Shattered Grid has already swept through several different eras and teams of the Power Rangers franchise. Since there is now 25 years of history, there are are lot of characters to go through and a limited amount of time and space to showcase them. Enter the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 2018 Annual. This oversized issue includes five tales, each focusing on a different team including Zeo, RPM, SPD, In Space, and the most recent version, Ninja Steel. The evil Lord Drakkon visits all of these teams like a demented version of Santa Claus, leaving chaos and bloodshed instead of presents and joy.
I will be upfront and say that I am not as well versed in some of these teams as I am with the Mighty Morphin team. Fortunately, these stories are very friendly to new readers, although long time fans will get a lot more out of this book. Lord Drakkon’s strategy, as revealed in MMPR #26 is pretty straightforward. He plans to steal the power from each team to reach unrivaled levels of strength and destroy all of the Power Rangers that have ever lived. This is why every team, regardless of when or where they started out, is in danger. Interestingly, his tactics are different for each one and that makes this such an enjoyable read.
One aspect that could have thrown a monkey wrench into the overall Shattered Grid storyline is the Zeo team. Tommy Oliver has been killed while still serving as the Green Ranger (in MMPR #25), so how could he also be the Red Zeo Ranger? Writer Kyle Higgins has that covered with a solid explanation and a very conniving plan from Drakkon. In case you didn’t know this guy was bad news, this story will show you just how dark he is.
The Zeo story also serves as a nice introduction as Jason returns for a visit with the Rangers so it’s like this opening tale bridges the gap between the original team and the others featured in the Annual. Marcus To’s artwork and Matt Herms’ colors show a simpler time for the Rangers. This is an era of life and energy with such vibrant shades. There’s a great sequence with Jason and Tommy sitting on top of the command center watching the sunset. The sky is alive with some brilliant colors as Jason drops some knowledge on Tommy and the adversity they faced together and apart. This becomes even more meaningful by the end of the issue as Drakkon’s plan for this team is revealed.
Although Drakkon definitely has the upper hand in these assaults, not to mention the element of surprise, the Power Rangers don’t give up easy. It’s almost like they collectively know to be on guard so they’re all somewhat ready for an ambush and respond in kind. Each one shows why they were chosen to be a Power Ranger in the first place. They are incredibly brave and do not back down from a fight, even in the forces they’re up against are astronomical.
The RPM story is probably my favorite of the bunch after Zeo. I have next to know knowledge of these characters, but writer Anthony Burch presents such a compelling tale. Drakkon takes a different approach here, going the espionage route instead of an all out assault. It creates a new feel as he fights with words instead of swords and lasers, although they are no less effective. He can be very manipulative, pulling on just the right strings to make someone question everything about themselves.
Artist Dylan Burnett plays with this, depicting Drakkon as more approachable at first. Over time, he becomes more and more sick, like he can only keep up this facade for so long before his true nature is revealed. He looks almost human.
The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 2018 Annual is an incredible addition to Shattered Grid. It tells five additional stories that probably wouldn’t fit in the main narrative, but still serve a major purpose. Plus, it highlights five separate teams so you get five times the normal amount of Power Rangers. At the bare minimum, this book will have me firing up Netflix to binge watch some of these series because if these stories are any indication, I have been sleeping on some pretty awesome stuff.