Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 Brings Nostalgia & Intrigue

MMPR_TMNT_001_Cover_Mora_Promo-609x1024. BOOM! Studios

The Power Rangers are under attack from Rita Repulsa, but they actually have bigger worries—Green Ranger Tommy Marshall hasn’t been heard from in a while. Where is he? Meanwhile in New York City, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are up against the Hand, but they have a new and more powerful ninja in their midst that might turn the tide of this battle in Shredder’s favour.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Walter Baiamonte (Colours), Simone Di Meo (Artist), Ed Dukeshire (Letters), Ryan Parrott (Writer)
BOOM! Studios
December 4, 2019

MMPR_TMNT_001_Cover_Mora_Promo-609x1024. BOOM! Studios

I love team up stories. Seeing my childhood favourites—the Power Rangers and the Ninja Turtles—come together was an exciting proposition. The Turtles in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 are somewhat similar to the versions I grew up with. Michelangelo is his usual funny self, Donatello is a nerd, and Leonardo continues to be a quintessential leader.

Raphael, on the other hand, is a bit of a grouch, which seems more in line with the modern interpretation of the character—exemplified in the Michael Bay films, where Raphael looked positively terrifying and seemed to have misplaced loyalties. We get a whiff of that in this book—Raphael isn’t as keen to participate in his brothers’ jokes or games. He’s aloof, and even comments on how he’d rather his brothers weren’t around. My memories of Raphael (who, as you can probably tell, was my favourite Ninja Turtle) are of a hard working, fun character, and it pains me to see repeated interpretations of him as a sullen, angry, and bordering-on-disloyal anti-hero. Master Splinter would never stand by it, I tell you! Having said that, I must acknowledge that this is the first book in the series—for all we know, Raphael is going to turn out to be the hero we all know him to be in the end. Until then, I’m going to be frustrated.

Moving on to the Power Rangers—there are five in the Go Go Power Rangers team in this first issue, since Tommy is missing, but we don’t really get that much time with them. This book is very much a setup for a larger story, so that is understandable. But I do like the lighter tone for the Power Rangers—they wise-crack their way through the fight against Rita, which got a chuckle out of me.

I previously reviewed Marguerite Bennett’s Power Rangers: Beyond the Grid, which was massively helpful in bringing me back into the universe. I didn’t get to see much of the team as a child but, as an adult, I’ve been able to enjoy the lore and world-building for the various Ranger teams. Thanks to the Bennett run, I had a decent amount knowledge about the characters coming into this book. So, it wasn’t all that much of a surprise that Tommy was the Ranger to go missing. From what I know about his arc in the TV shows and comics, Tommy has a bit of a habit of disappearing, getting into trouble, and falling in with the wrong crowd. Which is it going to be in this series? It’s definitely going to be interesting to find out.

What I loved about Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 was that the titular team up happens in the first issue itself. Okay, so not the team up per se, but at least the teams meet each other! Not like another series which I thoroughly enjoyed but which waited till the last issue to bring the two worlds together. Batman ’66 Meets Archie, anyone?

However, the two sets of heroes are very much on opposing sides in this book, and though it essentially boils down to a misunderstanding, it may take some explaining for them to put their differences aside and come together. I feel like Tommy’s disappearance may actually be the key for the team up. I do wish the Power Rangers weren’t so mean to the Ninja Turtles. They keep calling the Turtles ‘monsters’, which is just not on! The Ninja Turtles are heroes and have been keeping New York City safe from Shredder for years. They deserve better treatment at the hands of a fellow group of heroes.

Which brings me to my main question when reading this comic—how is it that the Turtles know about the Power Rangers, but the Rangers don’t know the Turtles? I understand that the Turtles aren’t exactly the most visible team of heroes, but surely a group like the Rangers would know about the Hand? I hope the rest of the series explains this because it threw me a bit.

This story is gearing up to be an exciting one, but I have to admit that when I got this book to review, the first thing I did was to check who the artist was—and I couldn’t have been happier to see Simone Di Meo listed as the artist.

MMPR_TMNT_001_005_Promo-609x1024. BOOM! StudiosI adored Di Meo’s work on ‘Beyond the Grid’ and I am thrilled to be joining him on another adventure with the Power Rangers. I think he captures their personalities, their other-worldliness, and their ethos beautifully. There are moments in this book that are so typical of Di Meo’s that it gladdened my heart.

But I love what Di Meo does with the Turtles, as well. They aren’t as goofy as the cartoons of my childhood, but not the over-the-top CGI disasters of the Bay films either. Di Meo has found a happy medium that does the Turtles justice. I’m also glad that each Turtle has distinctive facial features—even without their coloured masks, we could tell them apart. It helps that colourist Walter Baiamonte has brought Di Meo’s vision to life—there’s a cornucopia of colours in this book that made my heart sing.

Despite my reservations about the depiction of Raphael, I thoroughly enjoyed Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1. I’ve been feeling a bit disillusioned with the world of comics recently (aren’t we all?) and I needed something like this to remind me of the magic of comics—how it evokes nostalgia, brightens up our world, and brings the stories of our dreams to life. Maybe I’m putting too much on this book, but I went into it expecting a story that wouldn’t really move me but it’s got me excited for more and feeling invigorated. Dare I hope that that feeling will continue?

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