As promised, I went to the comic shop this morning to pick up the new issues of Doomsday Clock, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, and Go Go Power Rangers. I didn’t take too much note of specifics because…why should I? I have plenty of time before the seder starts and I saw no reason why I couldn’t read all three series today. And, because I do everything that way, I decided to start with my “least” favorite of the three. Not to say that it isn’t good, but two of these are much more powerful in my eyes, but that’s probably because of the force of history. That is to say, Watchmen is a classic for good reason and Doomsday Clock draws heavily upon it. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers is up to twenty-five issues, which means there’s a good bit of momentum now. So, Go Go Power Rangers comes in third place with this group.
I made the right choice of where to start though. Issue 8 of Go Go Power Rangers is also a Shattered Grid prelude! It resolves the Homecoming dance fiasco, although not in a completely satisfying manner. Sure, the monster is defeated and the rangers have shown some ingenuity and Billy has made the decision he’s been considering for the past few issues, but I don’t think we’re done with Matt. The poor kid is mentally scarred, but right now he’s just huddled in a corner in a fetal position.
No, the most interesting part comes on the last two pages where we clearly see a pink ranger and Finster from Drakkon’s universe, implying that even though this is the flashback series, Go Go Power Rangers is going to link in more directly to Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers than I had realized, what with this event. Aside from the probable headache this will cause with the timestream, I am interested to see how they pull this off. I just really hope that the whole timeline issue doesn’t overrule my enjoyment.
Moving on, the obvious choice was Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and the real start of Shattered Grid. After the obviously emotional and somewhat questionable decisions made in issue 24, issue 25 starts off in space. With my second-favorite season, Time Force. Yes, I totally squealed when I realized that not only where these Time Force power rangers, these were the same rangers from the TV show. There are definitely some questions here, but who cares? I can trust the team to give me as much explanation as I need. Probably next issue when Kim gets enough breath back to actually ask.
As the first issue of the event, this is really about setup. We’re establishing that yes, the other power ranger teams we know and love exist. That Time Force is, unsurpisingly, able to keep tabs on them. And that the universe as we know it is about to face a dire threat that will see teamups like we’ve always wanted. (Please to imagine me pausing as I type this to randomly flail in my happiness.) Even the new end-comic is tying into the event. As you may recall, the first twelve issues of MMPR had a cute little two-page minicomic about Bulk and Skull. The next twelve issues featured Squatt and Baboo and hasn’t been nearly as entertaining, hence why I haven’t mentioned it in months. But, this being issue 25, we have a new comic featuring Centurion and Ninjor, though the latter hasn’t been seen in it yet.
Instead, Ninjor was in the issue proper and if that doesn’t make a fan’s toes curl in excitment, I’m not sure what you’re waiting for. But, if you wait long enough, you just might see it.
I’m putting together some theories based on today’s new issues, but I can clearly see how this is the comic book completely diverging from history as we know it on the TV show. It’s not just because it’s updated to the present anymore, but because they are deliberately changing things while keeping the basic elements the same. Just because we’ve seen the series doesn’t mean we can predict everything that happens. I’m sure there will be consistency between them, but breaking away so thoroughly is a great plan.
As you can tell, I am very excited now that I’ve read the first issue of Shattered Grid. I honestly didn’t realize that Power Rangers as a franchise is now 25 years old – but when I think back and do the math, yeah, yeah it is. What a terrifying thought. But that age is seeing a big event to celebrate here in the comics created by people who were just as into it when it first premiered, and that’s awesome.
I should also mention that the art style has shifted in this issue. Based on what I noticed when I was inputting my comics into a database, this could be a temporary phenomenon restricted to this issue, or to just a few. Well, I hope it’s temporary. The sudden shift is annoying and it changes how a lot of the characters are drawn between issues 24 and 25. It’s not quite as annoying as when Sandman’s art style shifted in the arc with the Furies, but it’s different enough to be noticeable. Jason now looks like Matt from Go Go Power Rangers, Grace lost a lot of detail, Tommy looks like a girl, Trini is way more stereotypically Asian now, and Billy looks a lot more like a dweeb than he did. Kim is about the same, go figure.
My biggest issue with the art style is that it is a noticeable change which breaks the flow for me. However, if I stick to my current trend of only rereading one older comic before the new one, it shouldn’t be as jarring next time…unless if I decide to reread from the prelude of Shattered Grid onward.
One thing I do appreciate is the inside back cover, which is a full page ad for Shattered Grid, complete with a list of all the comics coming out each month that feature or tie-in to it. Since there’s only the two series, it’s not a lot, but it does include the 2018 MMPR annual and a Free Comic Book Day special. Now, based on what I’ve seen for FCBD in the past, it’s likely that whatever “special” it is will turn out to be an excerpt from one of the real issues, meant to draw in new readers who only hit up comic shops on that first Saturday in May. But I’ll pick one up for myself just in case. If it’s extraneous I may recycle it, but if it’s not, well, obviously I’ll keep it.
Another thing to mention is the inside front cover motif. From the start I’ve pointed out that it’s the diamond design from the rangers’ suits and the color has been that of the dominant ranger in the story arc – starting with green, then changing to red. But now it’s a purplish black and the lower portion is fractured. Or shattered, if you will. I take this to mean that it’s meant to represent all rangers and how this event represents the potential to destroy them all.
