Written by: Tom Taylor
Art by: Stephen Byrne
Price: £18.99 (UK) $24.99 (US)
This Graphic Novel reprints the following stories:
- Justice League / Power Rangers # 1 – 6
Justice League / Power Rangers is the latest in a long line of quirky inter-company crossovers to come from DC Comics, following in the footsteps of unlikely pairings such as Batman / TMNT and Space Ghost / Green Lantern. A couple of years ago, the idea of the Power Rangers teaming up with the Justice League would have been dismissed as a fever-dream from a 90s nostalgia obsessive, but after Boom Studios acquired the rights to produce comics based on the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers series, it was almost inevitable that those teenagers with attitude from Angel Grove would end up crossing paths with the DC Universe’s greatest heroes.
Scripted by Tom Taylor, whose work on the Injustice: Gods Among Us video-game tie-in comic-book series has garnered rave reviews, the six-part miniseries scratches every itch that a Power Rangers and Justice League fan could possibly have. Using the most recognisable formations of both teams and stripped from complex continuities, this story is easily accessible for the most casual of comic-book readers, giving us a glimpse at what could have been the most amazing episode of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers ever, even rivalling that one episode of Power Rangers in Space when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles popped up!
Despite his prior relationship with the DC Universe, Taylor manages to write a strong narrative for the Power Rangers, particularly Zack, who is responsible for the catastrophe that leads to the two teams uniting. With such an expansive cast, it is inevitable that some characters, such as Wonder Woman and Green Lantern are relegated to the background, but interestingly Taylor focuses on some of the traditionally under-utilised characters such as Alpha Five, Cyborg, Zack and Billy, instead of the expected focal points of Jason, Tommy, Superman and Batman. Even those who don’t get the spotlight get a brief moment to shine, and I loved the alternate identities and weapons that some of the Power Rangers gain access to midway through the series.
Mirroring his decision to focus on some of the under-used Power Rangers and Justice League members, Tom Taylor also picks an unlikely pair of villains to torment our heroes. I quite enjoyed the relationship between the two villains and it was refreshing to see them almost succeed in their plans. While those early adventures of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers were very formulaic in their storylines, Taylor plays about with the format in this story and as a result, the characters from the Power Rangers’ world feel more three-dimensional and interesting than before. There’s an interesting scene that deals with the real-world ramifications of fighting the leviathan beasts – hammering home the consequences behind those over-the-top battles that would conclude every episode. While the adventure spans both dimensions, it feels predominately like a Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers story, in which the Justice League guest-star – which is surprising given Taylor’s experience with the DC Universe.
Art-wise, Justice League / Power Rangers is a feast for the eyes with Stephen Byrne providing a clear-cut and animated style that unites the two franchises together, capturing the essence of both universes. I loved his take on the Power Rangers, and the attention to detail on both the costumes and their various Zords was fantastic. I had never considered reading the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers comic before now, but after seeing the characters realised on the printed page, I am very much interested in seeing how Boom Studios interprets the TV show. Byrne does a brilliant job with the Justice League too, although the shading on Superman’s chin often made him look unshaven – a look rarely seen in the comic books, and thanks to CGI, not seen in the movies either.
There is a tremendous sense of fun to this series and while it does tread familiar tropes in the crossover format, such as the initial conflict and misunderstanding between the two sets of heroes, and the team-up between two villains from each universe – it still created some fantastic set-pieces and fulfilled the unspoken dreams of countless children of the nineties. Clearly, both Taylor and Byrne have fondness for both franchises and it shows in the attention to detail seen in both script and art design. However, this miniseries is more than just nostalgic fan-service, it is an enjoyable tale in its own right and it definitely delivers upon the hype and promise of its title. Treat your inner-child to a blast of nineties pop culture awesomeness and pick up this collection – you won’t regret it!
Score – 86%
Justice League / Power Rangers is available in paperback from all good comic-book stores, as well as online at Amazon. Digital copies are available through the DC Comics app or directly through Comixology and Amazon Kindle.