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Shattered Grid: The Best Power Rangers Anniversary Gift

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Shattered Grid: The Best Power Rangers Anniversary Gift

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Last anyone remembers of the Power Rangers are the campy thirty minute episodes featuring colorful spandex suits that spark and giant megazords that always save the day. The episodes are predictable and rarely do they show any depth in characters, not like they did in the days of Mighty Morphin. With these shows getting cheesier and cheesier, many fans who grew up on watching the older series have always wondered whether a more mature version of the rangers would ever appear on the big screen. An avid fan like myself has personally wondered if a darker version of this happy campy show could ever actually happen.

Opening title card for Adi Shankar’s Power/Rangers.

Producer Adi Shankar made these dreams come true with a bootleg short film, titled Power/Rangers, released in early 2015. The short film is a dystopian hard-R reworking of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers starring James Van Der Beek as Rocky DeSantos and Katee Sackhoff as Kimberly Hart. It explores timeline where the Rangers lost to the Machine Empire. With a dark, gritty story line, gratuitous violence and approach to the social issues, the short film garnered praise from fans and even the original Pink Ranger, actress Amy Jo Johnson. However, the short film also caused controversy as it portrayed death, drug abuse, nudity, suicide, and various violence involving guns. Jason David Frank, who played Tommy Oliver in the first series, criticized it for its representation of a children’s show. Haim Saban took legal action against the short film citing copyright and the film was taken down and reposted over a three day period. Adi Shankar has voiced interest in producing a television series following his R-rated take, however, latest news as of last year was an animated series was in the works – who even knows?

Power Rangers (2017) promotional poster featuring the new suits.

In 2017, the Power Rangers reboot film released and brought a new incarnation of the beloved heroes of our childhood. The new movie featured different origins, no spandex, and an inclusive and diverse cast. The film glosses relevant issues teens face and borders on discussing the idea of high school teens training to save the world. However, it was met with mixed reviews among critics and fans, much of the criticism focusing primarily on its divergence from source material, uneven tone and pacing, and obvious product placement. Subsequently, it didn’t do so well at the box office – was deemed a box office flop – the six planned sequels were reduced to only one, saved by record breaking home media sales – fingers crossed the sequel film actually happen. The film made history, however, as it featured Hollywood’s first gay superhero in the Yellow Ranger.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #25.

For 2018, the 25th anniversary of the franchise, BOOM! Studios and Saban Brands is presenting the first comic book event to take place between Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Saban’s Go Go Power Rangers.  Power Rangers: Shattered Grid features Lord Drakkon, an evil version of Tommy Oliver from an alternate reality. The comics follow Drakkon and his army travelling through dimensions to execute “a plan that will threaten the very existence of every Power Rangers ever”.

A plot like this seems quite promising as it boils down to ‘an evil ranger from an apocalyptic future travelling to the past to murder everyone and anyone who were or ever will be rangers’. What’s even better is that for the first time ever, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers will team up with other rangers from Time Force, Lightspeed Rescue, Samurai and other Power Ranger series. A team up this big has only ever occurred in the butchered Megaforce Legendary Battle back in 2014.

In March 2018, a trailer for Shattered Grid was posted online. Narrated by the original Green Ranger, Jason Frank David, the trailer shows various covers for the event and the voice over featured is that of Lord Drakkon, detailing his promise to go after all power rangers ever. It’s safe to say that the tagline – No Ranger is Safe – definitely fits.

“The Power Rangers have always been a beacon of light and good; there to save the world day in and day out. This time around, they face a nemesis far worse than they have seen, Lord Drakkon, the alternate and evil version of Tommy Oliver. Bringing the voice of Lord Drakkon, who’s vicious and ruthless, to life ran a volt of energy throughout me,” Jason David Frank says. “It felt so good to be bad hahaha. The fans are in for a historic comic book event that will change the Power Rangers future like no other event in their past. They cannot miss it!”

On the same day, the cover of the first issue was released, featuring the hands of the white ranger holding a red shattered helmet, as well as a checklist of all fifteen issues coming out. Shattered Grid starts with a prelude issue in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers issue #24 and will go on until August, in time for the 25th anniversary.

The story itself is a continuation of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers comic issue that is a modern retelling of the original series with a more mature tone. It delves into the ‘what ifs?’ of evil and into the realm of multiple universes. The event will crossover into Go Go Power Rangers which is set in the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and revolves around their interpersonal relationships. It’s an interesting and all new take of the characters and series and would surely be an entertaining and enticing plotline along with action and sci-fi elements that are honestly just mind blowing.

A live action trailer starring Frank as Lord Drakkon took the fans by storm, garnering over 270 thousand views on YouTube. It was first dropped on Twitter by Kyle Higgins, the head writer of the series who is most notable for his work on the Batman franchise at DC Comics. The trailer has Frank in full costume, bringing to life the pure unadulterated evil of Lord Drakkon as he monitors the events of all the other Power Ranger timelines. Cases featuring old ranger weapons surround his throne room and red and yellow sentries are stationed and ready for battle. The trailer release showcasing many satisfying Easter eggs heightened the hype and with only three days to the comic release, expectations soared high.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Shattered Grid Finale Issue #1

Those expectations were surely met with the release of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #Shattered Grid #1. To even deign to spoil it by going into detail is sacriligeous, and would in fact be  a disservice because this is one of those books that you’re just going to have to read and experience for yourself. Writer Kyle Higgins and artist Daniele Di Nicuolo have created a masterpiece that is absolutely breathtaking.

Kyle Higgins delivers beyond expectations, transitioning easily with the conclusion of one issue and into a new series, introducing new concepts and characters in an engaging manner, whilst leaving a smooth jumping on point for further storylines to come. His greatest success is tonal, ridding the Rangers of their unintentional camp. The series is clearly for the adults who grew up on such instead of their children or childhood selves. Daniele Di Nicuolo is killer, with amazing panels, especially the fight scenes. No longer are they the horribly staged fighting from the shows, they’re well drawn in different angles with just honestly cool sequences. I can feel my inner black belt just dying inside while flipping the pages. If this is what the first issue is like, then the rest from what I can tell, is gonna be morphinominal.

And here we are now in August, with the final battle and the end to this Power Rangers epic. Spoiling the endgame is completely out of the question, as it is riveting and an actual Experience. While the stakes are high and tense battles take place, there’s a finer focus here than is seen in the early pages of the issue. As for the end, there’s so much to digest, including a Jason moment that in three panels effectively shows why he’s always been one of the most beloved Red Rangers of all time. The team isn’t done yet though, with another panel pulling on those longtime fan heartstrings hard. In fact, those moments make the ones that follow possibly more polarizing, as fans will not have every question answered by the time the credits roll. There is an open-endedness to Shattered Grid, though it does pay off the story and characters that it always promised to.

Since the very first issue, Power Rangers: Shattered Grid has lived up to its hype. Shattered Grid has managed to ignite fans hungry for something different, and that anticipation breeds high expectations. I’m looking forward to what’s next: Beyond Shattered Grid.

 

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Shattered Grid: The Best Power Rangers Anniversary Gift