What a time to be a Power Rangers fan. A certain number of years ago, the thought of more seasons of the show would have seemed farfetched, let alone the release of a feature-length film, a live streaming show, an addictive mobile game, and a successful line of ongoing comics to add on top of that. There’s a lot to be thankful for in 2018, and the hits, it seems, just keep on coming. Now, as we rev up for the launch of the Power Rangers: Shattered Grid comic event, the main writer of the BOOM! Studios publication brings to us this live-action teaser short, starring none other than original Green Ranger Jason David Frank from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (and, like, fifty other seasons) as the villainous Lord Drakkon.
Kyle Higgins has been putting in work these past couple years with BOOM!’s stellar comic series, breathing new life into classic icons that, especially due to the heavy play on nostalgia fans have been hit with from recent television offerings, may have started to feel a little stale. With breathless enthusiasm for fun, exciting stories with great characterization and a story that keeps readers wanting more, it quickly became the key thing to stay locked into with the name “Power Rangers” on it.
You’d think that would be the TV series. Sadly, though every season has their fans, it’s fair to say the excitement isn’t there like it used to be. And it’s not because people just can’t get enough of that Dino action (though sometimes it feels like that’s all anyone in charge would consider). It’s something more fundamental than that. It’s about creativity. Attention to the details that matter (and even a few that don’t). Treating the audience with respect and delivering something meaningful as well as entertaining, with great characters that grow and evolve along with those of us who delight in keeping up with them.
That’s where Shattered Grid comes in. With a strong feel for character, as well as the larger-than-life, fantastical whimsy that we do so enjoy as Ranger fans, it just has it. That special something a good portion of this community wants more of.
As this acts as a prelude to the event story we’ve slowly built toward in the pages of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Go Go Power Rangers, it was only natural that Kyle Higgins himself be a guiding force for the short. He wrote and directed the piece, with the blessing of the keymasters at Saban Brands, and the surprising assistance of fan-favorite Ron Wasserman, whose dynamic music serenaded many a Ranger adventure in years past.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d say this was an audition for a larger gig for Higgins. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part. Because, while it’s starkly understood that the comic and the series currently airing on kids TV station Nickelodeon are two different beasts that would require a different arsenal for each to be tamed, I can’t help but feel like this serves as a strong proof-of-concept for a live-action Power Rangers product in the future. One that sheds some of the unfortunate trappings of recent seasons, which bear less and less resemblance to the show many fans fell in love with and the youngest of its viewers seem less engaged with as time sweeps by. And, when you’re not sating the hunger of either side of the banquet table, it seems prudent to have a second look at the menu.
To be clear, we’re not suggesting Shattered Grid become its own full-blown TV series. It would seem like a logistical nightmare on top of the budget, which it’s doubtful anyone would fork over to create. But it does suggest that a different approach could be taken to the live-action property, stylistically. Something that emphasizes character development, atmosphere, and attention to finer details, riding the line of acknowledging and respecting the past without reveling in it so much that it alienates the newcomers who are the bread and butter of the greater franchise. Something to get excited about again. Because, after two years of fart jokes and seemingly intentional thoughtlessness, I know I’m not alone in thinking a change is richly deserved.
Let’s create again. If not with the likes of comic creators Kyle Higgins and Ryan Parrott, explorers of human experience mixed with the magic of superheroics and a flare for clever winking humor, then someone else with a fresh perspective, and not only the willingness but the determination to do what has not already been done, and then some. Something that is at last worthy of opening that mothball crate and pulling out the word “morphenomenal” again.
In the meantime, the Christmas Miracle that is Shattered Grid will have to suffice, summoning a smorgasbord of nostalgia and fun from across the far-reaching Power Rangers multiverse to the party when the heroes of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers meet the fruits of their pioneering legacy.
Power Rangers: Shattered Grid begins March 28, 2018.
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