Man, does Kyle Higgins know how to craft a scene. This is a much quieter issue than last month’s, largely lacking the hectic energy and beautifully integrated fight scenes that defined issue #2. But, nevertheless, there is some serious power in the setting and execution of these scenes.
From the first moments in the Dark Dimension to Tommy’s ominous dreams, to a meeting over diner food, to the very last moments, this issue is chiefly concerned with the force of emotions and the pace and interconnectedness of scenes. In this, it is exceptionally successful. The visuals are different and intriguing and the script is suitably dramatic, building tension throughout each sequence before depositing the reader into the next. It’s Power Rangers by way of HBO.
But while the flavor is delicious, the substance is merely decent. We get some much needed clarification on Rita’s master plan, but it is more than a little expository and doesn’t fully live up to the mystery of it all. Rita’s plot makes a good deal of sense given what we saw in “Green With Evil” and “The Green Candle”, but it seems a little repetitive and not entirely worthy of the odd fixation that Rita had on Tommy, especially as so creepily realized by Higgins and Prasetya.
The lack of action also hurts this issue. There is a brief fight scene, and a visually distinct one at that, but it’s short and it probably would have been shorter if it hadn’t needed to fill that role. In fact, by the issue’s end, it feels a little bit unnecessary, existing largely to ensure that there is some action.
Though the issue doesn’t deliver enough plot progression, it introduces several character ideas that seem poised to bloom in future issues. Goldar’s introduction raises tempting questions about Rita’s empire and what inspires such loyalty. Zach’s development mirrors Tommy’s, as he finally admits his concerns about the new Ranger. Zach was really the only possible choice for this role. While suspicion isn’t a good color on him, it adds to his character and allows the Rangers to have differing views without petty squabbling. But the best moments are saved for Trini.
Trini was always a character who deserved better, given few spotlights with many of them somewhat wasted. Her quieter personality didn’t necessarily fit with the demands of a half-hour action show, but here she finally gets to shine. Free to consider the future and reflect on the past, Trini proves a fantastic support for Tommy, especially with the other Rangers questioning his loyalty.
Artistically, this issue is one of highs and lows. Starting with the later, the anatomy of this issue is frequently flawed. I don’t know Hendry Prasetya’s work beyond this series, but I have to say that I’m surprised at the number of times a face looks squashed or a head doesn’t attach quite right to its body. Luckily its largely a technical problem and won’t necessarily affect the enjoyment of some readers, but those with an eye for art will notice that something is off more often than it should be. Plus Goldar may look great most of the time, but when you appear on one page, one weird panel makes a difference.
Despite these problems, its easy to see why Prasetya is the artist on this series. There are plenty of nice reaction shots and the redesigned Rangers still feel fresh and interesting. More than that, though, as soon as there’s an element of the futuristic or fantastic, Prasetya is off to the races. Evil Space Aliens, morphed Rangers, and especially Zords all look fantastic.
Prasetya’s depiction of the Dragon Zord is practically an application to draw Godzilla comics, bringing the massive mechanical monster to life with the style and polish of Matt Frank while respecting and utilizing the limitations that its robotic state imposes. Prasetya even gives the titanic lizardbot something of a personality.
The Bulk and Skull backup is hard to review because, as it is quickly becoming apparent, there simply isn’t enough there. Fun as this idea is and cute as its execution is, these are clearly two page chunks of a single story rather than a story told in two page installments.
If you’re able to put that aside, the back up is sturdy. No, there aren’t any side-splitting gags or brilliant concepts in play, but it delivers exactly what you’d expect, Bulk and Skull trying to make their own stories and the chaos that results from it.
This installment’s biggest win is introducing Kimberly and Trini into the mix. It’s especially nice to see them under Corin Howell’s pen. Trini’s Vietnamese heritage could probably be just a little more evident, but Howell’s cartoonish style benefits from the subtle splash of seriousness that the Rangers bring to her lines. Plus she obviously just gets Skull’s mannerisms.
Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers #3 is a troubled issue, but only if you look at it in the context of its extremely successful brothers and sisters. There are actually a lot of great moments here and nearly every scene is strong and gripping in itself, its just that, as an issue, it lacks a single great moment to pull it all together. The art reflects this struggle as well, being hit or miss during dramatic conversations but remaining beautiful in its depiction of Rangers and Zords and striking overall.
Excellent showings from Trini and Goldar and some gorgeous Zord panels help this series immensely, but lack the punch to sell the issue. Not enough happens this month to put it on par with previous issues, but Power Rangers #3 proves that this series’ ‘weak’ issues are still fascinating and rich.