Hey there comic fans, I’m here in the home office in chilly Cobourg, Ontario, so that must mean its time for Heroes and Villains!
This week I strapped in for two volumes of Boom Studios Mighty Morphing Power Rangers comic and a retelling of a Greek myth over at Image, so let’s talk comics!
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Vol. 3 & 4
Writer: Kyle Higgins; Art: Hendry Prasetya, Jonathan Lam & Daniel Bayliss
I was in grade 9 when the original MMPR show hit airwaves on fix kids, so to be honest I was a little too old to be watching it… not that that stopped me of course. Something about the show, despite its many flaws, really grabbed me. Was it the theme song? Of course it was. But it was also the fully realized Japanese monster vs. guy in a robot suit battles, the well-choreographed martial arts and endearing quality of the characters. The Green Ranger saga and its follow up with the introduction of the White Ranger were pretty epic arcs for a kids show and I was all in.
That said, I always felt like there was a layer the series didn’t hit because its job was to run on Saturday mornings and sell toys. The recent film tried, but didn’t get there. However, this comic series absolutely does.
Although I had the option to start with Volume 1, I had seen images of the parallel universe storyline running through later volumes of the series and just had to start there. I was not disappointed.
I joined the story at the beginning of Volume 3, with the Rangers command centre overthrown by the sinister Rita Repulsa and her minions, Angel Grove under siege and the Rangers all dressed in green, sharing the powers of sixth Ranger Tommy Oliver. From there things got wild with a dystopian parallel universe, evil Tommy, clone Goldars, military style Ranger shock troops and Bulk and Skull actually doing something useful.
I cannot stress enough how much fun this book was to read as a Power Rangers fan. It gave me the moments I wanted but never got on the series by treating the characters and their universe with the same kind of seriousness as the X-Men or the Avengers. It uses tropes of the comic medium to flesh out the Rangers world while still staying true to the heart of the original series.
Writer Kyle Higgins is either a Ranger fan himself, or really did his homework to make this series feel like a labour of love. Making Rita and her coney bra-things a real threat is not an easy task, but he pulls it off. He also crafts nice moments between the Rangers and offers a look at the devastating effects of having giant monsters and robots battle across your city once or twice a week.
Credit as well to series artists Hendry Prasetya, Jonathan Lam and Daniel Bayliss for keeping continuity between their styles and respecting the source material enough nogt to go hard on redesigns, but instead to breath modern life into them.
One final shout out to the folks at BOOM! Studios for yet another nostalgia trip that exceeds my expectations by using a property I enjoy and treating it with respect to create something awesome.
Kill The Minotaur (TP)
Writers: Chris Pasetto & Christian Cantamessa; Artist: Lukas Ketner
I have to admit that I really should be familiar enough with the story of Theseus and the Minotaur from years working in a museum to be able to to tell how accurate to the source material this is… but I’m not. I remember a maze, a dude and a monster, all of which are covered in this take on the ancient Greek myth of a bull headed monster and the man that slays it.
In this spirit of Frank Millars 300, Kill the Minotaur spices up the story, adding lots of gore, a hint at space aliens (my take) and of course some gratuitous nudity and cursing.
The story begins with the king of Crete losing his son to the previously mentioned monster, which leads to years of conflict with nearby Athens where “tributes” are taken to be fed to the beast inside its labyrinth home.
Enter Theseus, son of the king, warrior in training and smart mouth layabout who is dragged into the battle and dropped into the maze along with his best friend, a mysterious ally and a some red ensigns… err… fellow countrymen.
The story moves along with lots of bodies, blood, guts and passable character development as Theseus becomes the hero he was destined to be. Pretty standard stuff and all well executed.
The design of the Minotaur was a fresh take, with it being a monster more in line with John Carpenter’s Thing than your typical guy with a bull’s head. It was a good choice and pairs nicely with the otherworldly nature of the maze, itself a living thing.
From a critical stand point, the writing isn’t anything overly fresh and the the art is a little sketchy here and there, but cover to cover, the comic is well produced. In fact, I would not be at all surprised to see a film adaptation come out of this as it seems tailor made to do so.
For fans of mythology and brutal, monster themed gore, Kill the Minotaur would make for a fine addition to the shelf.
That’s all from me this week, so from my corner of the multiverse to yours, excelsior!