Comic: Godzilla vs. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers II #1

Order

Godzilla vs. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers II #1


English Comic Title

Godzilla vs. Saban's Mighty Morphin Power Rangers II #1

Authors:

Cullen Bunn

Pencils:
Inks:
Colors:
Language:
Release:
Publisher
:
Pages:

Baldemar Rivas
Baldemar Rivas
Andrew Dalhouse
English
2024
IDW Publishing
29

Covers:

Freddie Williams II & Andrew Dalhouse / Alex Sanchez & Matt Herms / Hendry Prasetya & Andrew Dalhouse

Comic

Monsters

Godzilla
Godzilla
Sting King
Sting King
Clawhammer
Clawhammer
Tentacreep
Tentacreep
White Tigerzord
White Tigerzord
Minotaur
Minotaur
Goo Fish
Goo Fish
Spit Flower
Spit Flower
Psycho Ranger Ghidora
Psycho Ranger Ghidora



Review

By: Christian Salabert

Godzilla vs. the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, brought to us by author Cullen Bunn and artist Freddie Williams II, was an absolute blast. It put my two favorite franchises together in a simplistic yet effective crossover story, and while it wasn't perfect, the pros ultimately outweighed the cons. Of course, I'd hoped that we'd get a sequel series one day, but I wasn't holding my breath. I figured the fact that the crossover even happened at all was enough of a miracle, so I didn't expect it to be followed by a second. Lo and behold, imagine my shock when Godzilla vs. the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers II was announced! I couldn't wait to see how things would unfold this time around. Would the MMPR side of things be set during Season 2 or Season 3, thereby allowing the Thunder Zords or the Ninja Zords to appear? Would Godzilla's allies like Rodan, Anguirus, and Mothra get involved this time around? Would everyone finally combine into the Mega Dragon Godzilla Zord?! I couldn't wait to find out! With that, let's not wait any longer and dive right into Godzilla vs. the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers II Issue #1.

We see Tommy Oliver, the White Mighty Morphin Power Ranger, finding himself in a strange new world and engaged in battle with a trio of monsters: Sting King, Clawhammer, and Tentacreep. Along with his trusty sentient saber Saba, Tommy does as best as he can against the three monsters, while also protecting a fragment of the Multiversal Focus from them. Unfortunately, Rita Repulsa, watching the fight from her lunar palace, makes things worse by making the three monsters grow. While outnumbered, Tommy does the only thing he can do and summons the White Tigerzord. The Zord does a decent job at keeping the monsters at bay, when suddenly the water in the nearby harbor begins to churn and Godzilla, the King of the Monsters, rises from the depths. Furious for being awoken from his slumber, Godzilla attacks everyone in sight, easily overwhelming the three monsters. When the Tigerzord fires its White Tiger Thunderbolt, it beam-locks with Godzilla's atomic ray, and the resulting energy backlash triggers another portal from the Multiversal Focus, sucking everyone inside.

Landing in a new world's Angel Grove, Tommy takes note of how similar it is to his own and teleports to the Command Center. There, he meets with Zordon and the Power Rangers of this world... The same Power Rangers that dealt with the Multiversal Focus and formed an uneasy alliance with Godzilla once before. White Ranger Tommy informs them that Rita has been using the Focus to travel throughout the multiverse and depower and capture countless teams of Power Rangers, hellbent on total conquest. He also warns them that Rita is not working alone this time, and indeed, the wicked sorceress has joined forces with Astronema, the Princess of Evil.

Just then, the rest of the travelers from the previous world arrive, as a massive portal drops Godzilla, Sting King, Clawhammer, and Tentacreep off in the middle of Angel Grove. Realizing the massive damage the four of them could inflict on the city, Zordon instructs the Rangers to use the Multiversal Focus fragment to take the fight to a less populated world. With that, the teens morph into action. In Astronema's Dark Fortress, Rita bosses Astronema around a little too much for the princess' liking, and she reminds Rita who is in charge. As if on cue, the dreaded Psycho Rangers appear behind Astronema in order to intimidate Rita. The evil witch doesn't care a bit, however, reminding Astronema that it was thanks to Rita's magic that the Psycho Rangers were able to be upgraded; Rita is joined by golden, draconic Psycho Ranger Ghidora.

...

Wow. Where do I even start?

To put it mildly, this issue is an absolute mess.