Now, I think we all know that there will be some sort of happy ending. I mean, isn’t that what we expect from superhero comics? That the good guys win, the bad guys lose, and the world is saved? True, it’s not always the best of all possible endings. People die, people change, people are damaged by what they experience. But overall, the sun dawns on a new day and the majority of important characters survive.
That doesn’t mean it won’t be utterly thrilling to see how the writers take us there. I am pumped and I can’t wait until the release of the 2018 annual on April 25th (thank you back of the comic book for being all about Shattered Grid this month). I am hoping that, this time, instead of a collection of stories about the original rangers we have a collection of stories featuring rangers from the many other teams out there. There’s no way of knowing until then, so I’ll just have to be patient and wait and see.
(And yes, I’m aware I have the internet at my disposal and could google things and probably learn a lot but I feel like that takes a lot of the fun out of it. I love opening up my comic book each month and experiencing it for the first time with no spoilers or any kind of hints as to what will happen aside from those guesses I’ve formulated on my own based on my minimal exposure. Finding the Shattered Grid trailer on youtube was something of a fluke – youtube does know my likes and thought I’d be interested in it. And you know what? It was right. Still doesn’t mean I’m going to spend my time trying to figure out something a short wait will tell me when there’s plenty of other things I can be doing instead. Answers will come when they come and at least I won’t have to wait twelve years to find out what happens next.)
So, in short (hah, not really), I’m enjoying what I’ve read of Shattered Grid thus far and am excited to see more in the coming months.
Moving on, there was also Doomsday Clock to read. And I am the idiot who only just realized that the “design” on the inside front and back covers is spelling out “DOOMSDAY CLOCK” in the same font as on the outside front cover, but as tall as the page. Don’t get me wrong, I love design realizations like this, I just feel dumb for not seeing it sooner. I do have to give DC credit for the design and branding on this series. It’s incredibly cohesive, has absolutely no advertising to take away from the visual unity, and is nicely understated and classic. The cover is a thicker stock than usual for comics and gives it a nice solidity and weight.
Issue 4 dives into the backstory of the new Rorshach and it is nicely engrossing. It seems this is not the man’s first time being locked away, but the first time he had a friend, telling us exactly where he was then. Maine, not New York City. Why Maine? Because that’s where Byron Lewis, Mothman, is locked up. Back in Watchmen we didn’t get a lot of backstory on the Minutemen who didn’t directly affect the current story, and Mothman was one of those who got so shafted.
Not only does he shine here, but we see that he’s a genuinely nice man who cares so much and just happens to think he can fly. However, I’m starting to think that the insanity that ended Watchmen and killed three million people may have done a bit more than that, judging on what I’ve see in issues 3 and 4 of Doomsday Clock. I mean, I have no proof that it’s the cause, but it seems a reasonable theory at the moment.
Also, Batman’s a dick. But that’s a standard part of his character so I guess I can overlook and forgive it.
At this point, Doomsday Clock is a third of the way through its run. We know that Veidt is dying and is trying to save the world of Watchmen as his last act of…heroism? Narcissim? I’m not really sure. His plan is to bring back Dr. Manhattan from wherever the man went. However, as Marionette points out, he doesn’t really have any idea what he’s doing now that they’re in this other universe. And he’s in the hospital right now anyway, and sat out this whole new issue.
We’ve found out about the new Rorshach at last, so to my mind the next issue should focus more heavily on the main DC side of things. Marionette and the Mime are on their way to meet the Joker…which should have some entertaining consequences. Batman seems to be second-guessing himself, which makes me think he might call in some backup. Might.
While this is the series that predicated when I went to the comic shop, I’m just not as excited about Doomsday Clock as I am about Shattered grid at this moment. Part of it might be the fact that I’ve been a fan of Watchmen for only a decade or so, compared to the two and a half decades Power Rangers has been around. Part of it might be that this month’s issue of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers is stronger than its Doomsday Clock counterpart. Part of it might be that Doomsday Clock is officially on a bimonthly schedule now, whereas the Power Rangers comics are released monthly. I’m not going to analzye that to death though. Point is, all of the new comic books I’ve read today are good, but the last wasn’t actually the best for me in this case. Oh well. Not every issue hits it out of the park, and this one had some stiff competition.
Tonight also saw the beginning of Passover at long last and my first time leading a seder. My dad was definitely amused and intrigued when he saw The (unofficial) Hogwarts Haggadah and we proceeded from there. I think that cutting out as much as I did worked out the way we wanted, as it did end up being a mini-seder, even with all the core bits left in. Also because I read somewhat faster than certain participants do…whatever.
It was definitely a good call on my part to only use Hebrew for those parts I had memorized because, with no transliteration, I would have been sounding things out forever. Able to read is not the same as able to comprehend and my Hebrew is not great for conversation or perusing. Overall, I think my parents enjoyed it as something a little different.
I do have even more critique about the actual physical book though. There were even more typos and grammatical errors than I had remembered and the page numbers aren’t easy to read – a problem when you’re skipping two to fourteen pages at a time and need to tell your father (who’s following along in the second copy) what page you’re on now.
So, good concept, decent essays and readings, but the physical presentation needs work. Self-publishing is nice but there’s a point where you need to have a professional take a look. I’ll keep the Hogwarts Haggadah, but I don’t know that I’ll ever use it again.
Today’s been pretty good, all things considered. Again, I’m not sure how much more reading I’ll get through this weekend, considering my plans, but only time can tell what will happen.