Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #24
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #24 is the last issue before the 25th Anniversary crossover event called Shattered Grid. With that in mind, the creative team of Kyle Higgins and Jonas Scharf have to resolve all hanging plot threads from the latest arc to ensure they do not hinder the incoming event. These include Finster’s sleeper agent monsters, the newly returned Lord Drakkon, and the Rangers’ ethical conflict with the methods of Grace Sterling and her organization Prometheia. To its credit, issue #24 is a serviceable entry that resolves these lingering questions, concludes the arc, and positions the series for the highly anticipated upcoming storyline.
Following Rita Repulsa’s release of monster maker Finster from his inter-dimensional prison, Rita commands him to trigger his sleeper agent monsters all across the planet and make them grow to gargantuan size. This forces the Rangers to split their resources, scattered and undermanned, as they try to deal with a multi-front battle different from what has come before. Additionally, the Rangers have a falling out with recent ally Grace Sterling, a new addition to the canon and former Ranger who has the backing of a private run organization called Prometheia. Grace, and Prometheia, operate under different philosophies than the Rangers on how to combat the forces of evil, with the Rangers at the end of this arc believing that Grace has crossed some unjustifiable lines, even though she does so for the sake of security. Tensions only rise when the Rangers discover her biggest secret; the imprisoned Lord Drakkon, a corrupted, alternate-future version of their Green Ranger Tommy Oliver, who was captured by Prometheia shortly after traveling to their dimension.
As complicated of a premise as that is, it is not unwarranted. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #24 is the culmination of events that have transpired since issue #17 and provides rewarding answers to long-standing questions. For the most part, it succeeds at raising the stakes for Shattered Grid, has an intense cliffhanger, and finishes in a satisfying conclusion for a stand-alone arc in the larger series. All that being said, the individual issue suffers from some shortcomings, especially in terms of structure. For example, the resolution of Finster's monster threat, the main existential danger of the arc, is ultimately undone by a Deux ex Machina in the form of a miscalculation on Rita's part. While karmic ends are interesting villain defeats, this particular one seems cheap, considering it robs the Rangers' of any tactile victory.
Where the script shines, however, is Higgins mixing his mature themes with the Power Rangers camp universe. In the last review, it was mentioned how wonderful the monster Sheeple was and how he fits right at home with the Rangers fantasy world of rubber suit monsters,but was also combined with realistic questions of moral accountability and use of extreme measures. Issue #24 continues this fascinating juxtaposition of mature pressures blended with the spectacle farces traditional for the franchise. Finster's remaining monsters, like the puritanical medieval Pilgramace and the fire-powered vegetation Private Maize, fit right at home with the corniness of the original series--sometimes literally corny in the case of Private Maize. It's a terrific marriage that benefits the issue immensely when the pacing seems off and clunky.
Just like how the script overcompensates its faults with strong characterization and wit, Jonas Scharf's linework continues to be crisp and dynamic, providing visually interesting reading experiences. Though the helmets still seem a bit off and there are a few strange facial expressions from the characters, it’s an overall strong display of illustrations. The fight scenes and layout of the book are engaging and active, and Scharf's character design remains brilliant in bringing the new, wonderfully absurd monsters to life. Colorist Joana Lafuente’s talent is also on exceptional display this issue, using thick shadows to contrast bright and appropriate lighting.
Issue #24 really seems to struggle most with issues of timing. Considering everything the issue needed to accomplish, it is understandable that Higgins and Scharf had to hustle with its completion to ensure the next story arc would be able to start promptly with issue #25. To that end, issue #24 of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is still a good comic, leveling off its awkward pace with big character moments, clever writing, and interesting art.