Go Go Power Rangers #7
Ryan Parrott and Dan Mora continue to add emotional depth with their contribution to the Boom! Studios Power Rangers title, Go Go Power Rangers. Issue #7 sees the arrival of the long-discussed homecoming, an auspicious venue that serves as a backdrop for teen drama and Ranger peril all in one. With two issues left before the highly anticipated Shattered Grid event, Parrott and Mora take the pressure in stride, providing another stellar installment in their much-beloved contribution to the franchise.
Following the cliffhanger from the last issue, Blue Ranger Billy Cranston insists he should leave the Team due to his ill-fitting fighting abilities and desire to pursue scientific interests with organization Prometheia. He suggests the Rangers friend Matt as a suitable replacement, ignorant to the fact Matt has been swapped with a Putty replica created by space witch Rita Repulsa. The Black and Yellow Rangers, Zack and Trini, are suspicious of Matt and try to stay alert to his increasingly strange behavior while also juggling the balance of High School romantic drama. In the case of Trini, this also means some tension with Red Ranger Jason, with both trying to decide if they have romantic feelings for the other. The issue also reveals the origins of Rita’s vampiric potion maker Baboo and, most interesting of all, expands on the character of Farkas “Bulk” Bulkmeier in a surprisingly emotional way.
Power Rangers is at its best when it functions like a super-powered soap opera, mixing the sci-fi kung-fu of Daredevil with the coming of age teen drama of The Breakfast Club. Parrott understands that balance very well and has made it a point to use the time gap between GGPR and the other ongoing to highlight those dynamics. This issue seems to be the most well balanced from his run, however, shifting from its plotlines like Zack’s fledging romance with secret admirer Violet Arias, real Matt escaping the moon palace of Rita Repulsa, Jason and Trini trying to figure out where they stand with the other, and the final reveal of putty Matt’s true monstrous form within the final pages of the issue. The way all of these plotlines fit in together is structurally fantastic and makes for a very natural reading experience.
The best plotline within the book, however, is definitely the ongoing story involving Bulk. Since issue #5, the young nuisance of the Rangers’ civilian identities has been trying to make a positive change while campaigning for Homecoming king. It’s an arc illustrating how Bulk's bullying tendencies are sorrowful attempts to seek attention and validation. He's not a bad guy, he just needs to substitute these behaviors for more productive forms of expression. Issue #7 sees this personal journey come to an interesting point; he and Skull are having a good time with their fellow student body, have hit it off surprisingly well with their dates, and even go on to potentially be crowned as king, only for his dreams to be dashed by the bratty, popular Homecoming queen, Marleau, who refuses to share the spotlight with him due to her shallow ideas of status. She actually forces Bulk into an ultimatum, threatening to ruin his and Skull’s dates dresses if he does not opt out of the contest entirely. The whole exchange is actually quite powerful, especially considering the nature of the conflict is small in the larger scheme of the story. Seeing a character like Bulk, who in many instances of the early continuity was simply a 2-dimensional school ruffian, genuinely try bettering himself as a person, only to have his good intentions met with scorn is surprisingly heartbreaking. It's an interesting setup and a highlight of the issue full of highlights.
Dan Mora once again provides a masterful job as the book’s illustrator. Throughout the "Go Go" run Mora has consistently brought his best to the book, giving it a unique visual identity that stands out from other superhero series as well as the other Power Rangers titles. He brings those same clean lines, expressive characters, and dynamic action to this issue to great dramatic effect. Assisted as well by the fantastic color work from Raúl Angulo, whose colors thrive in the dark mood lighting of a High School dance. Very dark blacks and purples are contrasted with the vibrant attire from the students and lights from the decorations that work both as lively party aesthetic and ominous foreshadowing for disaster about to befall the dance.
Issue #7’s great structure and harmonic character moments make it a total 180 turn from issue #6’s interesting ideas brought down by awkward pacing. The book is full of artful explorations into the lives of teenage life mixed in with suspenseful dramatic irony and genre action. A great entry for fans of the Power Rangers comics.