I’m so glad that Free Comic Book Day is being used to pull in new readers and not just to give reprints of pre-released material. Granted, there’s still some of that out there. In the case of Boom! Studios, the publisher released a tie-in to the mega Power Rangers event, Shattered Grid. At this point, we’re a couple chapters into the story and anyone that picked this up will have ample opportunity to quickly catch up before the next issue drops.
This special one-shot has to serve a dual purpose. It has to simultaneously grab a new reader’s attention while also making it worthwhile for someone that’s been following the series for some time. Writers Kyle Higgins and Ryan Parrott pull this off, delivering a recap of the origin of the Power Rangers that ties into the Shattered Grid event.
Zordon looks for backup after more Power Rangers fall to Lord Drakkon. He appeals to the emissaries, risking his own life and future as a result. These beings seem to embody the Morphin Grid itself. They appear as three figures, red, blue, and yellow (prime colors!), however they are constantly fluctuating, switching between different Power Ranger uniforms. This is no easy task to accomplish in a static medium like comics. Artist Diego Galindo catches these entities in mid-transformation, showing the change with something like a lightning bolt coursing through their bodies. This creates a really cool effect that gives them an otherworldly quality.
Colorist Marcelo Costa completes the package with an eerie glow. The way the emissaries appear on the page makes them look like they’re almost slightly out of focus. It’s like your eyes can’t fully process their sheer power.
Zordon has to explain to the emissaries why this team is so special and why they’re worth saving. This is where the recap comes in. For long time fans of the franchise, this will be all too familiar as we see the origins of the team, complete with the “teenagers with attitude” line from the original TV show. The new spin on this comes from the way the characters are interacting before they’re summoned to the command center. It adds some fun banter to their last moments as normal teenagers.
I was surprised to see how much time was spent on this stuff and how little was spent talking about Lord Drakkon and his actions to date. There are seven pages recounting the first adventure of the Power Rangers and one panel showing the death of Tommy Oliver.
Zordon’s pleading feels like someone speaking to the Watcher Uatu in the Marvel Universe. Here are some all powerful beings that could easily step in and change the fate of all those affected by Lord Drakkon’s mayhem, but they have to choose if and when to do this very carefully.
One big standout for this special was a glimpse into Rita Repulsa’s final moments in Lord Drakkon’s universe. She wasn’t around so it was safe to assume he took her out, but I don’t think we saw how it was done. Just in case you needed further proof that Drakkon was a soulless human being, just read this book. It’s cold.
Shattered Grid has been an absolute dream for Power Rangers fans new and old. This Free Comic Book Day 2018 one-shot only adds to the story, even with the shots from the past. It adds a nice helping of nostalgia to the fray, reminding us why we love these characters so much. This makes the terrors they’re about to face all the more harrowing.