The Power Rangers' "Shattered Grid" event event culminates Wednesday with the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Shattered Grid one-shot - the finale to the battle between multiple Power Rangers teams and the their biggest nemessis yet - Lord Drakkon, a.k.a. Tommy Oliver.
With all that happened in Wednesday's issue as well as an eye at what's to come, Newsarama spoke with with writers Kyle Higgins (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers), Ryan Parrott (Go Go Power Rangers), Marguerite Bennett (new writer for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers), as well as Dafna Pleban (Power Rangers’ editor) and Melissa Flores (Director of Power Rangers development & production at Hasbro) about the future of the Power Rangers comic books.
Newsarama: Kyle, “Shattered Grid” is your last arc for your Mighty Morphin Power Rangers run. When did you decide you wanted this to be your last arc?
Kyle Higgins: When was it Dafna? When did we start talking about it? Midway through?
Dafna Pleban: Yeah, I think we looked at the scope of this thing, and it just felt like a way to go out. Remember when they were talking about the end of Seinfeld they said they wanted to go out on a high.
Higgins: At the back of my mind it has always been there as this kind of makes the most sense of when to leave. I remember when we first sat down to talk about what an event could look like, and this was like two years ago. Dafna and I were at WonderCon in Los Angeles, and we sat on these set of stairs, drinking coffee, talking about what year two could be and what year three could be and I think only three or four issues of the comic had come out so far. I remember as we started talking about what an event could look like for year three and at the back of my mind I was doing the math, and I was like there is no way I will be on this book until issue 30. There are so many Power Rangers.
I stayed and I built something that I’m really proud of, but in doing so it just felt like this is the story that I set out to tell. I have some ideas of what can happen after and I am happy to share them with whoever comes after me, but also, to be completely honest, I am pretty tired. I’m a little burnt out. I didn’t want to stay past my welcome. I wanted to go out where I could still give it my all, and wrap this up in a super satisfying way. Also while leading up to the next generation of Power Rangers stories. Across the board we all just felt like now is the time.
Nrama: What can you tell us about the upcoming Power Rangers: Soul of the Dragon graphic novel?
Higgins: This has an interesting legacy behind it. Jason David Frank has been very passionate about Power Rangers for a very long time. He takes very seriously his role both as Power Ranger ambassador as well as former Power Ranger himself, Tommy Oliver. Jason has wanted to do something that takes a look at the larger legacy of Tommy Oliver, both as a person and as a Power Ranger.
Over several months we started talking about what a book like that would look like. I had a take that I was excited about because while Tommy Oliver has been five Power Rangers before that also means most of his life is tied up in that identity. This particular story takes place after his time as those five Rangers and really shines a light on the aspect of his personality that we haven’t really seen before. How do you define yourself outside of the thing you are best known for?
You see this all the time with athletes as they age out of the thing they’ve trained and spent most of their lives towards. How do you reinvent yourself? This story was my last love letter to Tommy Oliver. Set in an era that is very defined by the continuity of the show, even more so than what I have done on the book before this point. This OGN is very much in line with show canon and what has come before. I wanted to go out with a last tribute to one of my favorite Power Rangers.
Nrama: What was working with Jason David Frank on this OGN like?
Higgins: I would consider Jason a good friend at this point. We’ve collaborated before on some projects. Notably the big “Shattered Grid” trailer film that debuted just before issue 25 launched. Jason and I worked very, very closely on that together. I directed it. Jason produced and starred in it. So the opportunity to communicate and collaborate again on something like this has been a lot of fun.
Nrama: Speaking of fun, the Rangers are swapping colors following "Shattered Grid." Ryan, what can you tell us about that?
Ryan Parrott: The original Rangers are so synonymous with their colors. So going into the next arc I just thought there was an opportunity to explore the idea that does your character dictate your color or does your color dictate your character. I have been unpacking characters for so long that I focused to get through to Trini and Jason. Specifically, because of their history and their roles and their relationship and to tell a very small story about expectations and weirdly about intimacy. So that’s what we are going to do with the next arc.
Nrama: What are some upcoming stories you can tease post “Shattered Grid” for Go Go Power Rangers?
Parrott: We are going to go on an intergalactic road trip with Rita to find out where she got the Green Dragon Power Coin. We are going to revisit some places that we’ve teased in the series already. We are going to dig into some mythology a little bit more. My favorite character for the next arc, for all the fans who have been clamoring and yelling at me for more Babboo, they are getting that. We are going to see the consequences that come out of “Shattered Grid." The strong emotional consequences that resonate in the teams, specifically with Matt and their friendship with him.
Nrama: Ranger Slayer has been my personal favorite character to come out of “Shattered Grid." Can you tell us a bit about developing that character?
Parrott: Thank you, that is awesome to hear. I got to hold an action figure at Power Morphicon... just pointing that out.
Higgins: You may want to clarify it was a custom action figure.
Parrott: A custom action figure by a lovely fan. The good news is that Kimberly is already a very strong, established character. So it was fun to take that character we already know, and amplify her and turn her up to a 11 a little bit. Kyle and I had a lot of long conversations on how to play with her and what we wanted to do, what kind of person she would evolve into living in that world as long as she did.
My favorite part of the series was bringing her back into the past and having a contrast of who she is in the early days to the person she is in the coinless world. I thought having these two bounce off each other would be on a high school wish list, being able to meet your future self.
