Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #25
The wait is finally over, Ranger Nation. After two years of two individual ongoing titles, multiple mini-series, and two annuals, the first multi-title crossover event of Boom! Studios Power Rangers line of books, known as Shattered Grid, is here. Beginning in the pages of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #25, the opening salvo of the story is written by the long-term writer of the series, Kyle Higgins, assisted by the art of Daniele Di Nicuolo and the colors of Walter Baiamonte. Issue #25 as a first installment is a triumph that fulfills fan expectation with its lore and character-driven story.
Lord Drakkon, the despotic older counterpart of Green Ranger Tommy Oliver from an alternate timeline, has escaped captivity within the walls of the organization known as PROMETHEA. Still weakened and without his powers, Lord Drakkon seeks out means to regain and surpass his original state, beginning plans to enact vengeance on the Rangers for his humiliating defeat. Meanwhile, the Rangers prepare for the worst by bolstering their own defenses in case Drakkon strikes and begin their own hunt for the duplicitous doppelganger. Unbeknownst to the Mighty Morphin team, while this is happening, a series of strange temporal anomalies occur all across the PR multiverse. These anomalies affect the future of the MMPR team as well as other teams like Dino Charge, RPM, and the Time Force who lose their Megazord as a result. Tragedy, betrayal, and mystery abound as Lord Drakkon starts his campaign against all Rangers in the biggest challenge ever to hit this long line of heroes.
The tagline of Shattered Grid is “No Ranger is Safe,” and issue #25 fulfills this promise in massive ways. Boom! has released hints at the scope of the series in their various promotional materials and previews since it was announced to fans. There are thoughtful homages to the various continuity of the franchise within the book that honors it while also progressing the story, making these nods more than if they were just moments of light fan-service. Issue #25 also has several ambitious risks that elevate it to something higher than just another crossover. This is an epic that encompasses worlds, and is much different from anything Boom! has done up to this point with the property.
Part of what has made the first issue such an exhilarating read, and will no doubt help the series as it goes on, is the fulfillment of plot points that Higgins has laid since the start of his run on the book. Most obvious is the build-up of Lord Drakkon and the threat of his apocalyptic world. Beyond that, though, Higgins addresses PROMETHEA, 1960s Red Ranger Grace Sterling, and Kimberly’s prior relationship with the character of Matt that occurred in a separate series. Higgins addresses these points well, balancing continuity to enrich the experience of longtime readers with useful exposition that keeps new readers from being alienated. Higgins’ script is also full of great characterization, This includes the amazing introduction of classic character Ninjor, whose personality within the pages has been replicated perfectly from the show.
The art is by Daniele Di Nicuolo, most familiar to PR fans from his time illustrating the MMPR: Pink mini-series, and his style incredibly well suited for Shattered Grid. Though MMPR: Pink was much smaller in scale, it was full of tense imagery that sold its scripts' drama. Here Di Nicuolo has taken that same tension-filled imagery while magnifying it to match the titanic drama of Higgins ambitious premise. As epic as these blockbuster moments are, Di Nicuolo does not forget the important emotional ones, like his scenes between Tommy and Kimberly or the Time Force Rangers. These scenes keep the story grounded and personal, but do not diminish the action or scale. Aiding Di Nicuolo are the beautiful colors of Walter Baiamonte, whose vibrant palette blends with Di Nicuolo’s style very well, particularly with those energy effects.
Unlike many crossovers by other companies within the industry, Shattered Grid is a true event in every sense of the word. It is an achievement as a huge milestone for the franchise, a culmination of the Boom! Storylines, a massive story spanning multiple titles and specials, and, most importantly, a key component in the 25th-anniversary celebration of the franchise. A story like this, with so many characters, settings, and story elements, would be very tough to replicate on the TV screen. Fortunately, the world of comics is not hindered by those constraints, and the creative team has used their medium wisely to bring the best story possible.