Best Shots Advance Reviews: GO GO POWER RANGERS #2, DOCTOR WHO - LOST DIMENSION #1 - ALPHA

Doctor Who: The Lost Dimension #1 Alpha
Credit: Titan Comics
Credit: BOOM! Studios

Go Go Power Rangers #2
Written by Ryan Parrott
Art by Dan Mora and Raul Angulo
Lettering by Ed Dukeshire
Published by BOOM! Studios
Review by Kat Calamia
Rama Rating: 9 out of 10

Go Go Power Rangers is a story driven by its characters, and with #2 writer Ryan Parrott digs deeper into the team’s dynamic outside of the Power Ranger suits. The issue forms unlikely bonds, sees old relationships breaking, and starts to build Rita as a smarter villain.

Go Go Power Rangers tells the story of the original rangers before and after 'Arrival Day' - the day Rita and her aliens arrived on Earth. Parrott showcases the Rangers trying to find a balance between being high school students and their superheroic extracurricular activities, while the rest of the town tries to wrap their heads around the existence of aliens.

Parrott starts off this issue with a particularly human angle, as Kimberly’s relationship with new character Matthew takes center stage. Parrott does a great job at using flashbacks to show Kimberly and Matthew’s relationship blossoming after a horrible first date at a carnival. Yet the overarching theme of this issue - the Power Rangers’ civilian and costumed lives colliding - consumes this sweet subplot as well, as Matthew winds up introducing Kimberly to his friends Trini, Zack, Jason, and Billy… who do not take too kindly to their future teammate. It’s a nice bit of dramatic irony, showing that the team dynamic of the Power Rangers is not something that came overnight, and has more than a few bugs that need to be ironed out.

Another surprising and delightful dynamic from this issue is between Trini and Jason. Trini obviously has a crush on the Red Ranger, and uses the excuse of their shared Power Ranger skills to get closer to him. In the show, even though on the same team, Trini and Jason didn’t have many storylines together. In this issue, Trini even mentions to Jason that this interaction was the longest conversation they ever had. This was a nice scene between Jason and Trini giving them an opportunity to bond and learn more about their powers.

Yet Parrott’s detail isn’t just limited to the main cast. For example, Bulk and Skull, instead of just being comedic relief, become the voice of the average person dealing with the recent alien encounter, asking “who cares about biology when buildings are falling down around us?” Jumpy and frightened, Angel Grove’s citizens aren’t just the cartoonish, mindless extras of the television show that used to run away from Rita’s 'monster of the week,' as Parrott instead gives these characters a real view of a world where the Power Rangers exist.

Another character Parrott gives a real voice to is Rita Repulsa. In the television show Rita is your classic cackling villain with little motive except that she wants to rule the world, but in Go Go Power Rangers Rita is becoming a smarter and more complexed villain. In the first issue, Rita quickly learns the Rangers’ first names, and starts to slowly use this to her advantage in this issue. The Rangers’ secret identities were rarely a weakness in the original show, so it’s a nice change of pace to see this become a focal point of the series. It allows the villain/hero dynamic between Rita and the Power Rangers feel more real.

Dan Mora’s pencils and Raul Angulo’s bright colors are the perfect fit for this title. This series is driven by character moments, and Mora aces the facial expressions needed to create these scenes. Mora’s best scene is with the issue’s opener - the awkward date between Matthew and Kimberly. Mora’s work with Kimberly and Matthew’s eyes gives the perfect tone for their first date jitters, which had me laughing all the way through.

Go Go Power Rangers #2 is another great installment, which continues to build the world of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. This is not just a retelling of the Power Rangers’ early days, but a necessary, character-driven story that gives the franchise more depth.

Credit: Titan Comics

Doctor Who: The Lost Dimension #1 Alpha
Written by Cavan Scott and George Mann
Art by Rachel Stott, Cris Bolson, Pasquale Qualano, Elton Thomasi, Klebs Jr, and JB Bastos and Rod Fernandes
Lettering by Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt
Published by Titan Comics
Review by Justin Partridge
‘Rama Rating: 9 out of 10

Titan Comics once again hits a Whovian home run with the debut of Doctor Who: The Lost Dimension. Kicking off the imprint’s latest Who event, this Alpha issue is a rollicking opening that is fully ensconced in the deep continuity of Doctor Who, both in its classic and rebooted form, but also smart enough to be new reader-friendly. Anchored by two of Titan’s consistently entertaining Who writers and, for my money, the definitive artist of Peter Capaldi’s comic tenure, Doctor Who: The Lost Dimension is an explosively fun start to Titan’s latest multi-Doctor crossover adventure.

The Eternals called it “the Howling” while others called it Hell, but to us, it is known as the Void, and now it is coming for the whole of reality. Opening with a jaw dropping vista of collapsing universes, writers Cavan Scott and George Mann immediately establish the stakes and work backward from there. They establish the scope early then move to populate the space with our favorite Whovian heroes. This is Scott and Mann’s second time at the controls of an event, their first being the sleekly entertaining Supremacy of the Cybermen, and the pair acquit themselves well to the more direly epic scope of this new tale.

But while the scope of the story is staggering and the pace of the story moves at a speed that could comfortably called “breakneck,” Scott and Mann don’t let the charm, heart, and ensemble-based nature of Doctor Who fall by the wayside. While Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor and his companions, the ever-so-plucky Bill and stoically funny Nardole, are the focus (along with a returning face from David Tennant’s era), the pair allow each Doctor at play, along with their companions, time in the spotlight. Though the opening text says the Doctor never remembers the days he meets himself properly, Scott and Mann make sure that we remember the Doctors and their friends thanks to witty displays of banter, heroism, and flat-out charm.

Speaking of charming, Rachael Stott, along with a full bench of pencilers, and the cosmically rich colors of Rod Fernandes, leans into the charm of each actor’s portrayal, making The Lost Dimension another example of Titan’s screen-worthy adaptations. Stott, who captures Capaldi’s gruffly petulant cuteness with a scary accuracy, is the perfect focal point for the event, embodying both the human spark and large scale action of the overall series. The other artists, Cris Bolson, Pasquale Qualano, Elton Thomasi, Klebs Jr., and JB Bastos, follow Stott’s example to the letter, finding the spark of each other Doctor and their companion and bringing it to the foreground as the universe collapses around them through the background.

Weaving a strong tonal web throughout the issue is colorist Rod Fernandes. Though all the pencilers nail the visuals of each incarnation, Fernandes takes it a step further and delivers the color palette and lighting of each era. Starting with deep, prog rock hues in deep space, Fernandes moves effortlessly between the warm, high production values look of Capaldi’s era to the burnt oranges and ambers of the Tenth Doctor’s console room then to the starkly retro look of the Fifth Doctor with the flick of a brush. Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor also gets a substantial color wash, one that fully captures the metallic whimsy of his console room. Though Stott and the rest of the title’s pencilers nail the visual foundation of each incarnation, Rod Fernandes goes the extra mile to make sure The Lost Dimension feels like Doctor Who, no matter the incarnation or era.

Event comic books can be an absolute mess, but they can also be giant open doors to characters and worlds certain readers may have missed out on. Thankfully Titan’s latest event is the latter and yet another example of the company’s commitment to bringing fans, new and old, deeper into their Doctor Who line. Standing as a sort of Valiant Entertainment crossover for the Anglophile set, Doctor Who: The Lost Dimension-Alpha is an expansive, charming, and gorgeous opening for the Time Lord’s latest epic.

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