Let's begin with the art, since that's what we have to look at for the whole issue. The artwork by Baldemar Rivas is... an eyebrow-raising choice, at best. While I admit I had the occasional problem with Freddie Williams II's art for Godzilla vs. MMPR - some times characters' anatomy could be a little wonky, and I think we all remember my dislike of his accursed "visor eyes" - Williams' art hit the target more often than not. From the titanic kaiju of the Toho world like Godzilla and King Ghidorah, to Rita's clay creations like Eye Guy and Rhinoblaster, Williams' artwork conveyed a sense of mass, and of power. Each creature and Zord felt like a city-smashing giant, which is needed for a story like this. He also gave the Toho universe a very distinct, memorable look, what with its stormy skies and ruined city, bringing to mind the ruined Tokyo from the final act of Godzilla: Final Wars (2004). Rivas has a very distinct style that I'm sure works well for certain types of comics, but for a tokusatsu-heavy book such as "Godzilla meets the Power Rangers," his style does not strike me as the best choice for the job. Rivas has a specific way of conveying motion and movement in his panels, and some times it looks okay, but in others it resembles 1920s "rubber hose" animation, which is far more cartoony than a story like this should look. The faces of human characters are also all over the place. Astronema probably comes across the best overall, and while Rita looks fine for the most part, she occasionally possesses what I can only describe as an "angry chibi anime face" in moments when she's screaming at her partner-in-crime. It's a jarring stylistic choice that might be passable if this were an animated film, but as a comic book adaptation of two non-animated franchises, it just feels out of place. The Ranger teens' faces are okay, if a bit undefined (Zack's face in their introductory panel is probably the best), while Zordon looks like Rivas drew a perfectly good Zordon face and them smeared his hand across it. Probably the worst offender in the entire issue is the poor White Tigerzord in its brief appearance. In Tiger Mode, it's at least passable as it's meant to be speeding and leaping around, but once it converts to Warrior Mode, Rivas draws the Zord as just a series of blank white boxes, with none of the colors or markings the Zord features. Now, to be fair to Rivas, this might also be the fault of returning colorist Andrew Dalhouse, but either way, shame on whoever is responsible for it. And, much to my chagrin, Rivas gives the White Ranger his own 'visor eye!' Ultimately, for one reason or another, the art of Godzilla vs. MMPR II is a noticeable step down from that of its predecessor.

Sadly, the story fares just as badly - And possibly even worse. Cullen Bunn returns to write the story of Godzilla vs. MMPR II and honestly I don't know what happened. While Bunn had a few problems in the previous series (mainly that his story clearly wasn't meaty enough for five whole issues and the series probably should've been cut down to three or four), overall he had a fairly solid crossover story that allowed both sides of the team up to shine. And while I understand that this is only issue #1 and there are still a whole four issues to follow... Things are not off to a promising start. While I praised Godzilla vs. MMPR for getting straight to the point and not wasting any time building up to the crossover, Godzilla vs. MMPR II sadly takes this to the extreme in the opposite direction, dropping us into the middle of a fight with a White Ranger that isn't even the same Tommy Oliver we know from the first story, fighting against three monsters that first time readers or casual fans probably won't even know but that hardcore Power Rangers fans will recognize as not even belonging to Rita. Power Rangers fans will know that Sting King and Clawhammer originated from Power Rangers In Spacewhile Tentacreep worked for Lothor, the main villain of Power Rangers Ninja Storm. Tommy already possesses the Multiversal Focus, or at least a fragment of it, but unless one has already read Godzilla vs. MMPR, the gem isn't really introduced very well (and honestly, it's not introduced very well even if you have already read Godzilla vs. MMPR). Godzilla suddenly shows up and fights everyone and then everyone is teleported to the "main" (?) Power Rangers universe. White Ranger Tommy drops a huge exposition dump on Zordon and the Rangers about an ongoing fight with Rita that has apparently been taking place since the end of Godzilla vs. MMPR and then suddenly the Psycho Rangers (also from Power Rangers In Space) are there too and there's suddenly a King Ghidorah Psycho Ranger and oh my God what is even happening? I'm all for fast plots and surprises and plot twists and cliffhangers and sequel hooks, but this one issue just throws so much stuff at you that it comes off as an incoherent mess with characters you don't know appearing and things happening and there's no resting period between any of it.

