By Jonathan Edwards
Why does this book exist? I mean, sure, the Justice League and Power Rangers are both superhero teams starring in their own books, and doing a crossover is always likely to guarantee to sell at least a few copies to fans from both side of the aisle. But, I can't really say it's a team-up I've ever heard anyone clamoring for. I don't know, maybe I'm wrong. If Batman can team up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, why not the Justice League and Power Rangers? And to be fair, their marketing did kind of work on me. Because, when I saw this listed on the spreadsheet, I was compelled to find out just how in the hell they tried to make this whole thing work.
I'm going to cut to the chase. This issue is pretty lackluster. While the writing is okay, the overall story is simplistic, and it doesn't really seem like a lot is done to get us to buy into the world. The first few pages show the apparent destruction of the Power Rangers' hometown and Zack, the Black Ranger, lamenting and blaming himself for it. And then, Superman just shows up to console him. I'm sorry, what? It's revealed to be a flashforward, but it reads more like a dream sequence. And not a good one. Furthermore, I don't really get what the point of starting with that. I mean, it's supposed to be a hook, but it's not like Angel Grove is actually going to be destroyed in the random crossover that doesn't even share writers with Boom!'s main Power Rangers book. I guess they really wanted to prove that the book was indeed going to have both the Justice League and Power Ranges together, except the full Justice League doesn't even appear in this issue. So, that's great.
The rest of the first half of the issue is spent exclusively with the Rangers, specifically Zack, which I don't particularly have a problem with. Although, there's not much in the way of introductions for them or their supporting cast. I got by from watching the show as a kid, but I wouldn't be surprised if those unfamiliar with the franchise felt alienated. It's right at the midpoint where we get the first real introduction of anything Justice League, when Zack is accidentally teleported to Gotham and is soon confronted by Batman. This is also where the book does get a bit better. Batman is immediately the most interesting character in the issue, but it is somewhat at the expense of the Power Rangers. I don't know if the creative team intended it to be as amusing to watch Batman disable Zack as it is. Same goes for his reaction to the other Rangers arriving and ganging up on him. Sure, he calls for his own backup, yet he only seems mildly annoyed by the whole thing. The issue ends with a relatively weak cliffhanger and a whole lot of "was that it?"
In some ways, the art for this book matches the writing perfectly. The character designs are fine, if perhaps a little too simple at times. However, the backgrounds are nondescript at best and nonexistent at worst. I tend to like it when specific colors and/or palettes are used to help differentiate locations and give them character. But when color is the only way you can tell visually that characters are in a different location, there's a problem. I mean, shit, apparently a red-orange hue with maybe a building front or two in some panels passes for Gotham.
Justice League/Power Rangers is an all-around mediocre but inoffensive read. I don't think I ever cared enough about what was going on to get angry at it. The only people I'd recommend this too are the diehard Power Rangers fans. And even then, I'd suggest maybe waiting for the trade. Because, I don't think there's enough going on here to justify waiting a month to find out what happens next.
Justice League/Power Rangers #1
Writer: Tom Taylor
Art: Stephen Byrne
Publisher: DC Comics