The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers comic just took a huge leap. After the universe shattering events of Shattered Grid and the aftermath of Beyond the Grid, the Power Rangers comics are entering a new era. Not just because of writer Ryan Parrott taking over the comic but the comic has shifted time periods to mid season two. Tommy’s now the white Rangers and…
Spoilers ahead for anyone who hasn’t read Mighty Morphin Power Rangers # 40.
Rocky, Adam, and Aisha are now on the team, replacing Jason, Zack, and Trini as they did in the original series. This is a big shift for the comic and something we needed to talk with Parrott about. Also joining us was Dafna Pleban, senior editor at Boom! Studios. We also discussed the Forever Rangers issue of Go Go Power Rangers, what’s next for the Go Go series, and the use of elements from later Power Rangers seasons.
Den of Geek: Ryan, you’ve switched from being the main writer of Go Go Power Rangers to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. What’s the biggest difference between writing those two?
Parrott: For me it’s been the pacing. In Go Go, one of the things that Dafna was always reminding me of was to slow down. This is a story about their personal lives, this is about who they are as characters, really take the time with that. I think with Mighty Morphin there’s a little bit more of an expectation for forward movement and energy. Also there’s a lot more characters in this book than there’s going to be in Go Go. Obviously we’re bringing in two new villains and three new Rangers. Finding that sort of balance between movement and character has been the hardest part. But I do love all the new voices, that’s really fun.
With MMPR #40 you really plunged right into Season 2 of the original series. Not just with Zedd and the White Ranger but also with Rocky, Adam, and Aisha. Talk about incorporating all those elements.
Parrott: Well, I’ve said this before, but when we were looking for an opportunity to bring back the Mighty Morphin Rangers in the series I looked back at MMPR Zero, and thought ‘Oh wow’. That was the arrival with the Green Ranger and it changed the dynamics of the team and (dealt with Tommy’s) own personal demons. (Now) the idea of how Tommy is arriving as the White Ranger and discovering his new powers? Becoming a leader, and dealing with the new voices in the team? The old guard and the new guard? It just seemed like a really good way to parallel those two.
That was one of the things that felt like a really nice bookend and a really nice jumping on spot. Especially because so many people really love the White Ranger, myself included, so that was the emphasis of jumping in and doing it. And also, just because so many things happened in Season 2 of Mighty Morphin, there’s so many big shifts and so many big changes, it felt like ‘alright’. if we want to raise the stakes and up the ante coming out of Shattered Grid it seemed like there was so many natural places to be able to do that going forward.
For Dafna, was introducing all the Season 2 elements something that everyone at Boom had planned for a long time?
Pleban: We had it planned in the sense that we always knew we were going to bring the White Ranger into the book. How that was going to happen and what we were going to see was part of the development process (of) what the book looks like after Shattered Grid. I think the one thing that we really embraced about how the Power Ranger comics work, is canon is canon, the show happened. What we really want to provide is new ways of exploring the story that the show never had the opportunity to do so. For the very key big episodes, the show did those wonderfully, we don’t need to retell that story. What we do want to explore is the emotional impact, the emotional reality. Also a lot of the hanging questions that those episodes left open, because there’s SO much left to explore.
With regards to the White Ranger, Ryan touched on it with noting how Kyle started (MMPR) with the introduction of the Green Ranger. We wanted to come back to this world at the exciting point of change and something no one had seen before,and the White Ranger felt like a really good spot for that. It also gave us the benefit of Rocky, Adam, and Aisha who are really interesting characters in their own right and what does it mean to come in and fill the shoes of iconic people like Jason, Trini, and Zack? How does that emotionally impact them, what do they struggle with and how to they grow past that? That’s a story that is great regardless if it’s Power Rangers, if it’s an original, if it’s anything, and we have the perfect structure for that in Necessary Evil in Ryan’s approach.
I was going to comment that Boom is apparently skipping the “Green With Evil” story (as mentioned in our previous interview with Parrott) and you’re skipping over the introduction of Rocky, Adam and Aisha.
Pleban: Have we?
Parrott: Have we? Question mark? Who knows?
Pleban: I would say that’s also the other thing that we discovered when working on Go Go with Ryan, was what Go Go does incredibly well is… It lets us slow down and see what the characters are feeling and how it impacts their personal life. So we’re going to use Go Go in a very similar way, how Go Go the first year showed what the team was like before the Green Ranger was on the team. Go Go here is going to show what brings Jason, Trini, and Zack to be where they are at at the end of 40. How do they get there, both physically, plot-wise, but also emotionally, that’s a story worth telling and worth unpacking. I think a lot of those issues are something that we’re excited to explore along with the fans.
