Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 2017 Annual – Various

3 out of 5

Not a MMPR reader (or fan), so you’ll have to pardon me for not getting the point. I am reading Tom Taylor’s ‘Morphin crossover series, though, so his entry here, while it’s not tied to those issues, is why I picked this up. So what follows is my best attempt at sifting through an annual for a comic universe / franchise I’m almost wholly uninterested in.

Which, to start, I will say: this is not a jumping on point. The annual is a collection of five Power Ranger shorts from five different creative teams. While I do think some context is necessary, just from a narration perspective – and a couple entries here fail to offer that – I do like when annuals actually add to an ongoing storyline and aren’t just a wallet-squeezing batch of extras, and to that extent, I can appreciate the balance here, with two stories functioning as standalones, two (I have to assume) as ongoing-series connective tissue, and one background tale. All of the stories are pretty average, though, so balanced or not, ’tis an average read overall.

The two ‘part of the ongoing story’ contributions (the opener by Kyle Higgins; an entry by Jamal Campbell) are a rough read, both art-wise and contextually. We’re really dropped right in the middle of shenanigans in both – the Green Ranger’s crisis of conscience in the former and some kind of multiverse-hopping with the Black Ranger in the latter – and both feature the frustrating Boom! Studios style of art, which is slick and colorful looking but without a firm grasp on page layout. So from Goni Montes arting Higgins’ words and Campbell doing the writer / artist shtick, we get big, emotive figures stuffed into eyeball-mush layouts and bafflingly static or confusing action sequences.

The flashback story, Perfect, by Trey Moore, is quite interesting, tracing the hows and whys of a particular character teaming up with Rangers baddie Rita Repulsa, which also offers enough of that aforementioned context to get the gist without over-expositing. Frazier Irving uses a chiaroscuro, dual-toned style that effectively sets the tone and drama, though it’s so dreary as to obscure, at some points, what exactly is going on.

The best two bits (to me, anyway) are the standalones, which take a humorous approach. Caitlin Kittredge has two bad guys sneak off to a carnival with Sabrina’s Day Out, and Tom Taylor has the Yellow Ranger’s vacation plans interrupted in Trini’s Vacation. Daijung Lee, on Day Out, has the same house-style issues, but Kittredge’s script is more reliant on conversation and timing than action, so it still works well. Meanwhile, Dan Mora’s sense of scope has increases greatly since I last saw him on Klaus, turning in the best looking pages in the annual. The script is average, but Tom stuffs a worthwhile action sequence into a few pages.

So go at it, Rangers fans. For non-fans, or for the uninitiated, while it maintains a level of quality, I can’t say the annual offers anything special.