Compare this first issue to the first issue of Godzilla vs. MMPR. The plot of the first issue was Tommy tries to stop Rita from stealing the Multiversal Focus, he fails, they end up in the Toho universe, and the Dragonzord fights Godzilla and loses. A very simple start to the story that set everything up and let you know what was happening. The first issue of Godzilla vs. MMPR II feels like Bunn was trying to confuse the readers into thinking there was actually a story instead of just writing one. Godzilla shows up just because with absolutely no build up to his arrival and the beam-lock between Godzilla's atomic ray and the Tigerzord's Thunderbolt just feels like a weak attempt at replicating the stalemate between Godzilla and the Megazord in Godzilla vs. MMPR #2. The presence of Sting King, Clawhammer, and Tentacreep is no doubt meant to be a mystery to PR fans ("Wait, those aren't Rita monsters, what are they doing here?"), but that's a whole other problem I'll be getting to shortly. Psycho Ranger Ghidora (which is how the issue itself spells the name) is just dumped into the story at the very end without any foreshadowing, despite the concept of kaiju-powered Psycho Rangers (the most notable evil Power Rangers in the entire franchise) being a great idea that deserves better than that. Trying to stop the Psycho Rangers from getting kaiju powers could be the main threat of the story. Bunn needed to establish who the Psycho Rangers are before upgrading them. Again, hardcore PR fans know them, but first time readers, casual fans, and Godzilla fans who are buying these comics for the Godzilla half of things and don't know anything about Power Rangers likely won't. Unfortunately, all this emphasis on the Power Rangers side of things, combined with things that the readers "should just know" and the fact that Godzilla just kinda shows up out of nowhere and doesn't really do anything, only helps to make Godzilla feel like an afterthought in his own crossover.

And then there are a few choices that just feel odd. Why is the Power Rangers side of this story so multiverse-heavy, but the Godzilla side isn't? We're getting a Tommy that isn't the same Tommy as before, Astronema comes from a different universe than Rita, Rita is going through the multiverse capturing teams of Rangers... Why are we getting the same Godzilla as before? Why not the Showa incarnation, or Shin Godzilla? Why are we getting a White Ranger Tommy but it's not the same Tommy we saw in Godzilla vs. MMPR? That feels like such a messy, unnecessary step to add to this already crowded plot. Why couldn't Bunn just make it so that time had passed for the team, and by the time Godzilla vs. MMPR II starts, it's Season 2 of MMPR, allowing the story to use the White Ranger, the Thunder Zords, and Lord Zedd by default? And speaking of villains, possibly the biggest misstep in the entire issue (series?)...

Yes, the Xiliens from Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965), led by the sinister Controller of Planet X, are debatably the most iconic of Godzilla's human/alien villains, and it would be hard to top them in a second crossover. However, that doesn't mean that Bunn and IDW shouldn't have tried! There are still quite a few memorable villains from the franchise's seventy year history. There are the Red Bamboo from Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966), the Kilaaks from Destroy All Monsters (1968), the aliens from Star Hunter Nebula M from Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972), the people of Seatopia from Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), the Spacemen from the Third Planet from Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974) and Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975), the Futurians from Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991), and the Millennium era Xiliens from Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) (especially since this story seems to be so multiverse-centric, using the Final Wars Xiliens would work really well). Hell, if Bunn wanted to flex his Toho knowledge and go with an obscure pick, he could've gone with the titular aliens from The Mysterians (1957). Just imagine an army of Rita's monsters teamed up with a fleet of Mogueras! Heck, go crazy and have Rita team up with the Garoga from Zone Fighter (1973)! Imagine the Power Rangers joining forces with the Zone Family. It's perfect! But instead of any of these perfectly acceptable choices, Bunn has Rita team up with... Astronema, the main villain from Power Rangers In Space. Why, oh why, oh WHY are two Power Rangers villains teaming up in this Power Rangers/Godzilla crossover? Even in the context of two Power Rangers villains teaming up, Rita and Astronema isn't that amazing a duo; they both followed Dark Specter, the Grand Monarch of Evil, in Power Rangers In Space and thus have technically already worked together on the show itself. Why not at least have Rita team up with a Power Rangers villain that had some years between the two of them? Why not have Rita team up with scheming rogue prince Vrak (Power Rangers Megaforce), bounty hunter couple Sledge and Poisandra (Power Rangers Dino Charge), or desperate extremist Void Knight (Power Rangers Dino Fury)? To have Rita team up with simply another Power Rangers villain, especially one she's already worked with on the show, only helps to diminish the Godzilla aspect in this Godzilla/Power Rangers crossover.

And sure, it's only Issue #1. Another villain could come along later in the story, and that villain could very well be from the Toho pantheon. However, I feel that isn't very likely to be the case, as the presence of Tentacreep strongly suggests that if any other villain does show up, it's most likely going to be Lothor, yet another Power Rangers villain.

And, the last thing I'm going to say about the writing, is that sometimes the dialogue isn't the greatest (although admittedly this was also an issue in Godzilla vs. MMPR). A good deal of the dialogue between White Ranger Tommy and Saba feels very obviously for the reader's benefit, as it's all stuff both characters would already know and thus not need to discuss at such length. At the Command Center, White Ranger Tommy warns everyone "Rita Repulsa is making her most ambitious move yet. She doesn't want to just conquer the Earth. She wants to conquer all of reality!" and honestly, this sounds more like something you'd read in a solicitation for Godzilla vs. MMPR II and not actual character dialogue. The only thing missing is a "Can even the combined strength of Godzilla and the Power Rangers put an end to Rita's scheme?" at the end. And, lastly, when comic relief duo Bulk and Skull make a brief cameo as White Ranger Tommy lands in the 'main' Angel Grove, Bunn apparently forgot which of them was which - Bulk refers to Skull as "Bulk" and Skull refers to Bulk as "Skull." I realize not everyone is a diehard Power Rangers fan, but if you're going to be writing a Power Rangers-related anything, I do at least ask that you know which characters are which.

