Wait ... 'Power Rangers' Got Good?
I probably started watching Power Rangers at about four or five years old. To this day, the memories of myself pretending to fight the evil Putty Patrollers in tandem with the spandex-clad heroes that appeared on the TV screen one foot from my flailing body are crystal clear. There is probably a litany of reasons for a child not to be exposed to Power Rangers. It's violent and overly-stimulating, or at least that's what my mother would tell me, and though she continued to let me watch Power Rangers, surely my child-brain had turned to mush by the 5th hyper-blasting-mega-exploding-attack of an episode. But the charge against Power Rangers that always hurt the most came from my grandfather, who would watch alongside me as he sat in his chair and would mutter to himself, "this shit is awful."
Looking back with the discerning eyes of an adult (or whatever you'd call the state of post-adolescence that has overtaken my generation), I can see that my grandpa was right. I loved Power Rangers and still do, but the show is objectively bad. The production quality is cheap, plots are silly, the dialogue shlocky, and the acting makes Jean-Claude Van Damme look like a budding Meryl Streep. It's frustrating because the series has so much potential, but the end product that we always get is this:
But despite how bad the show might be, the Power Rangers franchise has found itself with a little bit of redemption over the past few years, and that redemption comes courtesy of the comic books produced by Boom! Studios. Seriously, the comics are good, and not just in comparison to the show. Like, they're actually good, good. Like, not even my grandpa can talk shit about Power Rangers after reading the comic books because he'll be too busy searching the floor after these storylines knocked his socks off. Here's a trailer from Boom! Studios for their "Shattered Grid" series.
Ranger vs. ranger conflicts was always the best part of the franchise, but the show never quite delivered on the premise. The evil ranger was almost always motivated by mind-controlling magic or some other weak plot-device, essentially leaving their character without consequence. If they were acting through their own will, the plot would quickly force them back on to the side of good for a neat and tidy resolution. But the comics are anything but that.
Lord Drakkon is a version of Tommy Oliver from an alternate dimension. Later on, an alternate version of Kimberely takes on the mantle of the "Ranger Slayer" and starts enacting her own vigilante justice. Rangers will even die in the comics, something that rarely, if ever, happens on the show. There's some meat to these stories is what I'm saying. Also, the visuals are great, and because it's not on TV, the creators don't have to resort to outsourcing footage from a different TV show.
My only regret is that I wish I knew about this sooner. They've been cranking out these comics since 2016. There's even a second continuation called Go Go Power Rangers, which dives further into the original rangers' histories. Meanwhile, the show has Kimberly break up with Tommy via a letter.
Damn, I guess Kimberly was a "Ranger Slayer" in the show after all.
Support Dan on Twitter and he will talk about his life with you in lieu of getting a therapist.
Top Image: Saban/ Boom! Studios