Nrama: Which is great because your run is so character driven. Marguerite, how did you pick your Ranger team for your upcoming run?
Marguerite Bennett: I wanted my rainbow color spectrum, and I wanted a Ranger of each color. But beyond that I knew there were certain personalities that needed to click in order to tell the stories I wanted to tell. So I was going through looking for certain traits, disciplines, and perspectives that they needed to have to throw them into the crisis that I’m going to throw them into and to understand how they were going to react.
I worked really closely with Melissa, Saban, and Hasbro as far as which archetypes they felt were going to fit into these terrible things that I was going to do with these wonderful people. That’s a big part of how it came together. I knew I wanted to stretch everyone almost to the breaking point, and it was settling on who would, in our opinions, have the best reactions.
Nrama: In your new run of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,can you tell us a bit about the dynamic of your team?
Bennett: The Power Rangers have just survived this cataclysmic, this truly shattering event, and the world they find themselves in is one that has removed the parameters, the sense of duty, order, family, and connection that they had in their own universes and timelines. So now it becomes when the definition of your lives are stripped away, who do you become? What do you become? Where do you go from here?
So I wanted to look, especially at characters who were going to be able to assist one another and comfort one another and characters that are going to be the wild cards, the ones that would have the most to lose to create the biggest ball of chaos in the mix of this very delicate situation. So it’s really great to work with Melissa, Brian, and Dafna to choose the characters we were going to have in our lineup.
Nrama: Dafna, if you could have another Power Rangers series on the line up what would you like to personally see?
Pleban: Honestly, Marguerite is doing the book that I’ve always wanted. Truly, the promise of Rangers in new teams, but same characters that never got to share a season or team interact. I really love crossovers. So both “Shattered Grid” and Marguerite’s arc are both books I would do if no one told me no.
Nrama: Melissa, now that “Shattered Grid” is over what other Power Rangers stories do you personally want to see in the comic books?
Melissa Flores: That’s a very difficult question because I don’t think we can even imagine what stories this team is capable of telling, and the talent we’ve had so far. For me it’s always these beautiful back stories that are my favorite. The ones these writers come up with.
Ryan has come up with these gorgeous stories about Babboo, Squatt and their origins. We’ve had Trey Moore do some amazing stories in the Annual as well. We are coming up with the origins of the Dark Ranger with Marguerite. And Kyle has these beautiful stories regarding the Morphing Masters and the Emissaries and all these other origins. I think those are the ones that I love the most. Where you take the chess pieces off, give them a bit more detail, and put them back into play and see how that affects the rest of the world.
Nrama: Will there be changes to the comic books with Hasbro buying Power Rangers?
Flores: That’s quite a question. I will say we are working with a lot of the same people, who were able to make the change from Saban to Hasbro. We are also working with an amazing team in Rhode Island and every single one of them, including myself, absolutely love these books, these artists, these editors, and BOOM! Studios themselves. I just look forward to telling great, new stories, and I don’t see that changing given the talent involved.
Nrama: “Shattered Grid” had promotion like few other events in the comic book fandom have, why did you choose this event to go all out with the live trailers and such?
Pleban: I think a large part of what made these event so incredible to market is that the enthusiasm was already there. People love Power Rangers. They all love different eras, and this is an event that really allowed them to all love the same thing. A lot of the fans are in different rooms and we were able to throw a party in the biggest room. That metaphor kind of got away from me, but I hope it makes sense.
What was really cool because of that enthusiasm, Kyle had the opportunity to extend the story outside the comic book page. I was as much in awe of that trailer as I think the fandom was. It’s just wild seeing that character come alive.
Higgins: Well I felt like in this particular instance there were enough pieces that made doing a live action trailer really interesting. This was the case of both from the stand point of my relationship with Jason David Frank as well as the launch of this particular issue and Jason’s passion and desire to bring Lord Drakkon to life.
Jason had been planting the seeds in my head for a couple of weeks or even months to really start seriously talking about this. We should do something with Lord Drakkon. And right around the time of putting together issue 25 I had the thought of what that could be. It would be the first time that Lord Drakkon would appear in live action, but it would also be designed to celebrate 25 years of Power Rangers.
The most dangerous thing in the world for a creative is an idea because you can’t get it out of your head and it becomes all-consuming until you figure out a way to do it. Luckily, when we brought it to Boom and Saban everyone was very supportive and enthusiastic about what that would look like. So we were able to put it together and I am very proud to have been able to do to it. At the end of the day it’s just additive to the event and the narrative experience.
Flores: One thing we’ve learned with Kyle is if he has an idea we have to work with him on it because they turn out absolutely amazing.
Nrama: BOOM! Studios has a lot of licensed properties, and Power Rangers seems to be a huge one for the company. Do you have any plans on bringing in any of the other Saban/Hasbro Americanized Tokusatsu shows like Masked Rider/Kamen Rider, V.R. Troopers, Big Bad Beetle Borgs, or Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog into comics?
Pleban: I know for me we have so many other Ranger teams to really give a platform for and stories to. I have to get through all these other awesome toys first before I get to the other ones under the tree.
Flores: I agree with that. There is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the Power Rangers-verse. At this moment we are able to tell stories beyond Mighty Morphin Power Rangers with “Shattered Grid” and that has opened up a flood gate of potential narrative that is so exciting and I think we just want to focus on that right now and see where that takes us. As far as everything else we will have to wait and see.