Annuals are always a tricky thing in comics. They are twice the size and double the price of the standard monthly issues. So is this one worth adding to your collection?
Yearly annuals in comics is nothing new and they’ve been the standard for as long as I can remember. They always seem to walk a fine line though. At twice the normal cover price (and twice as many pages) they have to be able to entice the comic reader who isn’t all-in with the specific title, yet also provide something special to the readers who have been following the title all year. That means the stories in the annuals rarely have anything to do with the main story line in the current book and are often one big side story or a bunch of small collected stories. So it didn’t come as a shock when Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Annual issue 1 featured the later over the former.
This annual gives us 6 stories over it’s 48 pages varying in length. Each short story has a different writer and artist ranging from funny side stories to a really cool short story of a character’s history. None of the stories have any direct connection to the current story line so no need to worry about spoilers for first time readers of the franchise. Each story is well contained and very fun to read with art that matches the storytelling style of each writer.
A Week In The Life… and Only The Strong are my two favorite stories written by Kyle Higgins and Trey Moore respectively. The first story gives a peek into just what it’s like to spend a week in a rangers’ shoes as they deal with school and Rita Repulsa. Only The Strong tells a wonderful back story of a character we have never previously gotten any backstory to. I don’t want to spoil who the character is, but to me it is the standout story of the book and probably the story that has the most ties to the current on going issues.
A Spot Of Trouble and What Makes A Ranger are written by Marguerite Bennett and Jorge Corona respectively and both tell short stories about the heroics of the Power Rangers. Both stories are similar in theme as they highlight it isn’t fighting where a Power Rangers’ true strength is. Both of these stories you can imagine taking place “the day after” or “later that afternoon” in the Rangers lives.
Unlockly Heroes and It’s Putty Time written by Ross Thibodeaux and James Kochalka respectively are what you might consider the “throw away” silly stories. And while each story is on the goofy side, they are still a fun read. Unlockly Heroes gives us some good wacky shenanigans of our favorite bumblers Bulk and Skull, while Putty Time is all about a…you guessed it…Putty. The original TV show had it’s fair share of goofy moments and these stories are good callbacks to that.
So did MMPR’s first annual succeed in what it set out to do and is it worth the price of admission? In my humble opinion yes. While not tying directly into the main plot of the on going series, what we do get are 6 stories that give us a glimpses of what it’s like to be a Ranger, a couple of smaller battles that we wouldn’t normally see, a couple of goofy fun side stories, and a story of a character that I was in no way expecting. Even though it has no impact on the main story, I would not overlook this book and add it to your collection.
Special thanks to Boom! Studios for providing the review sample.