Every generation of kids has a show they can latch on to, a Show that defines that generation, a show that acts as the common ground between other members of their generation. The 90’s had Power Rangers, Reboot, Batman, Superman, and the Marvel cartoons.  Today I am addressing the show that influenced me the most as a kid: The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. To be fair the seasons that really influenced me were Zeo and Turbo, but Mighty Morphin’ was there for the earliest parts of my child hood and I am truly nostalgic for it. That’s what lead me to buy today’s comic and to put as the first part of The Field Guide to the Comic Book Bargain Bin. Today’s comic is Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers #1.

Now while doing the research about this comic I came across a few things. First there has been multiple Power Ranger comic series. A few of the series were actually published by a small company called Hamiliton comics. Not much information is available about the company, but it seemed to have focused on licensed characters. The first series from Hamilton was simply titled Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers vol.1 and it ran for 6 issues. From what I can tell the series covers the second season of the show and this series is where today’s comic comes from, actually. The second series released by Hamilton was MMPR vol. 2. This series only ran for 3 issues and I have no clue what season it covers. You would assume it would cover season 3, since it is the second volume but the release dates I find online shows it’s more along the lines of season 2. Not really sure why it had 2 volumes for the same season, but my money is on low sells. Hamilton also released what I believe to be a mini-series called Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Saga. That only ran for three issues.  Marvel would acquire the license and run two series congruent of each other. Guess there was too much story for one series. Eventually Image would get the license and only release one issue of Zeo before it was canceled. Typical Image.

So if the sales mean anything, Power Rangers and comics didn’t really go well together. You’d think that kids would buy this stuff up. I mean it’s the 90’s and it’s the Power Rangers. This should have been a license to print money.  Or least that’s what I thought. My mind quickly changed when I took the comic home and read it. It’s hard to believe that they could screw up something as simple as a Power Rangers comic, but they managed to do that with this abomination.

Where to start? Well I guess I should give a synopsis of the plot. Billy enters a science fair and his experiment gets turned evil by Lord Zedd. His experiment was a caterpillar. What that has to do with the scientific method is beyond me, but hey who cares. Well the giant Caterpillar (no not a monster, just a giant caterpillar) beats the Rangers without much trouble. A couple of the Rangers are forced to randomly go to this spider’s lair to get the McGuffin juice to save their friends from the Caterpillar’s evil cocoons. They get the McGuffin juice, save their friends and save the day from the giant caterpillar turned moth all in time to get back to the science fair.  It’s not that much really, but I don’t expect that from Power Rangers. Really the plot is your basic Power Rangers plot. Monster of the week shows up, Rangers fight it for a bit, Monster grows, Rangers summon zords and kick some major tail, and all within the same afternoon. Nothing is wrong with that. It is fundamentally the Power Rangers. The writing itself is laughable, but nothing worse than what you would find on the tv show. I can’t really state anything of note with the writing other than that the writer managed to screw some things up when compared to the show, but more on that later. First, I need to discuss the reason this comic is horrible: The art.

The art is easily some of the worst I’ve seen in a comic book to date. The characters look NOTHING like the actors.  I am not asking for realism, but there is no excuse for that. I mean just look at this page.

All the characters look like 50 year olds in this comic, not teenagers with attitude. Oh and Jason’s face in the fourth panel is hilarious by the way. He has this dumb look like he is finding what Bulk is saying is the funniest thing ever, or the sexiest. Not sure.

We also have Zordon looking like a weird mix between a puddle and a smiley face one moment and this weird shadow laden figure the next. It’s almost like the artist didn’t know how to add depth to the Zordon’s face and suddenly towards the end of the comic he figured it out, sort of. I would rather went with  Puddle face instead of shadowy Zordon.

Somehow the art actually manages to get worse as the issue progresses. Part of me thinks that it only does that because the artist probably doesn’t give a flying flip and is just doing it for the money. Honestly I don’t blame him. I have a feeling that Hamilton comics probably didn’t pay the poor sap enough to make it worth the effort.

It may come as no surprise but not one member of the creative staff is listed in the comic. It’s like no writer or artist wanted their name associated with this mess of a comic. That’s pretty insane. Imagine telling a major publisher you’ve had work published before but you can’t prove it. Actually you know what, it’s probably better that they didn’t have their names on this project. If they did I can guarantee they wouldn’t get work from any publisher.

Now a lot of the complaints I have about the comic comes from me being a fan of the original series. Stuff like Zedd’s use of the telescope, the comic relief Babboo and Squat actually doing something, Zedd throwing his staff to make the monster grow, and Zedd actually saying he has a headache after being defeated tells me the writers either didn’t watch the show or they did this comic before Zedd made his debut so they had him do all the things Rita would’ve done. I also love how they actually manage to write off the green ranger in the comic. The original reason why they kept writing the Green Ranger off in the original series was they had little Sentai footage of the character and were forced to limit using him, but this is a comic they aren’t limited by original manga art work (though that would be funny). They can draw the guy if they wanted to do so. This raises a bigger question of why wouldn’t they add the character to the comic anyway? The Green Ranger is the single most popular character from the show and pushed a lot of merchandise. They should have him on every cover of this comic, but they don’t. The only time the Green Ranger is in the comic seems to be in a Power Rangers Saga comic. The failure to add him to the comic really damns this book in my opinion as a Green Ranger fan. I wanted to read about the Green Ranger when I picked up this comic and they failed to deliver.

Now this book does have some odd little quirks in it that could redeem or damn it depending on your perspective. The first quirk is the morphing sequence. It’s just odd. It’s a little silly. You know what, just look at it.

It’s cheesy and I am not entirely sure if it’s horrible or so bad it’s good. The other quirk is that they actually try to include the Theme song in the comic. They add sound effect captions to the battle scene that has the lyrics to the theme song. I can’t help but to laugh every single time I see it. It’s hilarious.

Now I do have to ask, why didn’t bulk and skull get their own sound effect caption that emulated their theme? That would have made this comic awesome, but they didn’t. I guess it’s hard to describe their bizarre theme music in words.

In summary, this comic sucked. It was horrible from beginning to end and nothing redeemable about it outside of some unintentionally funny. I wasn’t expecting much. Actually I was expecting something so cheesy, it’s good but what I found was something that was just…bad. It lacked the charm of the show and failed to capture any of the action the show. I expected fan service, but instead all I got was fan disservice. Avoid this comic like the plague.

So what to put down in the field guide. How about this:

Lesson #1 of Bin Diving: Beware of All Nostalgia TV Comics.
Sure you might find a gem with some of the Transformers or TMNT comics, but almost all of these nostalgic tv based comics aren’t worth your time. If you want to relive the nostalgic show instead of getting the comic based on it look the show up online or get a DVD of it. It will certainly be more worthwhile compared to the comics.

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