Geez, I feel bad for spending almost this whole review badmouthing the comic. Let's see, what are some things I did like?

I guess it's nice seeing Sting King, Clawhammer, and Tentacreep used here. Whenever Power Rangers media utilizes old monsters from the show it's usually the same five or six iconic monsters from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, so it's nice to see some of the lesser known creatures get some love for a change. Even though it's done in a really convoluted way, I appreciate seeing the White Ranger and the White Tigerzord utilized here. I love the Green Ranger and the Dragonzord as much as the next PR fan, but they get used way too often. It's nice to see Saba get some dialogue and not just be "White Ranger's sword." Even though it's just dumped at the very end of the issue with little fanfare, the idea of kaiju-powered Psycho Rangers (presumably with each Psycho possessing the powers of a different kaiju) is honestly a great idea. The design of Psycho Ranger Ghidora is rather nice and thankfully looks like a monster one might actually see in an episode of Super Sentai or Power Rangers, which is something the comic-original monsters created by Boom Studios' various artists frequently struggle with.

The main cover of the issue, done by previous artist Freddie Williams II, is nice, though not entirely accurate. It shows all seven Mighty Morphin Power Rangers caught between Godzilla and Rita Repulsa, but honestly, this is far more exciting an image than anything within the issue itself. The next cover, by Rivas, is okay. It features the six MMPR (White, no Green) leaping down at Godzilla from an even greater height. Godzilla is really nicely detailed and has a cool-looking red lighting going on, but honestly, the cover would be better if the Rangers simply weren't in it. The third cover, by Alex Sanchez and Matt Herms, has a nice action-filled image of the six Rangers (Green, no White) dealing with SpaceGodzilla, attacking the crystalline monster while running up his tail. Hopefully this means SpaceGodzilla will be involved in the story at some point, but after the Miss Namikawa debacle from the previous series, I won't be holding my breath. The last cover, by Hendry Prasetya and Andrew Dalhouse, is okay, featuring a generic image of the original Megazord facing off with a fairly undefined Godzilla, who almost resembles the MonsterVerse incarnation of the character. Honestly, none of the covers for this issue are great, but if I had to choose one, I'd go with the SpaceGodzilla cover by Sanchez and Herms. It's not accurate to this issue (though none of the covers are, for one reason or another), but at least it looks nice and evokes a dynamic action sequence in one's mind.

So, ultimately, what are my thoughts on Godzilla vs. the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers II Issue #1?

Look, I get this is only the first issue, and that there are still four whole issues for the story to bloom and grow and unfold. Maybe the plot just has a bit of a rough start because there are a lot of things for Cullen Bunn to introduce and once that's all done with, things are going to get awesome and no one's going to care about the shaky first issue anymore. But, since all we have to go on right now is this first issue... I'm really concerned right off the bat.

This story feels like Bunn has gotten fully swept up into the "multiverse craze" that's all the rage in Hollywood these days, but with Phases 4 and 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the DC Extended Universe's The Flash (2023), Sony's animated Spider-Verse films, and the award-winning Everything, Everywhere, All at Once (2022) all having dealt with the topic recently (as well as plenty other examples too numerous to list), seeing yet another multiverse plot feels tiresome and overdone. Yes, the first Godzilla vs. the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was technically a multiverse story as well, but only as a means to an end, to explain how the two franchises were able to meet. The Rangers ended up in the Toho universe in Issue #1 and stayed there and didn't leave until the end of Issue #5. In just one issue of Godzilla vs. MMPR II, almost every single character and location and aspect is from a different universe than the other, overwhelming the reader with the concept before the story has even really gotten started. And aside from that, the fact that all seven of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are present (something that never happened in the show itself), that Rita has joined forces with Astronema, that the Psycho Rangers are involved, and that Sting King and Clawhammer are also here, all make this story so far feel like more of a crossover between Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Power Rangers In Space, with Godzilla simply thrown in because I guess technically he also has to be here because his name is in the title.

To sum up, the comic hasn't lost me yet, but it is shockingly close for the first issue of a sequel to a match made in heaven, especially considering its story is by the same person who wrote the original, successful crossover. Hopefully the kinks will be worked out for the following issues and this team up between Godzilla and the MMPR will get back on track.


Variant Covers

Alex Sanchez & Matt Herms Cover
Hendry Prasetya & Andrew Dalhouse Cover