In issue 40 we get a glimpse of a Sirian, one of Doggie Cruger’s people. This is one of several instances of non MMPR seasons making their way into the main comics. What is that like for both of you to bring in elements from future seasons? Is that something just to please the fans or is it something that you’ve had a longer term plan for?
Parrott: Well I think Shattered Grid sort of opened up the door for that organically, in the sense that we’ve seen all these Ranger teams, these worlds, and it seems like as we go forward now that we’ve done that (we have the) opportunity to weave them together whenever possible. It’s a universe and I think acknowledging that and tying them together when possible is the best way to do that. I’ve always loved Doggie Cruger. I just thought, we were looking for a new villain to bring in to the series and it just seemed like there’s got to be more than one Sirian, so let’s bring in another one. I loved the visual style that Danielle had created, I loved that character, he’s one of my favorite characters to write in the series. So to answer your question, it’s not just fan service, I think it’s about being true to the nature of the universe that you’re creating.
So you’re bringing in deeper elements that reference and help expand the Power Rangers universe. At one time though it seemed as though these comics were meant for people who may not have been as familiar with Power Rangers. Do you feel that several years in you can finally open the doors, because of things like Shattered Grid? That you can include things like Rocky, Adam, and Aisha? Elements that if you don’t really remember much past season one you’d be a little confused?
Parrott: That’s one of the balancing acts, I think, is how you write a story that even the casual fan can come in and read but also the hardcore fans can enjoy. If you’re just retelling stories that everybody knows, the (hardcore fans) know them, they’ve seen them. If you’re digging too deep into it sometimes and you can lose people who aren’t as well-versed in the mythology.
The thing that I’ve learned a lot from just talking to fans who I’ve encountered is that everybody is brought into Power Rangers for different reasons. Some people came to Shattered Grid simply because they loved the season, they were like “oh wow, Time Force is going to be in that, I like that”. The comic brings people in in all these different ways, but if the story is compelling, and the characters are true and interesting? God, I sound like my writing teacher from college. They’ll stay. They’ll go back and they’ll start from the beginning and start reading through. Once you jump on you want to go back and you want to experience it. That’s I how I sort of balance the old and new fans.
Since you just wrapped up a big chunk of the story with the “Forever Rangers” issue. Was it always the plan to bridge the end of Go Go with the beginning of the MMPR comics?
Parrott: I always knew the last image that I wanted to do. By issue 8 of Go Go I had always knowm that I wanted to end with that last splash page. One of the things that was beautiful was that Boom was like ‘Hey, we really enjoyed working with you on this, we’d like to give you some extra pages for the issue.’ And I was like ‘Woohoo!’, and so when that happened, it sort of opened up me being able to slowly tie all those character stories that I had planted in the very first issue back in a visual way.
I knew that as I was writing it I realized, ‘Oh wow, we’re checking in, we’re actually connecting to all of these moments.’ We’re connecting to the moment that Zack got tempted by the Green Coin, and we’re connecting to the moment that Billy goes from being the young childish kid and decided to visually change himself. That was fun realizing that we were leading toward that and the story felt like it organically went that way. Some of it was planned and some of it was understanding where we were in the series.
At the end of that issue, Kim says she’s sorry to Matt. So where did that leave them, are they just friends?
Parrott: If you looked at their progression, I looked at it in the sense of that they were a couple, and then they were broken apart. There was resentment on both sides whether it was warranted or not doesn’t really matter, everybody feels the way they feel. I think (that moment) was about them stepping into each others’ shoes and having enough time pass, they were able to let go. I think Kimberly was holding some of the feelings, in the way that it ended internally, and then seeing the way her parents weren’t able to communicate, seeing that the divorce happened?
She started seeing the world through Matt’s eyes a little bit and let some of that stuff go. I think that they are friendly but I don’t think they are going to hang out anymore. But definitely they’ve let go of the frustrations and the unresolved emotions that they had had before. I feel like they parted on good terms now.
So in the original show there was a character named Matt who was in the “Foul Play in the Sky” episode. Does this now set up the idea that, oh yeah, they’re still around each other and they may still say, “hi.”
Parrott: I am going to say that just because that storyline resolved, does not mean we won’t see Matt come back in the story again. I like that character. He has a lot of fun stuff to play with so we’ll see.