but the action remains bright and energetic and the quips fly fast (though not furious).

And there’s Lord Zedd in his silly diaper calling up giant…crab and worm monsters.

Yeah

They aren’t the most inspired creatures–and between these and the tentacle monsters we had in the past, I seriously begin to wonder if I should page Dr. Freud. But it’s all fun anyway, and I love the tried-and true idea of Flash running around the world in a frenzied manhunt. As usual, of course, the monsters make it easy for him.

There’s also some fun moments with Batman, which I won’t spoil, but were at least chuckle-worthy. This is a great book for kids. And once again, I think in trade it will read a lot better.

For now, our bad guys aren’t as cohesive as I would have liked (quite literally when you consider what becomes to Brainiac) once Superman leads the rest of the Rangers in to deal with him and rescue Alpha Five. And perhaps therein lies the biggest conundrum of this book. For all the amazing characters we’ve got stacked up left and right on all sides, the book seems to yield to the sentient robot who lectures Brainiac about humanity and then pulls of big splashy guns out against Zedd in a final splashy coup that just feels to me like it renders the rest of all those team members kind of irrelevant.

You won’t be studying anything, lame-brain

For a Johnny-come-lately character to this story, the impact he has at this juncture just feels disproportionate and practically Deus ex machina. It just doesn’t strike me as a terribly interesting choice.

Meanwhile, it looks like Stephen Byrne is continuing on art duties, which makes for a nice consistency, though I still feel like his superhero jaws are occasionally out of control. Seriously. Check out Batman: he look like a moonface in some of these pictures. The bodies are always solid, but facial anatomy throughout just feels like it travels even from panel to panel with some characters (check out Diana in that opening sequence).

That said, I still admire his clean lines, his simple, but effective backgrounds, and yes, again, his strong use of bold colors throughout.

Recommended If…

  • Giant city-eating monsters; yep, this has them.
  • The plucky robot gets all the best lines and you’re okay with that.
  • You enjoy cartoon savagery and would like to see Batman perform a reboot on Cyborg.

Overall

Both the Justice League and the Power Rangers feel moderately sidelined in this penultimate issue of what’s been a fun (albeit slightly fluffy) crossover adventure–and by none other than Alpha Five, a “sentient” robot helpmate to the Power Rangers who manages to give Brainiac a considerable tongue-lashing (right before he’s dismembered by the good guys in some what grim fashion). Trust me, it makes sense in the narrative, even though the whole books feels like it’s careened a bit sideways for the moment. With Brainiac somewhat out of the picture (at least temporarily), now our intrepid cast of frankly too many heroes needs to take on the evil Lord Zedd. Tune in next time to see how they bring this battle of battles to its epic close!

SCORE: 7/10

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