NYCC 2019: From Drakkon To Donatello At The Power Rangers: Necessary Evil Panel
by James Ferguson
James Viscardi, SVP of ComicBook.com served as moderator for Boom! Studios’ Power Rangers: Necessary Evil panel. He was joined by the comic book creators and some former Power Rangers including Dafna Pleban, Steve Cardenas, Karen Ashley, Austin St. John, Simone di Meo, Daniele Di Nicuolo, Sina Grace, and Ryan Parrott.
The discussion with how Necessary Evil began. Pleban said that many people expected a hard reset after Shattered Grid and they wanted to do something a little different. With Jason, Trini, and Zack leaving the team in the TV show, they were able to play with that idea and turn them into Omega Rangers elsewhere. She praised Di Nicuolo’s designs and how much time and effort went into their creation.
Parrott said the majority of the design came from Di Nicuolo. He brought in an alchemy element to unify the team. It wouldn’t make sense if they morphed into animals from Earth. Di Nicuolo said he went through forty to fifty different designs before they found the ones in the comic.
Di Meo was asked about about the design of the Solar Ranger, which is now showing up in video games. He was thinking of something that would easily translate from one medium to another. I remember them talking about the design at the Power Rangers panel last year and how they stretched the coloring based on what the comic book medium could do.
Jason has been one of the most popular characters in the Power Rangers mythos. He’s returned to the series in Beast Morphers and his original adventures are continuing in these comics. St. John said that it’s incredible to put over 100 episodes of work into a character and generations later seeing it resonate with others. He said he loved reading Go Go Power Rangers and the updates they did to the characters, particularly the relationship with Jason and Trini because he’d never date Kimberly. He doesn’t do high maintenance.
Parrott spoke with St. John when he was creating Jason’s backstory and received his blessing before moving along with the story. St. John said that Jason doesn’t want the limelight. He wants to elevate his team and that has definitely translated into the comic.
Cardenas and Ashley shared similar praise and they’re excited to see their characters show up in the comic. When they were filming the show, many things were rushed and they were always under the gun to get things done. With the comic, there’s time to dig into the characters and explore their lives a lot more.
Pleban pointed out that they gave them great clothes too. Ashley said her character is sassy. Pleban added that Aisha is the voice of clarity among the new characters, trying to break into the new group of Power Rangers. They needed someone to point out these mistakes and call out the other Rangers when needed.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #43 revealed new weapons, so will there be new zords? Yup! Designs were shown for some alien-looking zords that look pretty cool. The very first design Di Nicuolo did was the one that ended up in the book. Since they come from space, they are not going to pull from Earth creatures and it definitely shows in the design. Pleban said the zords look even better in action and revealed a double page spread from MMPR #44.
The conversation turned to Go Go Power Rangers, where the upcoming issues have teased a traitor. Parrott said that originally they didn’t know that Go Go Power Rangers would continue past an initial story but the more they dug into it, the more story they found. He compared Power Rangers to Lost, saying MMPR is everything on the island and Go Go represents the flashbacks.
St. John said that it can be hard to follow the different timelines of the comics and asked if there’s a resource to figure it out. Pleban said the Power Rangers sub-Reddit has done a great job organizing this. There is a way to read the whole thing chronologically, but you’ll have to wait at least a year to do that, basically waiting for one series to catch up to where the other left off. They are not designed to be read that way. The best bet is to read them as they come out.
Next up was the upcoming crossover, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, debuting in December. Pleban said this was an idea they had right when they got the Power Rangers license, but they had to prove they could do the Rangers right first. Parrott pitched the idea awhile back, but they were concentrating on getting the books out on time first. He was the first choice to right it and Di Meo was the first choice to draw it. Parrott said he was calling to check in and had to beg to write it, so if he was the first choice, Pleban played it very well.
When Pleban approached Di Meo to talk about the project, he sent an image that has been used as the cover for the first issue preview available exclusively at NYCC. It happened almost instantaneously. Pleban has since commissioned a few more covers from him.
Parrott was asked if there was anything he wanted to do, but couldn’t in the crossover. He said that both Hasbro and Nickelodeon have been pretty great about everything. He’s been thinking about all the cool things he’s wanted to see since he was a kid. “Wouldn’t it be cool if Shredder got…blank? And that’s the end of issue #2!”
The first issue is 30 pages to introduce all the characters. Parrott set up Angel Grove and New York City separately, showing the teams in their respective cities in their own way. Since there was already a crossover in the TV show, it has been established that they live in the same world, so they don’t need to spend time making a dimensional rift or anything like that. They both deal with saving the world, but in very different ways. One does it and then lives life as normal teenagers while the other is feared by people for how they look.
Di Meo grew up with the Ninja Turtles so it was great to put something of his own into the characters. The first design he did for the Turtles was approved by Nickelodeon immediately. He gave them personalities in their mask designs. You can remove the color from the images and understand who is who based on the layout.
St. John said he would have loved to do this in the show. They fought eyes, purses, and beach balls, but nothing this cool. Ashley said that a lot of the Japanese stunt team were Ninja Turtles before they were Power Rangers so there was overlap even back then.
A fan asked about the Power Rangers game and what characters they’d like to see from the comics show up. Parrott has already had one with the Ranger Slayer. War Bunny and the Omega Rangers would be nice. Parrott said Trini has become an important character to him and he wants to see more for her in other media.
Another fan asked the panel what their favorite non MMPR series was. Since St. John is on Beast Morphers, he had to pick that up. Cardenas and Ashley chose Time Force.
Boom! has released nice hardcovers collecting the bulk of Kyle Higgins’ run. Are there plans for more for Parrott’s run? Pleban said to stay tuned.
With the upcoming crossover with the Ninja Turtles, Parrott has not had a chance to speak with TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman. He’d love to. Eastman is doing a variant cover for the series.
A fan asked St. John and Cardenas about how it feels to be the idols of some kids as the Red Rangers. Viscardi said that he wore a lot of red flannel as a kid as a result, to which St. John and Cardenas joked they did too. They said it means a lot to hear the stories from kids and adults and how they were inspired by the show and these characters.
The panel was asked what seasons of the show they’d like to bring into the comics. Parrott pointed out that they would have to wait forever to get to some eras. Fortunately, Boom! is releasing graphic novels that explore those time periods. Pleban said that more are in the works, but nothing can be revealed yet. There are also plans to utilize the shared universe aspect of Power Rangers.