Bruce meets Billy.
In life, there are certain burning questions. What came first, the chicken or the egg? Can you, in fact, wear white after Labor Day? And most importantly, who would win in a fight between the Justice League and the Power Rangers? Tom Taylor and Stephen Byrne look to answer one of those queries with the latest crossover from DC Comics and BOOM! Studios, Justice League/Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1. Their first issue is fun and full of fandom, though the extended setup limits how far this debut can go.
Writer Taylor wastes no time in bringing the two titular teams together, delivering a strong and surprisingly gripping opener that evokes the more mature tone currently in place with BOOM!’s signature series. Even the triggering of their meeting is handled with a degree of gravitas, Taylor utilizing the ever ay-yi-yi-ing Alpha 5 as a Trojan Horse of sorts. The resulting instance leads to Black Lantern Zack meeting the wrong end of a transporter malfunction, setting the stage for a strange shift in scenery from Angel Grove and an even stranger set of protectors.
It’s when the two teams meet that the fun really starts, both in overall investment and sheer entertainment. Having already proven adept at universal crossovers with his work on Injustice, Taylor immediately finds the most enduring aspects of both properties and delights in pitting them against each other. Much of that initial appeal comes from the Rangers themselves, as they dominate the total page time over their Zord-less counterparts. Aside from Batman and a late appearance by the Flash, issue #1 is almost entirely Ranger-centric, with the book’s presumed threat also coming from the Ranger side with foil Lord Zedd. For all of that focus, however, the extended setup does result in some fairly flat characterization out of the gate. Obviously Taylor is working with two well known properties that don’t require any hand holding, but aside from Zack and, to a lesser degree, Batman, the book’s dialogue is more or less interchangeable from character to character. Such is the risk with any book saturated with so many characters, but this is nevertheless a brisk read that feels over all too quickly.
With Taylor focusing more on laying the groundwork for things ahead, the challenge is put on artist Byrne to keep engagement high. He succeeds wonderfully, his crisp, clean lines and easily discernible sequences making for a style that meshes perfectly with both properties. It’s one thing to accurately portray the various outfits and uniforms, and another to create a world where they believably intersect. Byrne strikes that balance well, offsetting the bulky, larger than life members of the Justice League with the more streamlined, acrobatic Rangers. That same contrast is furthered by Byrne’s excellent use of color. The bright, monochromatic hues of the Rangers are appropriately out of place within the dingy browns and grays of Gotham City, turning their initial run-in with Batman into a fun kaleidoscope of color. With Taylor teasing even more outlandish things ahead, it’s exciting to know that Byrne will have more opportunities to shine.
The Justice League and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are two of pop culture’s most easily identifiable entities, and their first meeting appropriately celebrates that fact. Tom Taylor’s script, while brisk, is adventurous and entertaining, the writer showing a clear understanding of his characters and how he plans to use them. Stephen Byrne does the rest, his strong figure work and excellent colors an immediate plus. For fans, by fans – this book is why comics exist.