Comic: Godzilla vs. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1


Godzilla vs. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1

English Comic Title

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


Cullen Bunn


Freddie Williams II
Freddie Williams II
Andrew Dalhouse
IDW Publishing


Freddie Williams II & Andrew Dalhouse / E.J. Su / Alex Sanchez & Matt Herms





By: Christian Salabert

When IDW and Boom! Studios first announced Godzilla vs. the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, I was in complete and utter shock. The radioactive King of the Monsters and the spandex-clad Teenagers With Attitude together in one comic? The idea of Godzilla crossing over with other franchises hasn't happened in the world of English comics since the 1990's with Godzilla vs. Hero Zero and the debatable Godzilla vs. Barkely, although neither had the marquee value of when he did battle with Marvel's Avengers way back in the 1970's. Numerous other attempts since - such as including Godzilla in IDW's own zombie invasion extravaganza  Infestation, which included the likes of the Transformers, the Ghostbusters,  Star Trek, and G.I. Joe - had been turned down by Toho. So imagine my surprise when Godzilla's first English comic book crossover in recent years was announced and it was with none other than everyone's favorite dinosaur-themed tokusatsu superheroes, Saban's Disney's Saban's (again) Hasbro's Power Rangers! Unlike Godzilla, this would be the Rangers' third recent crossover, having also teamed up with DC's Justice League and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles over the course of their series from Boom! Studios.

Beyond being a fun concept and Godzilla's first comic crossover in ages, this series was literally my childhood in comic book form. Godzilla was my first real fandom (well, no, okay, that's not true, my first real fandom was Disney's Darkwing Duck, which is actually how I got into Godzilla in a roundabout way, but that's another story), and it was because of Godzilla that I later got into Power Rangers. I hadn't heard of the show before, but I was channel surfing one day and stumbled across a fight scene between the mighty Megazord and the Rangers' nemesis Goldar. Naturally, my young self saw the rubber suit rumble taking place before my very eyes and thought "Hey, this looks like a Godzilla movie!" Like with Godzilla and his Toho brethren, I've been hooked on Power Rangers ever since, so suffice it to say, I was extremely excited to see this team up come to fruition.

And how did it turn out? Was my inner child (and my outer adult) horribly disappointed? Let's take a look. Keep in mind, there will be spoilers throughout this review from here on out, so if that's something you want to avoid, turn back now.

Our story begins as the evil space witch Rita Repulsa invades an ancient temple in an undisclosed location on Earth. Along with her minions Goldar, Scorpina, and Finster, Rita closes in on an eons-old gem known as the Multiversal Focus, which she plans on using to travel to another reality within the multiverse, one where the Power Rangers never existed. Unfortunately, they discover too late that Tommy, the Green Ranger, has followed them there, acting as reconnaissance for the Rangers' mentor, Zordon. Despite warnings from Zordon to fall back as they don't know what the Multiversal Focus is capable of, Tommy leaps into action once he sees Rita using her magic to activate the gem. With the Focus now contained within Rita's magic wand, a portal opens up that sucks Rita, her goons, and Tommy inside, depositing them in the Rangers' home town of Angel Grove... but not the same Angel Grove they once knew. They barely have their bearings before they find themselves caught in the middle of a fight between two titanic creatures: Godzilla and Megalon!

As her minions react in horror at the two monstrous beasts, as well as questioning the whereabouts of the Green Ranger, Rita realizes they're not the only aliens interested in conquering this world. Noticing an Xilien flying saucer hovering near the battle, Rita teleports herself and her crew into the ship. They are met by Xilien guards who demand their surrender, only to be quickly dispatched by Goldar and Scorpina. Rita demands to speak with their leader, and as Godzilla slays Megalon down below, the witch is met by the Controller of Planet X. Rita declares her intention of rewarding Godzilla's victory by adding him to her army of monsters, only for the Controller to inform her that the creature is far more powerful than she assumes, as he has been thwarting the Xiliens' attempts at invasion for some time. Rita realizes that, although the Power Rangers don't exist in this world, Godzilla may prove to be just as troublesome a protector. She asks what the Xiliens want with the Earth and the Controller tells her they want the planet's natural resources. Realizing that the Xiliens want the Earth's resources and she wants the Earth itself, Rita suggests an alliance...

Meanwhile, down in the destroyed remains of the alternate Angel Grove, Tommy - still morphed - starts to come to. Spotting Godzilla, he mistakes the monster for one of Rita's creations and quickly summons the Dragonzord. As the aliens react to the mech's appearance, Rita tries to assume command of Godzilla's mind in order to tear the Dragonzord apart, but the King of the Monsters easily resists her attempt. Nonetheless, he attacks of his own accord and the two do battle, trading blows until Godzilla finally puts the Zord down with a powerful blast of his atomic breath. Just as the Dragonzord seems doomed, the other Power Rangers arrive, having been sent through the reality stream by Zordon. Seeing the sheer strength displayed by Godzilla, Jason, the Red Ranger, declares that it's time to summon the Dino Zords.

So, was my inner child satisfied? Oh, yeah.

The action starts right out of the gate, but not in a way that feels too abrupt or confusing. Reasonably so, the comic assumes you have at least some familiarity with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, though it still takes the time to clearly introduce and identify everyone for anyone new to the franchise. Thankfully, the comic doesn't waste any time in getting to the main plot; there aren't any needless scenes in the Power Rangers universe involving the Rangers' teenage identities dealing with the hi-jinks of comic relief bullies Bulk and Skull, nor are there any scenes in the Toho universe concerning G-Force or some OC scientists analyzing "an anomaly in the space-time continuum" or anything. The story is fully aware of what it is and does what it needs to to get the reader where they need to be, which is very refreshing. Too often in crossovers and team ups, in comic books or otherwise, the set up takes way too long and prolongs the action far more than is necessary.

