Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #31: Nostalgia, Colour and Suspense

The Power Rangers unite in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #31 Cover A. Written by Marguerite Bennett and drawn by Simone Di Meo. Published by BOOM! Studios. September 26, 2018

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #31

“Beyond the Grid”
Marguerite Bennett (Writer), Simone Di Meo (Artist), Alessandro Cappuccio (Artist), Walter Baiamonte (Colours), Francesco Segala (Colours), Ed Dukeshire (Letters)
“The New Adventures of Blue Senturion & Ninjor”
Ryan Ferrier (Writer), Bachan (Artist), Jeremy Lawson (Colours), Jim Campbell (Letters)
BOOM! Studios
26 September, 2018

Lord Drakkon has destroyed the multiverse. But from within the white void of emptiness emerges something: the Promethea. It has survived the destruction of the multiverse and now must find its way home.The Pink Ranger's helmet includes a reflection of a sinister Purple Ranger in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #31 Cover B. Written by Marguerite Bennett and drawn by Simone Di Meo. Published by BOOM! Studios. September 26, 2018

At the helm of the Promethea is former Red Ranger Grace Sterling. Alongside her is Yellow Ranger Terona Washington, who discovers that the Psycho Dagger is the reason they are still alive, along with the rest of their crew of Rangers.

The Promethea had been on a rescue mission when Lord Drakkon’s attack was carried out. But, the rescued rangers have no access to their morphers or mechanical monsters, the zords. Only a few on the ship can still morph, but it isn’t long before even their abilities begin to fade.

The place where the Promethea finds itself in is the problem. There is no Morphin grid for the Power Rangers to draw their powers from. They must do everything to conserve what little power they still have. In the meantime, everyone does what they can to get the ship back together. But, with no life around them and time ticking, the Rangers’ greatest challenge is keeping their morale up.

And, then, out of the blue, the Promethea receives a distress call. Is there life in this broken galaxy after all? Or is there something much more dangerous that the Rangers have not anticipated?

In a two-page story at the end of the book, “The New Adventures of Blue Senturion & Ninjor,” Senturion and Ninjor are squabbling during a stakeout when Mutant Rangers appear. They have a mission of their own, but can the two of them stop arguing long enough to fight the Mutant Rangers?

I admit, I have not kept up with the Power Rangers universes and needed to do a fair amount of research after reading this issue. “Beyond the Grid” brings together Power Rangers from alternate universes and timelines, so it can be difficult to understand some of the characters’ reactions. I would have really liked a character index at the start of the book. In fact, I don’t know why all comic books don’t already do this. It’s so helpful.

Having said that, one doesn’t really need to have the entire backstory of each character to follow the events unfolding in this installment. I read it without much background and, honestly, I was hooked from page one. But there’s a tendency to miss the details if one doesn’t know what to look for.

We get a little backstory for Grace Sterling, the former Red Ranger in the opening pages of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #31 Page 3. Written by Marguerite Bennett and drawn by Simone Di Meo. Published by BOOM! Studios. September 26, 2018

This issue is a melancholic start to a new arc. The Power Rangers are in a bad state, the universe even more so. Grace takes on the role of protagonist in this book, and she is not nearly as optimistic as one would expect of a leader. The situation is exceedingly grim, and Grace relies on the Rangers’ innate drive to power through difficult situations, rather than by hand-holding. She does get to deliver a bad-ass speech about how much the Power Rangers have survived and that they have a responsibility to each other.

Writer Marguerite Bennett shows her life-long love of the Power Rangers in this comic. Her excitement at taking over the project was palpable when we met her a few months ago at Fan Expo Canada. Not only does she get to bind several Power Ranger universes together, she also sets up interesting character interactions, which the series will likely explore in coming issues.

There are lots of little hints through the book as to the personalities of the different characters. Siblings Karone and Andros—Pink Space Ranger and Red Space Ranger, respectively—are often seen together, either helping each other out or making sure the other is okay. There is a moment in one panel where readers get to see the hesitation on Ranger Slayer Kim’s face as she is called on for help. The Kim we see in this book was a former brainwashed member of Lord Drakkon’s army, and is unsure how others feel about her. There is even a throwback to the Pink Samurai Ranger Mia Watanabe’s cooking skills, or lack thereof.

Bennett has carefully chosen her team, and it is, as expected, diverse. Bennett is always pushing for diversity, and this book includes numerous female characters and characters of various races and ethnicities. I love that Bennett has been given the freedom to explore a more diverse team, as well as to include new characters, such as the mysterious Heckyl, a.k.a. the Dark Ranger.

There are several two-page spreads in this book, and they are breathtaking. Simone Di Meo’s art is incredibly detailed, especially for the interiors of the ship, the galaxy and, of course, the Power Rangers’ uniforms. His characters, on the other hand, seem diminished. He rarely focuses on their faces, choosing to show them only in small panels on the page. When he does bring the Power Rangers’ faces into focus, it is when they don their Ranger mantles, a page so reminiscent of the TV shows and films of the ’80s and ’90s that it gave me goosebumps.

An example of Simone Di Meo's art - a two page spread showing the otherworldly universe the Power Rangers have found themselves in in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #31 Pages 6 & 7. Written by Marguerite Bennett and drawn by Simone Di Meo. Published by BOOM! Studios. September 26, 2018

Meo’s art is amply helped by Walter Baiamonte’s excellent colours. Together, they create a wildly imaginative universe, within and without the Promethea. The Power Rangers are all about colour, and that’s just what we get in this comic book.

At the end of the book is Ryan Ferrier’s story, “The New Adventures of Blue Senturion & Ninjor.” This has a completely different tone—it’s much lighter and more comic—from the primary narrative. It’s a bit jarring if you don’t expect it, but actually works as light relief after the heaviness of the main story. Bachan’s art is appropriately whimsical, and Jeremy Lawson’s colours add a great amount of pop vibrancy to proceedings.

Beyond the Grid was an absolute joy to read. There’s action, there’s heart, there’s tons of suspense, and the potential for a long and exciting story. I cannot wait for the next issue.

Louis Skye

Louis Skye

A writer at heart with a fondness for well-told stories, Louis Skye is always looking for a way to escape the planet, whether through comic books, films, television, books, or video games. E always has an eye out for the subversive and champions diversity in media. Louis' podcast, Stereo Geeks, is available on all major platforms. Pronouns: E/ Er/ Eir