Get out your bell bottoms and hippie beads because we’re going back in time. We’re familiar with Jason, Zack, Kimberly, Trini, and Billy, but they were not the first Power Rangers. It turns out Zordon recruited a different batch of young people to battle an alien threat in 1969. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #20 takes us back to the moon landing where some astronauts inadvertently awaken one of Rita’s deadliest allies.
The real star of this issue is Grace Sterling, who we’ve seen in the present day as the head of Promethea, a company with the goal to make the world worth saving. I really love what writer Kyle Higgins has done with this character. Within moments of meeting her, we learn that she was passed up for the space mission essentially because she’s a woman. She’s stuck planetside as three men make history on the moon. You can imagine her excitement when she’s teleported to Zordon’s command center and given super powers to head into outer space.
This has a great payoff when the Rangers land on the moon. She kneels down and touches the surface, holding up some dust in her hands with tears in her eyes. Artist Daniele Di Nicuolo captures this moment perfectly, showing just enough of her face through the helmet’s visor.
This Ranger team is almost like the Planeteers from Captain Planet. They come from all over the world and each represent different perspectives of the world at that point in time. There’s a Russian, a Brit, and a Vietnam vet. Based on how they interact both on and off the field, you can see why Zordan changed how he selected the next batch of Rangers. They’re constantly fighting amongst themselves and arguing, when they should be more concerned with the very real threat in front of them.
Zordon is almost like the Guardians of the Universe from Green Lantern in this issue. He throws down some orders and expects them to be carried out, regardless of the consequences. He doesn’t seem to care about how this will affect the five people selected or where it will leave them after this adventure. The Rangers aren’t even provided adequate training before they’re thrown into combat. This really puts him in a new light and makes you question what his role is in this battle of good vs evil. I can see how this might play out in the present day now that he’s MIA and Grace Sterling is making her presence known.
The Rangers mission is to stop Psycho Green, a disciple of the evil overlord known as Dark Specter. He looks very similar to the Green Ranger, so I wonder what, if any, connection he has to that power. It definitely comes through in the design for the character as he looks like a twisted version of the Green Ranger. Unlike these new Rangers, Psycho Green is a highly trained warrior and he shows it in battle, moving swiftly and confidently to take out his enemies.
The different colored Rangers are mixed up when it comes to genders, showing the versatility of the uniforms. Yes, there’s a guy as the Pink Ranger and he makes a comment about it, but that’s where it ends. Aside from the one remark, it’s not played for laughs. Grace is the Red Ranger and she wears the uniform with honor, heading into the field ready to lead. It’s a nice foreshadowing to the person she would become in the present day.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #20 sets the stage for the next phase of the series. Grace Sterling’s story is powerful and reframes the Rangers’ relationship with Zordon. Can they trust the floating head in a tube knowing his past and what he hasn’t told them? How does this affect Jason as he shoulders more responsibility than ever to lead the team in helping people around the world? These questions are what elevate this series and make it such a compelling read. I mean, this issue didn’t even feature any of the regular characters aside from Zordon and Alpha 5 and it’s one of the best of the bunch.