By Jonathan Edwards
Y'know, despite it being a couple of months since the last issue of Justice League/Power Rangers, I was still annoyed enough with its bullshit that I didn't really want to review issue #4 when I first saw it pop up on the spreadsheet. However, after giving it some thought, I decided to let the CERN nonsense slide for now and give it a chance. The book, in turn, reciprocated by having the first third of it entirely dedicated to giving an explanation to how exactly the Large Hadron Collider was going to make a proper portal from the DCU to the Power Rangers universe. Except, not really, because everything about that process is written so vaguely that I really don't know what Tom Taylor decided to try and drag real world science into this. Interdimensional portals are easily accepted by suspension of disbelief. But as soon as you say CERN or Large Hadron Collider, you are setting a precedent for what can and can't be done. I'll let you guess whether 'creating a portal with a direct connection to a parallel universe that will safely transport people between said universes' falls in the former or latter category. No, I won't; it's stupid and wrong.
To give credit where credit is due, the book does actually note that their bullshit machine could open up a hole anyway, and they need a way to pinpoint the Rangers' universe. What I won't give credit to is the solution that's given. Somehow, Tommy's Dragon Dagger just being present in the center of the LHC makes it work. Because science? It's not even like they open the portal first and then follow the Dagger. The portal only opens after the Dagger is in position, and that makes it so obvious that this is nothing more than plot convenience solving a manufactured problem by attempting to tie-in with source material the writer clearly isn't familiar with.
We get even more plot convenience when, while arriving in the Rangers' universe, the group manages to land in the exact spot where Zack can get front row view of his parents by stolen by Braniac along with the rest of Angel Grove. If that weren't contrived enough, there's a forced reference to the destruction of Krypton given as the reason Clark knows how Zack feels. Because, apparently Zack is the only Ranger torn apart by the loss of their hometown. He's torn up about it, he doesn't listen to anyone from the Justice League when they all tell him that trying to interfere with Braniac's process is a lot more dangerous than letting him finish and then coming up with a plan to reverse it. I mean, I get that it'd be hard to just stand by and let that happen, but when you have Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman all telling you that's how it works, Zack's really just an asshole for ignoring them and thinking he knows better about their villain.
The art's still coasting along at the same level it's been at for the entire series so far. Although, it probably bothered me the least this time around. I'm willing to bet that's predominately thanks to me just getting progressively more used to the art style, even if it still comes up short in areas (particularly with Superman and aspects of the other DC characters). I will point out a bit of an error in consistency regarding the what Braniac left after taking Angel Grove. In the flash forward at the beginning of the first issue, we see a healthy amount of ruined buildings in the wider shots. But here, all of the backgrounds are just empty voids are gradient colors.
Having got past the Hadron Collider shit, this issue actually wasn't as bad as the last one. However, I still hesitate to call it anything more than mediocre. Equipping the Rangers with semi-iconic accoutrements of DC characters is an aggrandizing gimmick that really feels a bit insulting given how little they've collectively done thus far to earn it. Furthermore, it's absurd that no one in the Justice League would voice any concerns over Cyborg plugging directly into Braniac's machinery. It's fine if he does it because the situation requires him to, despite how dangerous it is. But when that danger isn't even acknowledged in the first place, my only reaction to that plan backfiring is "well, what did you think was going to happen?"
Justice League/Power Rangers #4