Quite a busy week this week. I hope everyone enjoyed the comics they got. So what about some of what we got? Let’s talk comics!
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #20 (BOOM! Studios)
Kyle Higgins and Daniele Di Nicuolo kick off an all new arc of the hit reinterpretation of Saban’s long running property. I’ve praised this series before for it’s mature take on the cheesy kids show of old. Now with the series 25th anniversary, the series creates a quantum shift in the entire mythology of the Power Rangers. As revealed in this issue, Jason, Kimberly, Zack, Billy and Trini were NOT Earth’s first Rangers. That honor belonged to a group of five shortly after the moon landing.
In a story that doesn’t check in on the present day at all, we meet five completely new characters the night of Neal Armstrong’s famous moonwalk. Grace Sterling is the POV character, a NASA employee who yearns to join the astronaut program. Zordon and Alpha 5 snatch Grace and four others from across the globe and recruit them to stop an evil Green Psycho Ranger, who was woken by the moon landing itself. The five fight off Psycho Green, and only are able to defeat him at the cost of three of their lives.
Higgins has a blast revising Ranger history. He digs deep, leading me to spend some time on the Power Rangers wiki to look up some of the references, such as Psycho Green, Dark Specter, and more. It sets up some very cool threats for the future of the series, as the Psycho Rangers weren’t introduced until the franchise was several years old, and Dark Specter was a villain that didn’t show up until the Power Rangers in Space incarnation. However, he ties those later bits of lore deep into the series first incarnation. In addition that that great work revising history, the five Rangers 1969 all arrive full realized, and are interesting characters on their own. I’m actually disappointed that only two survived, because it’d be great to meet all five later in the series.
Di Nicuolo continues the series tradition to date of solid art. These five don’t have any martial arts training, so the action is less kinetic and more fumbling and ultimately brutal. It’s a good artistic move, as it makes the tragedy of this Ranger team much more believable.
If you had told me two years ago that a Power Rangers line of comics would be as fun and interesting as this series and its sister Go Go Power Rangers, I would have laughed at you. It’s a fabulous job by the team at Boom Studios.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
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Hack/Slash Resurrection #1 (Image Comics)
Tim Seeley’s long-running horror comic returns after a three year absence, this time with Seeley in an editor/producer role, and handing the reins over to new writer Trini Howard and artist Celor. I didn’t read a lot of the previous series, however Howard and Celor are able to give us a new take on slasher-hunter Cassie Hack while still honoring the tone and feel of Seeley’s work on the title.
Cassie has settled into a comfortable life as a video game streamer, with her honed reflexes and verse making her a nearly unstoppable competitor. However, some new evil has found her, with a small pack of zombies attacking her mobile home. This leads to Cassie hitting the road, accepting a job offer from an old friend of her mom’s. Being the world of Hack/Slash, naturally there’s more to all of this than meets the eye.
Howard does a great job capturing the feel of old Hack/Slash stories, while making it her own. This involves some fun world building for Cassie’s new situation, and showing a changed, and maybe a bit more subdued Cassie. Celor’s art is smooth and stylistic. They include few sharp lines, making everything flow together. This also makes the moments of violence pop.
It’s a fun return for a classic indy character, and while not for everything, it’ll be a must-read for horror fans.
Rating: 7 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy if a horror fan.
Goosebumps: Monsters at Midnight #1 (IDW Publishing)
I’m of the age that I devoured every new Goosebumps book through middle school. RL Stine’s cheesy, melodramatic style of horror was just my speed. I enjoyed the Jack Black movie. I devoured Stine’s Man-Thing miniseries at Marvel. And now I’m happy to see IDW has the Goosebumps license.
Right off the bat, Jeremy Lambert and Chris Fenoglio establish this as the Goosebumps that my generation knows and loves, with two young kids getting into trouble. They also establish a kid friendly tone, making it clear that this is a book for us adults to share with their kids. Mia and Ginny are sisters living with their grandmother for the summer. One day they discover a creepy bookstore, and are drawn back to it that night when grandma falls asleep early, only to discover that it isn’t what it seems.
Lambert tells a fun relatable story for kids. He does a great job building up Mia and Ginny as characters, and establishing a spooky tone. However, in the last couple pages, it swerves. Instead of taking the interesting set-up of a haunted bookstore, suddenly two of Stine’s greatest creations are dropped into the story. For a kid, it’s probably a happy twist. For an adult, it’s a bit disappointing. Fenoglio’s art is fun, cartoony and well done. He really does some great things with atmosphere in the bookstore, and he makes the monster that appears just before the twist both cute and scary.
If you’re picking this up as an adult fan of the stories from your youth, you may be disappointed. If you’re picking this up to share a beloved piece of your childhood with a son, daughter, niece or nephew, you’ll have a lot more fun.
Rating: 6 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy if you have a young horror fan in your life. Pass otherwise.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #31 (DC Comics)
Robert Vendetti and Patch Zircher wrap up the two issue follow-up to August’s Superman vs. Sinestro arc from Superman. It’s a fun follow-up to the Superman guest arc, putting a little more weight behind that fill-in story.
Superman and Green Lantern rescue Hector Hammond from a batch of aliens trying to “harvest” his mutation. The aliens hijack Hammond’s mental abilities to confuse the two heroes with illusions, but both are able to shake free and narrowly avoid Hammond’s newly enhanced abilities.
After the heavier stories Vendetti has been telling, this was a brisk change of pace. It was a lighter story, and the gremlin-like aliens were a great threat. He also writes both of his protagonists extremely well. Superman contributed in a great way, without taking away from it being Hal’s book. Vendetti also corrects a mistake he made last issue- accidentally implying the Superman/Sinestro arc was all in Superman’s head thanks to Hammond- and makes it clear that Hal fully believes that Sinestro is back.
I’ve sung praises for Zircher before. He does a great job here, designing a few new interesting creatures, having a blast with Hal’s constructs, and continuing his majestic Superman interpretation from the past 18 months on Action Comics.
In all, it’s a fun story, and a good break from some of the heavier happenings of late.
Rating: 7 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy.
Silver Surfer #14 (Marvel Comics)
Dan Slott and Michael Allred wrap up their run on Marvel’s sentinel of the spaceways in this beautiful issue. Critics of this series have often called it Doctor Who fanfic, and Slott is a massive Who fan, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The duo instead have crafted something wholly different and wonderful. You can see influences from the venerable BBC series for sure, but of equal influence is the work of Kirby, Roddenberry, and a love of hopeful and optimistic science fiction.
A simple disclaimer- this is not an issue to pick up without having caught up on the series. I tried that and stopped myself, then went back to issues #12-13 first.
This issue chronicles the sad life of Norrin Radd after the love of his life, Dawn Greenwood passed away last issue, while the duo were trapped in a dying universe- the fabled dying universe that birthed Galactus at the beginning of the Marvel universe. Norrin spends billions of years, invisibly watching his universe build itself… and then finds himself drawn to watch his own history… and then his adventures with Dawn. In that time, he devises a way to ensure Dawn survives without disrupting the timeline or events that already happened, and ensures a happy ending for his true love. It’s truly heartbreaking, but also incredibly sweet.
Slott and Allred are in perfect lockstep. This is a beautiful book in every sense of the word. It’s awe-inspiring, fantastic, and so very human. Though the words are Slott’s and the pictures are Allred’s, it’s clearly a perfect amalgam of both creators. Honestly, the only downside is that this issue cannot stand alone, that it’s incomplete without reading the rest of the series. However, with a story so wonderfully done, that’s far from a negative.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
The Verdict: Buy. And buy the omnibus when it comes out. It’s worth it.