Written by Stefan Petrucha
Art by Paulo Henrique
The latest Power Ranger series hits the comics, but is it a full-on megazord hit, or does it crash and burn like all those monster explosions?
Power Rangers Super Samurai is the 18th and current running Power Ranger television series. In it, this latest Ranger team fight against the Nighloks, and ancient evil bent on bringing despair to mankind. And this first Power Rangers graphic novel by Papercutz makes sure you know all of that.
The book tries to introduce readers to the story with the old amnesia cliché, letting the characters explain the entire back story to simultaneously jog the amnesiac’s memory and catch up series newbies. It’s tired, but it’s the first volume of a kid’s comic, so I’m not expecting much anyway. It would be more forgivable if the book didn’t already open with eight pages of a basic plot synopses and character biographies, which does the exact same job. Even that’s not as bad as how random and illogically the character gets his memory back.
The monster of the week (or of the issue) is the Oblivitor, a Nighlok with the ability to make people forget anything. Convenient for the aforementioned amnesia cliché. Of course, it attacks as the Rangers enjoy a relaxing evening. The monster is also stuck with a small, useless, and annoying creature that repeats what he says, and that’s it. No story purpose, just a waste of ink and dialog.
The book is also plagued by a couple of sloppy transitions, which could have been helped by another round of script checking before sending it to art.
On top of clichéd and clunky, it’s also just plain boring. The characters are flat and don’t do anything outside of summing up the story and jump around in bright colors (and that latter part is the artist’s work anyway). This book does nothing to help boring franchised titles lose that stereotype.
The art style mixes elements of American superheroes, evident from the muscle-bound design of some of the Rangers, with the wide-eyed look of manga art. It’s fitting, given that Power Rangers itself is an American production adapted from a Japanese property.
It’s also well detailed and cleanly colored, with some nice shadowing and lining. There are some good visuals too. Also, while keeping the crowds of by-standards all shades of the same color may seem lazy, it actually helps keep the Rangers standing out in their very bright and colorful attire. All in all, the art team went through some effort, and it shows
It’s not without slip-ups though. There are six Rangers in this story, together the entire time, but only five during the “incredible morphing” group shot. Next page, the neglected sixth is randomly back and morphed with the others. Apparently he’s relegated to less screen time.
Unfortunately though, despite the decent art, Power Rangers doesn’t work as well as in live action. The main draw is the movement from the costumed martial arts and stunt work with explosions everywhere. It doesn’t translate as well on printed page, especially with a story too weak to compensate.
I’m not the target demographic for this book, which is disappointing because I think the Power Ranger franchise – turning 20 years old next year – is ripe for a nostalgic comeback, and comics are an easy go-to for that. This book is specifically for kids who would like or already like this specific Power Ranger Super Samurai series. If your kid is that kid, then here’s their introduction into comics. But if your kid already likes comics in general, then this won’t get them into Power Rangers. It’s an alright Power Rangers product, but it’s an unimpressive comic. Then again, I’m also not six years old.
Overall (Not an Average) 4/10