These issues just keep getting better and better! Power Rangers/TMNT, in the capable hands of writer Ryan Parrott and a stellar art team, has been exactly the kind of Saturday-morning-cartoon nostalgia fix I was hoping for. Issue #3 is no exception.
I love how each issue begins in media res, catapulting the reader right into the middle of the action. Issue #3 picks up exactly where #2 left off, with the Shredder and Rita Repulsa battling for control of the Dragonzord power coin. In such an action-centric title, the look and feel of the fight scenes are pivotal, and pencillers Simone de Meo and Alessio Zonno deliver with a kinetic and intense style that is boldly accentuated by Walter Baiamonte and Igor Monti’s gorgeous colors. The epic splash pages are the real treat. Parrott and company know just how to use them to effectively highlight the most shocking and fan-pleasing moments.
The writing is spot on with punchy and often humorous dialogue for heroes and villains alike. Shredder and Rita are deliciously over-the-top in their villainous back-and-forth. There are some particularly hilarious fourth-wall-breaking jokes in this issue as the Rangers and the Turtles playfully poke fun at each other’s quirks.
In this issue we also learn the backstory of Tommy’s traitorous childhood companion Tyler. Apparently the two grew up together as orphans, but now Tyler resents Tommy for the “privileged” life he has led after being adopted. I for one felt no sympathy for Tyler. He comes off as a whiny ingrate trying to justify joining a clan of terrorist ninjas because he had a rotten childhood. Give me a break! Of course, I’m sure Parrott wrote the Tyler this way on purpose with a redemptive character arc in mind. I have no doubt that we’ll see Tyler have a change of heart in the remaining two issues.
***Skip to the last paragraph to avoid SPOILERS for issue #3***
With Zordon’s help, the Rangers are able to locate Tommy and they warp in to rescue him without the Turtles. Big mistake. Of course, it’s a trap set by Shredder and Rita, who have formed a temporary alliance of convenience in order to destroy the Power Rangers. Shredder employs a “molecular disruption field” (courtesy of his “friends” in Dimension X, no doubt) that can un-morph the Rangers and prevents them from using their morphers at all as long as they remain in range of the field. The field also prevents Zordon and Alpha 5 from warping the Rangers to safety.
Luckily Casey Jones, urban vigilante and ally of the TMNT, arrives and joins the fight against Shredder! Despite Casey’s help, the teens are outmatched and are forced to retreat. The Rangers are beamed away by Zordon once outside the influence of the distortion field, but not before Shredder threatens to kill Tommy if they do not surrender their Power Coins.
To put additional pressure on the Power Rangers, Rita unleashes a flaming cat monster (“Wyldfyre”) on New York City! Unable to use their powers, the Rangers have no hope of defeating Rita’s monster. At this moment Billy suggests a “radical” solution to their dilemma: Give their power coins to the Turtles and April O’Neil! That’s right, TURTLE POWER RANGERS! Like I said, this comic keeps getting better with every issue.
Three issues in, Power Rangers/TMNT has exceeded my expectations as a powerhouse crossover miniseries, delivering just the right mixture of kick-butt action, self-aware humor, and 90s childhood nostalgia. If you’re a Power Rangers and/or Ninja Turtles fan, do yourself a favor and read this comic! I’m eagerly awaiting the final two issues.