The Power of Pink in New Reader-Friendly ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink’ #1
There are few comic series that feel quite as tailored to my interests as Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink. A brand new series out today, the comic is a collaboration between two of my favorite comic writers, Brenden Fletcher and Kelly Thompson, writing for one of the female leads from one of my favorite TV shows growing up.
When Boom Studios announced the series earlier this year, I am instantly sold simply on that information alone. But Fletcher and Thompson’s work on issue one, with artist Daniele Di Nicuolo, colorist Sarah Stern, and letterer Ed Dukeshire, goes beyond just nostalgic fare for the Mighty Morphin fan.
Kimberly Hart, now the former Pink Ranger, is competing as a gymnast in Amsterdam when her mom and stepdad go missing in France. Despite not being a superhero anymore, Kimberly doesn’t hesitate to dive into the mystery of the quiet town that her family just moved to, and the possibly sinister forces behind her mother’s disappearance. And as the comic’s name suggests, it looks like her days of being the Pink Ranger aren’t quite over yet.
Kimberly was the 2nd-to-last original Ranger to leave the show; the writers set up Kimberly to go compete in the preliminary rounds of the Pan Global Games in season three when actress Amy Jo Johnston wanted to pursue other acting roles. Considering page one of the comic shows Kimberly with a bunch of gold medals after the Games, you can make a fair guess that this takes place within a year or so of her departure from the show.
That little bit of extra context for the timeline is probably the only thing you’d be missing if you pick up this issue without watching the show. Pretty much everything you need to know about Power Rangers and Kimberly herself is shown and explained in bits and pieces throughout the first issue.
Truth be told, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink #1 is very friendly to new fans. Of course, what else would you expect from Thompson, who brought Jem and the Holograms into the 21st century so effortlessly, and Fletcher, whose run on Batgirl was a jumping on point for so many new comic readers? Readers new and old can pick up Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink #1 and enjoy the tale of a stubborn, quick-witted heroine without feeling lost by canon.
Speaking of our heroine, one of the surprises of the issue is how Thompson and Fletcher handle Kimberly’s characterization. Even with her time as a Power Ranger behind her, Kimberly is a girl who keeps her bow and arrow in her travel bag, just in case of a monster attack.
The writing for her narration leans away from the '90s talk of the show into a slightly more understated, almost noir feel to her inner voice. The entire first issue is set up like a detective story, so the noir tone works. Plus Kim’s a little older now, and she’s worried something has happened to her mom --- serious is appropriate for the moment. It also falls in line with the more serious moments from the current main Power Rangers comic that Boom has been putting out since January.
But fans of Kimberly’s quips from the TV show can look forward to great moments once she puts on her new Pink Ranger suit and gets back into the swing of things. There’s a panel of her as the Pink Ranger posing and quipping at her newly defeated foes that’s pure Mighty Morphin’ fun. If anything, the contrast of Kimberly’s more serious moments before she puts on her suit makes her return as the Pink Ranger that much more enjoyable.
Daniele Di Nicuolo’s lineart works excellently with this story. His lines are so clean and the action sequences have so much energy. Di Nicuolo doesn’t seem worried about making Kimberly looks exactly like Amy Jo Johnston, which is a smart move; too many TV-to-comic adaptations are focused on getting the exact actor likeness, and the art stumbles into the uncanny valley. What really matters to me as a comic reader is that Kimberly’s face is expressive, for each panel to capture her emotions in that moment, and this is something the issue nails.
Have I mentioned the colors yet? Holy cow, the color work by Sarah Stern is inspired. Different shades of pink are used not just for Kimberly’s outfits (keeping consistent with the TV show’s color coding each character’s wardrobe) but also as background and show hues. The colors all work together as bursts of energy to compliment Di Nicuolo’s lineart during the action scenes. It is a comic rightfully full of pink, then highlighted with neon greens when the bad guys are near and cool grey-blues for Kimberly’s talk with Zordon.
And a big shout out to Ed Dukeshire’s lettering, which flowed elegantly despite having a lot of first person narration boxes early in the issue. The narration moves especially smoothly during with the more action-oriented panels, like the motorcycle sequence early in the issue, when Kimberly is contemplating what her life is like now that she’s not a Power Ranger anymore.
The only curious thing about the issue is the same thing I noticed about the current main Mighty Morphin Power Rangers comic --- it’s set in the modern day, and everyone has modern tech, including cell phones. It seems to be a choice the publisher is making across the line, and while it’s not the most distracting change they could have made, it seems a little odd for a series based so deeply in a '90s aesthetic. It also makes me wonder how it will affect future miniseries if other Power Rangers get their own spin-offs after Kimberly.
Regardless, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink #1 is exactly what I hoped it would be. It made me grin as a fan of the TV show, it’s a great introduction to the character for readers who never got into the show, and it’s unabashedly pink. If I may quibble with a particular line from the show, too much pink energy isn’t dangerous, Zordon -- it’s just awesome.