Justice League/Power Rangers #2 review

Justice League Power Rangers 2

The DC/Boom! Studios’ team-up: Justice League/Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers continues with its second installment in a six-issue miniseries, which is mostly still set up for a complex cross-over, but still mighty morphin’ly entertaining!

Tom Taylor has a particular ability to write for a young audience without talking down or sacrificing a solid plot and character development. Even if these things are simplified, they are not unsophisticated. And Taylor, whose prowess with juggling big teams has long since been proven in his Injustice run, takes a huge cast and once again makes it all accessible to a crossover audience with aplomb.

And for those of you who want more Zords, this installment is chock-full of them! But don’t expect to go into full-on battle mode just yet: the Justice League and the Power Rangers come to a quick understanding that they’re both on the same team in this issue, and that there are bigger–much bigger!–fish to fry.

We have a surprise supervillain joining Lord Zedd on the galactic take-over side of things. I guess it makes sense now that I think of it: if we’re going to have a hero  team-up, we’ll just as likely get a villain team-up too. I like the choice, also, because he’s powerful with a vast reach, but more brains than brawn (and yes, that’s a spoilery giveaway).

Fists and Zords: power and paleontology!

One of the things I really like about this is that even though it’s relatively predictable, it’s still entertaining. Last issue there was a heavy emphasis on the Power Rangers because the story originates in their court, but this time there is definitely more balance and we get to see the Justice League come together as a group to quickly subdue these young upstarts.

Or perhaps subdue isn’t really the right word. Usually in team-ups of this kind, the teams end up looking pretty evenly matched to avoid promoting one over the other, but here I feel like the Power Rangers don’t really stand a chance against the Justice League. They have cool dinosaurs and all, but don’t really stand a chance against the high-powered variety of skills that the Justice League brings to the table. Fortunately it never really comes to a smack-down, however, because Wonder Woman’s lasso has them all apologizing before anything too drastic can occur.

Frankly, this could have all been avoided in the first place if Batman had just asked more questions at the start, but let’s move on.

This is ironic coming from a creepy freeze-face!

Once the “we’re all on the same side” stuff gets established and the introduction of the additional villain gets established, we have just enough time to kick off a major crisis before this book comes to a close. Lord Zedd and his new BFF waste no time in executing an assault all over the world: the kind of mayhem only two highly skilled teams of superheroes can tackle!

This issue feels like it evens out on some of my nitpicks with the premiere. Stephen Bryne’s art feels more consistent. Though his characters still seem to suffer from a kind of cartoonish encephalitis, Batman looks to have his forehead mostly under control and some of the expressions on Flash’s face are particularly well done. I also really liked the environment in the scene between Zedd and his excellent ally: simple but effective–especially for young readers for whom this might be a first introduction to this character’s particular predilections.

The Power Rangers leave me kind of cold throughout. Their own expressiveness is hindered by their masks, which is a problem that can only be solved through their body language. But other than standing straight in formation or punching out an “action stance” they feel rather stiff overall. This is probably how they are in “real life” too–which may explain why I never was much interested in them.

I had a brief moment this past weekend when I thought to myself: maybe I should watch an episode of the Power Rangers or look at their ongoing comic series so that I can get to know them better–you know, to inform my reviews and perhaps better appreciate how they are being handled here.

And then I didn’t.

So I can’t say that their involvement here inspires me to learn more about them or seek them out in other media.  Perhaps that’s a big fail for the comic book. Or it could just be that I have particularly stubborn biases. Either way, I still enjoyed reading this, so that’s a major win.

Recommended If…

  • Giant dino-bots: come on! You can’t help but love how ridiculous they are. I think the big purple mastodon is my favorite.
  • Off-putting as I personally find Lord Zedd’s silver speedo, It’s exciting to see him team up with a great Justice League-worthy villain.
  • Did I mention there are giant octopus monsters in this? Because there are.

Overall

The plot thickens as Lord Zedd finds an ally in a classic enemy of the Justice League. Also, the Power Rangers and the Justice Leaguers put aside their snap judgments and realize they are all on the same side–glad we got that out of the way! Tom Taylor keeps this romp light-hearted and Stephen Bryne’s visuals emphasize big and bright action–and even bigger and brighter colors in the tradition of both superhero teams’ original Saturday morning incarnations. If you like bold action and a traditional us vs. them narrative, you’ll love this all-ages pleaser. Okay, so there’s no real big surprises here, but Taylor may yet have something up his plotting sleeve.

SCORE: 8/10

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