Saban’s Go Go Power Rangers: Back to School #1
Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Art: Ilaria Catalani, Derek Charm, Jordan Gibson, Xiao Tong Kong, Jon Lam, Jim Towe
Boom! Studios has gained new ground with its licensed Power Rangers comics. Centering on the original Rangers, it avoids mindless nostalgia while staying true to the spirit of the show. More importantly, they managed to create a fully rounded experience. Longtime Power Ranger’s fans should be pleased but by bringing out the best in the characters and mythos, they’ve given newcomers a hook. Saban’s Go Go Power Rangers: Back to School shows how Boom! has managed to bring the franchise to a modern, older audience.
Written by Marguerite Bennett, the special is an anthology showing what the Rangers have been up to on Spring Break. Each story is illustrated by a different artist, though Bennett writes every segment. Ilaria Catalani draws the present day panels. While she captures the traditional Power Rangers elements, her expression is a little too cartoony at times. The first story, following Jason, the Red Ranger’s experiences teaching ASL to deaf children. Jordan Gibson’s robust art is a good fit for such a personal story. However, his sense of perspective is a little flat though he handles the ASL element well. The second story follows Black Ranger Zack, who works as a Senate aide. He ends up finalizing a bill to help those affected by the Power Rangers’ fights. Derek Charm illustrates it, with art sensible for a story about legislation while remaining consistent with the other artists’ work.
These two stories are easily the best of this special. They manage to show the characters have lives outside of fighting monsters from the moon. And even then they manage to circle it back to that central premise in some way. Unfortunately, Blue Ranger Tommy’s story goes too far from the latter. Stuck at a food festival, he manages to form a bond with a Muslim immigrant. While it’s a heartwarming story that distinguishes its main character, it doesn’t connect to his life as a Power Ranger. Jon Lam’s art doesn’t help matters, as its strange color palette and at times a clumsy sense of movement interferes with the pacing. Trini and Kimberly, the Yellow and Pink Rangers respectively, have the opposite problem. Their stories focus far too much on the Power Ranger elements of their characters.
A clumsy, doodle-covered how-to-sneak-out guide dominates most of Kimberly’s story. While initially amusing, it drags on for so long that it makes the story annoying to follow. Jim Towe’s regular art is decent, though the faces look a little strange. Slightly more character driven is Trini’s story, in which she works on a ranch. Unfortunately, the story focuses a little too much on the Ranger aspect. Xiao Tong Kong’s art is at least distinctive and does what it needs to. The runaway horses, the focal point of the story, look very odd and far too human. Despite this, the special as a whole succeeds in showing there’s more to Power Rangers than bright costumes and big robots. Power Rangers: Back To School might not get you reading the main series but it proves the new books aren’t just relying on nostalgia.
Saban's Go Go Power Rangers: Back to School
Power Rangers: Back to School is a pleasant, if mixed experience.