Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink
Writer: Brenden Fletcher & Kelly Thompson (chapters 1 — 2), Tini Howard (chapters 3 — 6)
Artists: Daniele di Nicuolo
Colorists: Sarah Stern
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Cover: Babs Tarr
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
A review by Nico Sprezzatura.
If you haven’t been paying much attention to popular culture over the past year or so, the Power Rangers have been making quite a comeback. As a card-carrying child of the 90s, I obviously watched the original series and several of its film adaptations, but I haven’t kept up with the franchise much since. (I know they’re on their hundredth spinoff or something at this point? You can’t keep a proven cash cow down for very long.)
Naturally, the onslaught of new Power Rangers material would include comics based in that universe. BOOM! Studios, who acquired the Power Rangers license in 2015, began publishing their Mighty Morphin Power Rangers ongoing series early last year, and its critical/financial success prompted them to greenlight a spinoff: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink, starring the eponymous Pink Ranger, Kimberly Hart.
I haven’t actually been reading the Power Rangers ongoing series, but luckily, one needn’t be keeping up with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to digest Pink. As far as I’m aware, the story here doesn’t directly tie into the ongoing series.
Here’s what you need to know going in: Kimberly —no longer serving as a Power Ranger when we find her— heads to France, and shenanigans ensue. Though her former teammates eventually join the party, Pink is very much a solo adventure that is focused on Kimberly’s psyche.
Brenden Fletcher (Batgirl) and Kelly Thompson (Jem & the Holograms), who came up with the story together, are only responsible for Pink’s two opening chapters, but they leave a strong foundation for Tini Howard (Magdalena: Seventh Sacrament) to assume in their wake.
The Pink Ranger, in any lineup of Rangers, typically represents femininity, which poses a unique problem: do you run with it, or against it? Femininity is often stigmatized in action-oriented franchises like Power Rangers; characters like Kimberly are supposed to remind us that the color pink (and by extension, femininity) aren’t inherently weak concepts.
Luckily, Fletcher, Thompson, and Howard have all proven elsewhere that they aren’t scared of writing female characters who wear their femininity on their sleeve. As Kimberly proves in this series especially, “feminine” means “strong.” As mentioned above, Kim’s teammates resurface toward the climax of this story, but they’re not the ones in charge — Kimberly is.
Without getting into plot specifics, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink very much captures the feel of the original Power Rangers series. Not totally unlike the fascinating dichotomy between last year’s muted Jem & The Holograms film and IDW’s colorful Jem comic (also written by Thompson!), Pink manages to do the source material more justice than last month’s big budget Hollywood adaptation.
A big part of Pink winning tone comes from its art team. Illustrator Daniele di Nicuolo is largely unknown to me, but his work here is a pretty good sign that my ignorance shouldn’t last much longer. Expressive and dynamic, his renderings sell both the quieter and louder moments within, which isn’t the easiest trick to pull off. It would be easy to dismiss a Power Rangers comic as being mindless fluff —and let’s be clear, it largely is mindless fluff— but di Nicuolo is well-suited to deliver this material without it feeling cheap or insubstantial.
Equally vital is colorist Sarah Stern, whose candy-coated palette reminds us how vibrant a Power Rangers comic should be. After all, we’re dealing with a team whose visual aesthetic is comprised of color-coded costumes; “pink” is literally in this book’s title! There’s certainly lots of pink to be seen throughout this title, but Stern’s colors aren’t one-dimensional or limited to just pink.
Rounding out the visuals are letters done by Ed Dukeshire, who conveys the script atop di Nicuolo and Stern’s Saturday morning cartoon-esque illustrations appropriately. I love a good onomatopoeia, and Dukeshire provides no shortage of them. I also love the pink narration boxes — obvious, yeah, but still appreciated. It’s the little details!
Unless you’re vehemently opposed to the Power Rangers or the color pink, you could do worse than picking up Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink. It’s a fun, self-contained adventure featuring an iconic female character at its core, and does its source material plenty of justice while still feeling fresh and new.