Mighty Morphin Power Rangers trade

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, a show that used action footage from a Japanese superhero series and combined it with original American (currently New Zealand) actors to create an original live-action superhero show, became a surprise hit. Small publisher Hamilton Comics produced three comic miniseries based on the TV show, including adapting key episodes at a time when full-series home video release was still oddly rare. (It’s only recently that the Power Ranger franchise has had full season home video releases.)

Hamilton Comics was part of the Bruce Hamilton publishing company, who did own Gladstone, famous for reprinting the old Disney comics, but their rather dull website hasn’t updated since 2012, around the time Hamilton himself passed away. The trade above contains the first six issues, the first of the three miniseries. I’ll link to my reviews of the original issues during the review. I had picked this up for my cousin’s son, because he was a big Power Rangers fan…emphasis on “was” because apparently he outgrew it and there were no other Ranger fans I knew to give it to. Since I own the individual issues already I don’t need this so I’ll be putting it on the Clutter For Sale page. But first, the review.

Don’t expect a lot out of this collection. Most of the value will probably come from this being an out of print collection of the first six ever Power Rangers comic books. It’s the same kind of paper and cover as an average comic book, only with a lot more pages of reprinted stories. Most of this series had full-length stories, although near the end and most of the second series featured a short back-up story. So in this format it feels like there are more stories. The only addition to the trade is a section explaining why things were often out of character, like Lord Zedd acting like Rita Repulsa or Finster being his monster maker. The writers were following the show along with the fans, so when changes happened on the show stories featuring the earlier version were already in print or written and in the process of being drawn. That caused some confusion.

Marvel would later take the license after the first (and non-canon) Power Rangers theatrical adventure…and proceeded to screw it up. While Don Markstein, who wrote many of the stories in this book and I think left the second series in favor of the aforementioned episode adaptation, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Saga, seemed to understand how to write the characters (outside of having to catch up to the new villain), the other writers really didn’t, causing a lot more goofs that were already set in the series before this comic came along. Here are the links to the individual issue reviews (note that there are spoilers):

  • issue #1: Billy’s science project on a special breed of moth is stolen by Zedd and turned into a monster.
  • issue #2: Ernie, who runs the juice bar the gang hangs out in (it’s California), dresses up as a monster to get the Rangers’ autographs. Zedd based a monster on Ernie’s costume (which was created by a kid in a contest Hamilton sponsored).
  • issue #3: Kim learns to tidy up her room when she loses her power coin. This story also debuted the three replacement Rangers when three of the original actors left because it was a non-union production.
  • issue #4: The teens enter a video contest involving the environment, and Zedd sends an environmental destroyer to Angel Grove.
  • issue #5: The first comic to have two stories. In the first Kim is grounded for maxing out her parents’ credit card just as a monster disrupts the Wild West show. In the second, Zedd tries to trick Aiesha into attacking her friends in a false Angel Grove.
  • issue #6: Zedd’s new monster is actually a trap for the Rangers when they defeat it. Then Zedd creates a fake mall to trap the citizens of Angel Grove.

As I’ve stated, the collection is bare-bones. In addition to the regular paper stock of a comic book rather than a graphic novel or trade paperback, there is no cover gallery of the collected issues or interviews with any of the creators. The only addition is that explanation of the errors, and most of that is just a text version of the same episodes adapted into Saga. The only benefit to getting this over the individual issues is that they’re all collected, so you have your choice. They’re all long out of print in any format, and any stories not written by Markstein are questionable translations of the show at best and mediocre stories at worse. It’s good for nostalgia and something kids or fans of the original series might enjoy. I have the separate issues so I don’t need the trade. That’s why it’s exiting my collection.

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