It Came From Dimension X: Reviewing ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II’ #2
by Scott Redmond
‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II’ pulls out all the stops as everything to do with these two storied franchises continues to intermingle to create one cohesive deep fun to explore universe. Every MMPR or TMNT fan is probably experiencing that giddy style Saturday Morning feeling as they flip through these pages, ready to revert right back to childhood once more.
One of the perks that come with doing sequels is not having to spend much time centered on setting things up. Since one likely figures that people are coming in from the previous entry in the story, it’s easy to spend just a little bit with catchup before diving right into the action or adventure or whatever the story is meant for.
That’s just what happens with the second issue of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, as the story just goes right into revealing the overall threat and putting the title characters on the offensive against a vast army of their foes. Building the character dynamics and connections and the scope of their foes was all stuff done in the first mini-series, so Ryan Parrott just surges forward to use up every available inch of space to do awesome stuff. That’s not to say that he doesn’t make sure to pepper in enough stuff for any new readers to not feel lost, doing so in a very clever organic way whenever the need arises.
There are only so many ways to just say what an utterly delightful fun time this series is, even with the dire stakes. I laughed, my heart was broken, I cheered, and I was on the edge of my proverbial seat. Even that final page cliffhanger reveal got me excited, because even though we knew Shredder would have to come in at some point the moment when and the badass way it was done works. Parrott nails all the voices and has easily built a world that supports and contains both these teams of heroes and their foes, not a single crack or space that feels contradictory. Of course, they are from the same world, it just makes sense.
There isn’t anything that Dan Mora seemingly cannot draw, always making things so deep and amazing in the process. It’s a level of detail that is just beyond words, infusing every single line on the page with pure joy and love for whatever he might be drawing at that point, no matter the title/topic. It has weight and feels real, with the motion energy becoming tangible as things just flow through the pages and are ready to burst right off and come into our world. There is a magic to making sure that fight scenes when done in a certain medium actually feel real and the audience feels like they might be right in the middle of the fight themselves, and Mora nails that every time.
Emotions are all over the place, not just mine but those of the characters themselves, and we can see and feel them because the faces and body language perfectly convey them to our eyes. Every character not only feels unique but looks that way from their style to how they move across the page. There isn’t a bit of space that isn’t fully utilized as Mora shifts from far larger panels to pages where numerous panels are slipping and sliding around one another to keep up with the frenzied pace, never becoming overwhelming or hard to follow. Just a visual feast for the eyes.
Part of that feast includes the glorious colors that Raúl Angulo provides, mirroring a lot of the beautiful bold vibrant but also very grounded colors that match what Angulo is also doing in the main Power Rangers book. It’s a great move having him color both because while they are not sharing continuity or universe, it creates a thread or bond of sorts between the concurrently running series.
As I mentioned the colors that Angulo brings are very vibrant in many areas, namely the more supernatural or heroic elements. That would include the Power Rangers and Turtles (both in and out of their suits) and all the villains. They’re allowed to be bright and pop right off the page, so that things like the buildings or the various headquarters can feel more realistic with their lighter or toned-down color schemes. Having backgrounds or spaces that are less vibrant actually makes the more vibrant elements stand out even more just because of that difference. At the same time, there are numerous spaces where a blast of color becomes the background and just hugs and enhances those other colors.
If one needs to have something lettered by someone with a deft ability to hit every note and turn things into something amazing and happens to be doing it through BOOM! Studios, Ed Dukeshire should be at the top of their lists. Through a bunch of different series over the past year, I’ve reviewed the lettering work of Dukeshire numerous times. This is someone that can take what is on the page and make it work seemingly so easily by infusing all the emotion and tone and other elements that are necessary for the story to have the full impact that is desired.
Sure, we can see that someone is made or sad in a moment, but it helps make the emotions even more tangible when we can also add in the sense of hearing to the reading process, sort of. Yeah of course we can’t actually hear anything from a comic but when a letterer does their job well, we can read a bit of dialogue and tie that together with the character’s body language or facial expression in order to perfectly hear their voice in our head. I can read Raphael’s dialogue and it already has an angry or intense tone to it, befitting the character, compared to the more even-keeled voice of Donatello or Billy or such in my head.
Yes, those of us that have watched the various shows with these characters might already have a given version of the voice in our head from the various actors involved, but it still helps to have the voice somewhat drawn up for us through the lettering. No guesswork is involved, the art is working harmoniously to tell us what to see, hear, and in a way experience as we move through the pages.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II #2 is now available from BOOM! Studios.