Mighty Morphin Power Rangers / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (#1 – 5) – Ryan Parrott

2 out of 5

The first TMNT / Batman crossover was an inspired and energetic bit of lunacy.  It’s popularity demanded sequels and spin-offs, and also – as often happens when something “franchises” out – diminishing returns.  Following on this, we get another mash-up – TMNT plus Boom’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers – and I’ll grant that, this time, the concept at least makes “sense” in that the Power Rangers kinda stepped into the Saturday Morning cartoon ring when TMNT’s fame waned, taking over the toy racks and lunch boxes for their time in the spotlight.  And you have group dynamics – four Turtles (uh, plus April) = five Power Rangers; and they’re both teens.  It works.

The format for these crossovers remains, as ever, the same, with Power Rangers’ baddie (Rita Repulsa) teaming up / switching places with the Turtles’ Shredder, and writer Ryan Parrot does his best to build up to the inevitable power swapping as well, with the TMNT go-go-Power-Rangering and the Rangers… uh, being ninjas.  This imbalance ends up being one of several plot elements that are just kinda hopped over, with most of the other ones unfortunately rather front and center for the conflict: it’s not quite clear why / how the Rangers lose their morphin’ ability, necessitating said power-swapping, and our villains’ machinations are very much of the “be evil… profit” variety.  If you’ve pieced together that that means that the story is lacking clear motivations for the baddies, clear logic for the team up, and a proper balance of characters in a book deluged with characters – yes.  All of that is true.

Parrott does bring some charm to things, pairing up the reptiles with their like-minded Rangers, and stumbling across some fun dialogue as a result – there’s clearly no attempt to be “serious” about this, and so it all reads rather cheekily, which is for the best – and I was pleased by the simplicity of the crossover: TMNT and Power Rangers exist in the same world.  The Turtles know about the Rangers already.  Done.

However, charm can only carry things so far when there’s no compelling reason to read the story, and artist Simone di Meo, while delivering fluid and animated character models, is – I’m sorry to be so critical, but – horrible at choreography and defining space and motion.  Characters come out of nowhere (which could also be tied to the script, not tying As to Bs to Cs); action is static, with everyone “reacting” to things that are unclear.  I had no idea what was happening on most pages due to this, and then, due to the my complete detachment from the story, just ended up skimming words so I could get through the book.  Not a great experience.  Walter Baiamonte’s colors are great, though, excepting this bizarre green highlights applied in the first couple issues – like where they intended to drop blacks, they put in bright greens.

Two stars starts to seem generous with all this negativity, I guess, but the issues didn’t start to stack up that much until some of its pieces are in place by the midpoint.  Up until then, it’s distracting enough, and again, I appreciated some elements that Parrott brought to the table.