Interestingly, Rita and her minions come off more as the main characters in this story than the Rangers do, at least in this particular issue. It is Rita we follow for most of the story and her encounter and alliance with the Controller of Planet X that drives the story in between its fight scenes. Tommy is the most present Ranger in this issue, though he only really serves to help provide exposition at the start, as well as initiate the battle between Godzilla and the Dragonzord, though we'll get more into that later.  The presence of the Xiliens, here in their Showa incarnation, is a welcome addition, as it gives Rita (and presumably the Rangers, later on) someone to interact with without distracting from the crossover action.  Seeing Rita Repulsa and the Controller of Planet X interact with each other is a surprising treat and it's interesting to watch them discuss their methods of utilizing monsters in their respective invasions (summoning preexisting kaiju versus crafting monsters out of clay). Oddly, Rita's dimwitted duo Squatt and Baboo are missing entirely in this issue (and presumably the rest of the story), despite Finster being present. Squatt and Baboo accompanying Rita, Goldar, and Scorpina to the temple where the Multiversal Focus was being kept would make far more sense, as they were always the ones to accompany Goldar and monsters on missions, whereas Finster was more of the "stay at home in his laboratory" type. Presumably (and understandably so), writer Cullen Bunn didn't want to have to juggle too many characters at once, and perhaps he prioritized Finster due to story reasons. The preview for the next issue features Miss Namikawa (or at least a random Xilien woman), so it'll be interesting to see how she plays into things.

But now, to discuss the main event. The reason we're all here. The grand battle we've all been waiting to see since 1993 (or 1992, if you count Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger): The long-awaited showdown between the King of the Monsters and the Green Ranger's Dragonzord! It's happened so many times in fan art and fan videos over the decades, it's surreal to actually see Godzilla and the Dragonzord finally face off in an official capacity. The fight doesn't last long, but it's exciting to see happen. Sadly, the Dragonzord doesn't fare too well, although despite what some fans may say, this is fairly in character for the mech, who would often receive a beating from Rita's monsters and need to be bailed out by the Megazord in the show. Although, despite that, there are a few minor signs that could possibly hint at the comic portraying Godzilla as slightly overpowered - Megalon apparently inflicts no notable injury to Godzilla and is seemingly obliterated by his atomic ray, as well as Godzilla resisting Rita's attempt at a mind control spell (despite multiple films and video games showing that Godzilla is indeed very much susceptible to mind control). Godzilla may be the King of the Monsters, but it's no fun if he just walks through all opposition without even a hint of struggle. Hopefully I'm just overthinking things and this won't actually turn out to be a problem.

The artwork by Freddie Williams II is rather striking. At first it struck me as a bit odd and not quite right for the crossover, but after multiple readings I've really come to appreciate and enjoy its detailed, gritty style. Admittedly, there are a few wonky art decisions - the Rangers and Scorpina are a bit too "superhero muscle-y;" Rita is drawn a bit more shapely than is necessary in some panels considering she's an old witch; and Megalon, while still recognizable, almost looks more demonic than insect-like (especially with his mandibles being replaced by sharp, spindly teeth). That having been said though, the characters are all easily recognizable and in particular Godzilla, the Dragonzord, Goldar, and the Xiliens all look rather good in Williams' style. The coloring by Andrew Dalhouse works rather well, too. Though normally the apocalyptic bluish-gray that the Toho world is colored with would be lackluster and not the greatest to look at, here it helps the colorful characters from the Power Rangers universe really pop and stand out on the page.

There are four covers for this comic. The main cover, by Williams and Dalhouse, is a good one that features Godzilla, nuclear energy crackling from his dorsal fins, looming over the Rangers as the Dragonzord advances in the background. I guess this could technically be considered a spoiler as the five Rangers don't arrive in the Toho world until the very end? Oh, well. The second cover, by E.J. Su features the Green Ranger, Goldar, and Rita in the foreground, with the Dragonzord and Godzilla roaring at each other in the background. The art is very nice, with all the characters appearing much more screen accurate than in Williams' art, but it feels weighted a little too heavily on the side of the Power Rangers half of the crossover, with Godzilla only taking up a small portion of the cover. The third cover, again by Williams and Dalhouse, features the Rangers in the Command Center, watching Godzilla on a view screen along with Zordon and Alpha 5 (with Billy and Alpha, oddly, humorously, tilting their heads upright to look at the screen that is behind them). The fourth and final cover, by Alex Sanchez and Matt Herms, from what I can tell, is an exclusive cover that features Godzilla and the Dragonzord in the heat of battle. The art is good, though a little busy, but it looks like the Dragonzord's metal hull is being torn apart by a light graze from Godzilla's claws, which is a bit much, even with the potentially overpowered nature Godzilla displays in the issue. If I had to pick a favorite out of these, it'd be the default cover by Williams and Dalhouse. It's simple, but a good "what you see is what you get" type cover that represents the concept fairly well. The other three covers are good, but ultimately aren't very indicative of the issue's contents in one way or another.

To sum up, the first issue of Godzilla vs. the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers does a great job at setting up the story, getting to the action, and faithfully representing both franchises involved in this team up. If the rest of the issues can keep up this pace and level of quality, we'll have a classic comic book crossover on our hands.

Variant Covers

E.J. Su Cover
Freddie Williams II & Andrew Dalhouse Cover (No Text)
Alex Sanchez & Matt Herms Cover (No Text)