The upcoming Shattered Grid event is about to overlap two BOOM! Studios Power Ranger titles—if you haven’t caught up yet, never fear. In this article I get you up to speed on what is going on in the Power Rangers comic verse’s younger, more emotional cousin, Go Go Power Rangers. [For more help, check out our archive of coverage! —Ed.]
For those not aware, BOOM! Studios has two Power Ranger titles: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Go Go Power Rangers. Mighty Morphin can get quite serious and leans in quite heavy on the sci-fi elements of the series whereas Go Go Power Rangers is its newer, younger-skewed compatriot. It’s like if Power Rangers had a fling with Byker Grove with just a hint of Disney Channel. Mighty Morphin focuses on the lore whereas Go Go prefers to focus on feelings; luckily, it tends to do so well.
Go Go is an odd duck and, at only six issues in and at such a different point in the lore, it seems a perfect juncture to join in and see it for itself. So here is a rundown of what is going on in Angel Grove.
Go Go Power Rangers #1 chucks us back at the very beginning of the megalith that is the Power Rangers franchise with a modern twist. We see the original Mighty Morphin’ Rangers at the very beginning riddled with tons of teenage angst and very high school drama subplots. I can’t help feeling some of the pitch may have been “Power Rangers but with a side of happier, less angsty Riverdale.” Even the character designs have a hint of new Archie to them.
We are back at the very beginning of the franchise so with our original Rangers—Jason, Trini, Kimberly, Zach, and Billy—but modernized for the 2010s. In issue #1 our team is introduced with yearbook-style information and we find out their names, ages, likes, dislikes, and a personal quote. Red Ranger is Jason Lee Scott, a fifteen-year-old martial artist who volunteers at the youth center for Eddie. He’s the leader and a perfectionist, and this often causes squabbles with the other Rangers because to him only the best will do. Trini Kwan (Yellow Ranger) has a big old case of angsty teen— incredibly stressed about just being a teenager, the whole saving the world situation, and forgetting things as a result. We then have Kimberly Hart, Pink Ranger, who is a little more all over the place so far as a character but she pretty much hews back to her original teen queen roots. And finally, super nerd Billy Cranston (Blue Ranger) is trying to join a fancy college on scholarship, and Zach Taylor (Black Ranger) who is a bit of a playboy and just lost his job—due to Kimberly, as it turns out.
Seeing all these characters modernized is not too bad, as it’s already happened for the other Power Rangers comics. They are different to the modernized versions in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers but only in that they are set before that comic could even begin. The designs are very similar. Other fan favorites have caught up with them too, including the youth center’s owner Eddie and comedy punk antagonists Bulk and Skull.
As a huge fan of the whole American comedy antagonist duo I am pleased to admit Bulk and Skull are fantastic in Go Go. Not only we do get backstory but also we get some fun moments without turning them too nice. In one issue Skull is stuck outside during a monster attack (he’s saved by Billy in the Blue Ranger just to add that emotional punch) and when he gets back he’s hug-attacked by Bulk. It’s a nice moment and it’s nice to see them have a friendship, not just whatever the hell was going on in the show.
Go Go Power Rangers focuses more on the characters than the big robot fighting Ranger battles. It uses all this unmorphed time well by shoveling in loads of character development. Finally, characters that have for years been simply the geek, the bully, or the martial artist get their own personalities, traits, and reasons for their behavior. One fantastic example of this is issue #3, where we learn Billy and Skull grew up together. Due to Skull’s older brother being the punk kid hanging around with others like him, Skull got sucked into that same crowd. We learn his messing with Billy is all due to how he feels Billy treated him when they were young. It’s hard-hitting and fantastically written and left me sitting there for ages.
One thing the series does well is cut through the ’90s series’ caricatured characters. The comic really allows them to look in-depth at characters that only got five or ten unmorphed minutes together an episode. Issue #3, where Skull’s reason for being so mean to Billy is revealed, is the perfect example.
The stories do have an overarching plot with Rita Repulsa trying to catch the newly formed Rangers using a series of monsters, possessions, and her evil minions, the Putties (creepy clay men that explode). This tends to be less important, however, than the character building and the gentle reveals.
Because Go Go is situated right at the beginning of Power Rangers history, however, I worry about how it’s going to integrate into Shattered Grid.
The big problem, of course, is Tommy Oliver, who from what I can gather is a huge part of Shattered Grid. For those of you confused, Tommy Oliver is a fan favorite character who joined the series as the first ever sixth Ranger; his place in the lore is undeniable. In the Mighty Morphin comic Tommy has seen a parallel version of himself, one who chose the dark side and eschewed the light. This version of him became the fantastically outfitted Lord Drakkon, a character who already has fans begging for him to make the leap to the show (Power Rangers continues to air new seasons on Nickolodeon).
However, because of how early on in the story Go Go is, Tommy hasn’t even arrived in Angel Grove yet. Rita is still in her search-and-destroy-the-Rangers phase; she hasn’t even started thinking about creating the sixth Ranger.
I wonder how they will be able to glue a Tommy-Oliver-less set of Rangers into a story all to do with him. I’m willing to place bets on time travel and the Go Go section having more to do with the Morphing Grid hinted in the title than with the actual Drakkon situation, but that still leaves us lots of room to speculate.
So, I honestly don’t know what to expect. But Go Go Power Rangers is off to a strong start. I only hope that integrating it this quickly into an event won’t stall that. It’s a great little series, just as weird as you want to be but a little easier to get than BOOM!’s other PR comic.