Before we get too far into this review for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #26, here’s your spoiler warning for issue #25. We’re going to talk about some big stuff that happened in issue #25 that kicked of “Shattered Grid” so if you haven’t read that yet and don’t want it spoiled, stop now and go do that. Ready? OK.
The Power Rangers are reeling from a death in the family. Up until now, it’s all been fun and games. They get cool costumes, do some karate, and pilot giant robots. The stakes felt small. Now, with the death of Tommy Oliver, the Green Ranger, at the hands of Lord Drakkon, his evil doppelganger from an alternate dimension, they’re faced with harsh reality and it is unlike anything they’ve encountered to date.
MMPR #26 is interspersed with somber moments of mourning as the Rangers lay their friend to rest. I had some cynical thoughts in my review for the last issue, pointing out that Shattered Grid deals with time travel and writer Kyle Higgins could very well make all this go away by the end. After this issue, it is made abundantly clear that that is just not possible. Tommy is literally put in the ground as his friends and family watch. Additionally, Jen Scott, the Pink Time Force Ranger, points out that due to Drakkon’s attack, there is no going back. The past is set in stone and they can’t go any further back in time.
This is devastating news that shakes the Rangers to their core. While this issue picks up some time after Tommy’s death, we go back to witness the moments immediately after. It’s heartbreaking to see these teenagers go through such anguish. Artist Daniele Di Nicuolo captures that sadness in each of the characters. Get out your tissues, folks, because this issue is a tearjerker.
Perhaps the most unsettling sequence comes as the reality of the situation really sets in. There’s nothing in the morphin grid that can bring Tommy back from the dead. He’s gone and Jason and the others have to deal with the reality of that. More importantly, they have to find a way to explain this to Tommy’s parents. They are less of a factor in the day-to-day adventures of the Rangers, but they have to know their son is dead. What makes this doubly heartbreaking is that his parents just got him back after Tommy was trapped in Drakkon’s dimension for a bit.
Although the Rangers are taking time to mourn, Lord Drakkon is still on the offensive. He is not letting up at all, taking his fight to another set of Power Rangers in another time period. I’m not totally up to speed on all the different iterations of Power Rangers, but I believe these are the Samurai Rangers.
Lord Drakkon appears as a tyrannical general, leading a group of soldiers and tanks to overpower a small force of Power Rangers. It’s intimidating and menacing. You’d expect to hear the Imperial March playing as he makes his way to the battlefield. This is an overpowering force.
This scene takes place at sunset, which casts a bright, reddish glow on the fight. Colorist Walter Baiamonte gives these pages some real life and energy. When the battle begins, the panels are splashed with different colors, showing the Rangers’ various attacks.
One effect that has been popping up in a number of the Power Rangers comics is the image of the Rangers’ eyes through their helmet. This works incredibly well, reminding us of the human being behind the costume. This flashing of eyes in the heat of combat show the array of emotion they’re all going through, ranging from desperation to anger to terror.
The true scope of Lord Drakkon’s plan is revealed by the end of the issue and it is terrifying stuff. This is unlike anything the Power Rangers have faced before. In the lead up to “Shattered Grid,” I wondered what could possibly happen that would require all of these different Power Rangers teams to join forces across time and space. After seeing what Lord Drakkon has in store, I wonder if they will be enough.
I wondered where “Shattered Grid” would go after such a monumental opening chapter. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #26 not only keeps up that same level of storytelling quality, but brings it to a new level. This is a bold tale featuring characters we know and love against insurmountable odds, and I could not be more hooked.