In 1993, Saban Entertainment and Toei’s Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers exploded onto television screens, kicking off what would become a long-running franchise. Nine years before that, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles did the same, adapted from comic books published by Mirage Studios. Both TMNT and the Power Rangers would become household names for both ’80s and ’90s kids. It’s a no-brainer that BOOM! Studios decided to publish a team-up comic book featuring both teams.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Ryan Parrot (writer), Simone de Meo and Alessio Zenno (artists), Walter Baiamonte and Igor Monti (colorists)
Ed Dukeshire (letterer), Dan Mora (Covers)
September 23, 2020
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles opens with a touching opening monologue about how the people you grew up with become family. The scene then shifts to the Power Rangers, who are in the middle of taking down Apocalyptopus, a tentacled alien monstrosity. Meanwhile, in New York City, TMNT are in the middle of fighting the evil ninja clan The Foot. Things are going smoothly for both the Power Rangers and the Ninja Turtles until a new Foot soldier appears on the scene and defeats Raphael. Although TMNT are quick to label the soldier “Steve”, he is soon revealed to be Tommy Oliver, aka the Green Power Ranger. Soon, this leads to the rest of the Power Rangers meeting the Ninja Turtles and what comes after is very fun and epic.
As someone who adored the MMPR tv show as a kid, I was amazed at how writer Ryan Parrot, illustrator Simone de Meo, colorist Walter Baiamonte, and letterer Ed Dukshire evoked the spirit of the show in the first dozen pages. De Meo, Baiamonte, Dukeshire are especially magical with full page art. Bold yellow and white letters and electrifying colors combine with detailed artwork to make action scenes so dynamic that you feel like you’re watching an episode of MMPR. A particularly striking page that caught my eye was when the Power Rangers use the Dyno Blaster against Apocalytopus.
Of course, the Ninja Turtles are given similar treatment. In their pages, bold black and italicized text emphasize certain bits of dialogue. An example of this is when the Ninja Turtles literally leap into action while discussing what human features they would want, the bold text highlighting their interesting choices. It also helps that Walter Baiamonte’s writing of the Turtles’ banter is so amusing that I laughed out loud while reading it. Another notable aspect of the Turtles’ pages is how the Turtles’ color coded character designs contrast with that of their foes and the background. It really emphasized the Turtles’ overall bright and fun demeanor and the Foot Clan’s darker and stricter ones.
When the Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers meet up, the best of both come together in the writing, artwork, letters, and colors. The antagonists are given the fun treatment as a surprising and delightful team-up between villains occurs. Without spoiling too much, the character design for one of the antagonists gets an awesome makeover that combines the gritter style of the Ninja Turtles with a splash of color from the Power Rangers universe. There are also other amazing character designs that are worth reading the book for, but that antagonist character design was one of the things that kept me enthralled.
Besides the character designs, the dialogue between the Turtles and the Power Rangers never failed to put a smile on my face. One of my favorite conversations occurs when the Rangers go to the Ninja Turtles’ underground lair for the first time. Michelangelo offers the Rangers two pizzas: one with the “traditional” toppings of jellybeans and sausage and another with butterscotch, anchovies, and onions. While this is going on, Billy asks Master Splinter (the Turtles’ rat sensei) whether he is a rat turned into a person or vice versa and Trini trains with Raphael while asking about his anger issues. All of this flows naturally without any confusion and shows off each character’s personality well.
Last but certainly not least, the action sequences became twice as awesome. It is very hard not to discuss my favorite pages and scenes without spoiling anything, but let’s just say both teams work extremely well together. While my knowledge of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers is greater than that of the Ninja Turtles (I wasn’t fully exposed to them until 2003), there is enough butt kicking for newcomers and long time fans of the Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles. The action sequences complimented the overall storyline well and never felt forced or exaggerated, though the Ninja Turtles do make some entertaining comments about the Power Rangers’ fighting style.
All in all, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was fabulous all around, so satisfying that you will feel like a kid again as you read it. As I read this book, I remembered a lesser-known Power Rangers In Space episode called “Shell Shocked”, where their iteration of the Power Rangers met TMNT. This book took the fun and action from that episode and amped it up to something even better. Cowabunga, it’s Morphin’ Time!