Justice League/Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1
Written by Tom Taylor
Art by Stephen Byrne
Lettering by Deron Bennett
Published by DC Comics and BOOM! Studios
Review by Oscar Maltby
'Rama Rating: 9 out of 10
A smouldering crater where Angel Grove once stood. Lord Zedd triumphant. The Black Ranger locked in combat with... Batman!? Writer Tom Taylor and artist Stephen Byrne gleefully dive into a crossover between two long-standing icons of pop culture with Justice League/Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1; a dramatic and compelling 22 pages of good clean superheroics that pulls no punches when it comes to mashing up the Mighty Morphin' Crew with DC's A-Team of gleaming gods.
Tom Taylor clearly understands the impact of a memorable opening, immediately plunging the reader into a future apocalyptic world for the Rangers before throwing us back into the no less catastrophic now. After years of throwing skyscraper-sized monsters at the six karate teens, Lord Zedd puts into motion the ultimate plan: to kidnap the Rangers' robot buddy Alpha Five, replace him with an Alpha-shaped bomb and let the Rangers find him. After that, it's just a simple case of detonating the bomb and then storming their Command Center. And of course, what crossover wouldn't be complete without a dimension-hopping MacGuffin? Which in this case is a damaged teleporter, catalyzing Zack's accidental trip to Gotham City after Lord Zedd's invasion. A case of mistaken identity and misplaced aggression later, and the situation escalates to... well, I think The Flash says it best in the issue's final splash page: “Batman's been taken by a flying pink dinosaur robot.”
The plot reasoning behind getting the Power Rangers and the Justice League on the same page together was always going to be tenuous, and it would be frankly unfair to rate this story's particular set-up with anything harsher than a well-meaning poke of fun. It's a comic book crossover! The appeal lies strictly in the destination, not the journey. Thankfully for Justice League/Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1, Taylor and Byrne immediately get to the good stuff, and man, is it good stuff. From Lord Zedd finally realizing his potential as a competent adversary to the Flash frantically calling for the watchtower when faced with the ridiculous wrath of the Pterodactyl Dinozord, the issue is chock-full of memorable moments.
Stephen Byrne's artwork confidentally upholds the gravitas of these truly massive characters, depicting the Rangers in show-accurate garb and with refreshingly human physiques. The Justice League are similarly well-realised, here in "Rebirth"-era costuming and with the kind of superhuman musculature we have come to expect, which makes for a simple but effective contrast between the two teams. Atop Byrne's clean lines, his colors fulfill the bright nature of the subject matter with an array of dazzling primary colors that favors the Rangers. The team truly pops out from the reds and greys of their grim surroundings, always centring the reader's eye to the main focus. Dynamic use of lighting brings a sense of weight to the Byrne's figures, as well as highlighting the extraordinary nature of the Flash's speed and the Ranger's helmets and Zords.
Justice League/Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1 is silly fun of the highest level. The Justice League might be first billed here, but this is a Power Rangers book first-and-foremost, maintaining that same high quality of their smash-hit BOOM! Studios ongoing. Tom Taylor and Stephen Byrne know full well where the appeal lies in a crossover like this, and they deliver it here in spades. You already know you want this.