Morphing All The Way To Victory: Reviewing ‘MMPR/TMNT II’ #5

Grab a big old bowl of cereal, slip on the footie pyjamas, and plop on down in front of the television. It’s Saturday morning and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers have teamed up in an epic battle to stop their dreaded foes Rita Repulsa and Krang!

Okay, so the aforementioned epic story is not a Saturday morning cartoon/kids’ show but that energy that can be found within every bit of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, start to finish. This is exactly the same type of mutant morphing crossover that fans of both franchises probably dreamed of many times through the decades. Except it’s better than any of those dreams, speaking for myself at least and what I imagined, because it takes the elements of both and creates a completely combined world that has the light-heartedness of both but also a more teenage/adulthood darker edge that works.

There is not a bit of fluff or wasted space here as Ryan Parrott maximizes the story potential by using basically every single piece of lore, setting, vehicles, weapons, and characters that he possibly can in just five issues. Even if someone or something doesn’t actually appear on the page there is room for name drops that do not feel like, “Oh look at that!” fan Easter eggs but instead firmly showcase how deep this combination world truly is.

As this is the final issue there is tons to get through including the final massive battles that are just so darn fun to behold from Shredder morphing and having fun, the combination of the Drazonzord and the Metalhead Zord, the mutant Rangers scrambling all over Krang, and so much more. It all truly feels as epic as a sequel series featuring these characters should be after the more foundational lower-scale first series. Hell, there is even a cliffhanger-style ending that points to hopefully a third entry that should be even more massive in scale and power (Lord Zedd has that effect).

It’s not all zords and fights and such though. We get some heartfelt relatable moments between the characters as they handle their situations and what got them here. Raphael surrendering and accepting whatever comes at the hands of Casey being the thing that beaks his best friend out of the thrall of Rita gave my fandom heart a great boost. Even things like the Rangers missing their mutant bodies, things like being able to fly, and seeing Zordon in the thick of battle with his Rangers are great emotional moments of varying levels showcasing so much of the aforementioned depth.

Also, the choice to have the human forms of the Turtles be Black teenagers gets a massive thumbs up from me. So many would just assume “Oh they would be White boys if they were human,” but this creative team said “Nah” and I really truly appreciate that. I want to see more of them just chilling out this way with their new besties the Rangers.

It would be impossible to accurately compare or create some ranking (and I really would not want to do so) when it comes to comic book art through the entire history of this medium. That being said, I do feel like we are in a golden age currently (and there have been others) when it comes to the type of art that we’re getting in so many books. Dan Mora is one of those artists and the work that he brings to pages sometimes feels beyond words. Detailed, deep, emotional, epic, kinetic, powerful, gorgeous, and energetic are all words that apply to the work but don’t even fully do it justice.

Mora was fully the perfect artist to turn to for such a series because his work instantly takes concepts that on paper have a ‘silly’ feeling to them (such as an evil brain creature shoved in the middle of a dinosaur-themed giant robot) and not only makes them feel like they have definitive imposing weight but also makes sure that they still have that silly/cheesy/fun feeling that they need to have. There is a lot of seriousness about both franchises but at the end of the day, they also have a lot of fun silliness to them with aliens, robots, mutants, other dimensions, and all kinds of otherworldly stuff.

The other half of what makes this work so well is pairing the artwork with the colors of Raúl Angulo, who hits that sweet spot where vibrant and shadowy/toned-down colors coexist beautifully. All the fantastical elements listed above tend to have big bold popping colors assigned to them that make sure that they feel outside of our usual scope of reality but also fit into the realistic world that is around them so that they are only slightly jarring.

Within this entire series, we sort of bounce around between various cities, dimensions, and spaces that naturally would have their own life & vibe. Angulo takes that into account because the color palettes used in each space are of course similar in the style of the work and other pieces, but they are also unique to each space. Allowing some to be darker or lighter than others, considering what type of lighting or lack of lighting would be present.

Considering various elements that would be in play is something that comes with each of the types of artwork that brings a comic to life, and that includes the lettering. We always see that Ed Dukeshire makes all the moves necessary to tailor lettering to the space that it’s appearing in while also making sure if it’s character-focused that it matches that character’s energy, voice, or personality. Making little changes here or there that change the tone/volume of dialogue, give a colorful powerful energy to bubbles or SFX, or just find ways to make sure that a certain character’s voice stands apart from others. It’s one of the things that really makes comic books sing, bringing a lot of fun to the pages.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II #5 is now available from BOOM! Studios.

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