Hamilton Comics

Tales From The Morphin Grid: A Power Rangers Comics Retrospective (Part 1)

Hello, my friends.  We’ve reached that wonderful part of the year where I delve into the four-paneled histories that our favorite characters have carved out for themselves upon the illustrated page.  For 2023, we’re focusing on a franchise that’s blended a long-running Japanese series with its own original superheroic touch to create a cultural phenomenon whose flames still burn brightly three decades later.  On that note, I welcome you to the first entry of…

For the purpose of this retrospective, I’m only going to cover every single comic book that came out of this series prior to Boom Studios acquiring the license.  As for how the franchise as a whole became to be in the first place, its seeds were planted around 1984 when the Egyptian-born businessman known as Haim Saban went on a business trip to Japan.  While he was relaxing in his hotel room, he managed to catch the Super Sentai series known as “Choudenshi Bioman” on TV.  As he became fascinated with the notion of five spandex-clad figures battling it out against evil monsters, he decided to create a Bio-Man pilot in 1985.  However, not a single TV station was interested in picking up his pitch.  Thankfully, his idea finally came to fruition in 1992 when Fox Kids came along to bring his idea to the small screen.  From there, the wheels were set in motion for a defining touchstone of the 1990s to come about.

Debuting on August 28, 1993, it initially combined some footage from the Super Sentai series known as “Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger” with its own hired cast of young people whose backgrounds ranged from gymnastics to martial arts to portray its cental characters.  For its second and third seasons, other Super Sentai shows such as “Gosei Sentai Dairanger” and “Ninja Sentai Kakuranger” would have its elements implemented into the mainline show.  With the program gaining a large amount of notice and popularity, it wouldn’t be long before the merchandizing bonanza would kick into high gear.

As far as the franchise’s comic book license goes, the inaugural owner to that claim would be the Prescott, Arizona-based company known as Hamilton Comics.  As for how they would initially bring these “Teenagers With Attitude” onto the illustrated page, it would come in a particular form that was completely unexpected.

Published in 1994, this comic was a promotional tie-in between Hamilton Comics and the clothing company called Fruit of the Loom.  Jack C. Harris got to write the story, Al Bigley handles the artwork and Steve Stiles takes care of inking duties.  As for what kind of tale this particular periodical decides to weave within its eight pages, let’s begin our powerful journey and find out.

We open with Rita Repulsa (who’s somehow given an extra “S” on her last name) and her cohorts having established their devious base of operations on the moon, despite omitting the moment where two regular astronauts accidentally freed them from their imprisoning dumpster.  She mentions that she’s been engaged in an eons-long battle against Zordon (whom for some reason is named Zoltar in this book) and that their struggle has brought them to Earth.  Although she still intends to conquer the galaxy, she knows that Zordon will still attempt to stop her.  As such, she orders Finster to take them to Earth in order to learn what strategies her enemy has in store.  Over in the Command Center, Zordon’s robotic assistant named Alpha 5 informs him that their headquarters is undetectable from the human race.  Zordon then mentions that the planet should have the necessary power that they’ll need to combat Rita, despite the fact that the prehistoric dinosaurs are no more.  However, he does mention that there’s “another way”.  We then shift over to Angel Grove High School where our five main teenagers, as well as Bulk & Skull, are on a class field trip to a nature-filled area in order to collect some fossils for their class.  After they arrive, Jason Lee Scott mentions how this spacious area is the perfect place to practice their martial arts, yet Kimberly Hart reminds him to stick with their assignment.  From there, the group makes their way towards a nearby cave before they’re met upon by Alpha 5.  Because Zordon informs him that they contain “the right kind of positive mental energy and physical skills” to help them, Alpha 5 proceeds to give Jason (who’s given the last name of Jones) the necessary information about Zordon’s enemy, as well as the power of the Tyrannosaurus along with his signature weapon called the Power Sword.  From there, the rest of his friends receive their newfound powers as Kimberly (given the last name of Smith) gets the power of the Pterodactyl while also wielding the Power Bow (called the Battle Bow instead).  For Zack Taylor (or Zack Davis here), he gets the power of the Mastodon while also getting access to the Power Axe (weirdly named the Cosmic Cannon).  With Billy Cranston (who’s named Billy Blake), he gets the power of the Triceratops as well as the Power Lance (or Mighty Mace) as his main weapon.  Finally, there’s Trini Kwan (or Trini Chang as the comic calls her) who gets the power of the Saber-Toothed Tiger along with the Power Daggers (or Dino Dagger as it’s called here).  Meanwhile in another part of the cave, Bulk and Skull soon notice a Putty Patroller that’s standing still, assuming that they’ll be able to get rich with this “Cave Man Clay Statue”.  Suddenly, it springs to life and throws them off before more Putty Patrollers show up in order to scare them off.  From there, Finster has them fuse together in order to create one gigantic Putty Patroller.

With this turn of events, Zordon contacts his new Rangers and tells them to summon their Dinozords, which he’s just created out of “the elements” of their home planet.  Once they do so, Alpha 5 then tells them to bring their Zords together in order to form the Megazord.  Shortly after Bulk and Skull flee from the immediate area, a brief fight breaks out before the Megazord is able to punch the massive Putty Patroller enough times in order to separate it into the smaller beings, ultimately coming out on top.  After the Rangers power down, the comic ends with them coming across a petrified Bulk & Skull who worriedly runs past them.  Afterwards, Zordon tells them that Rita is relentless and will eventually strike back.

We’ve now reached the content that was actually released in comic bookstores.  Starting things off, we have a six-issue mini-series that was published from December 1994 to May 1995.  For this major venture, writing duties fell onto Donald Markstein (Issues 1, 2, 4 & 5), Jack C. Harris (Issues 3 & 6) and Nicola Cuti (Issues 5 & 6).  For the artwork, those responsibilities fell onto Gray Morrow (Issues 1 & 6), John Heebink (Issues 2 & 5), Aaron McClellan (Issue 2), Al Bigley (Issue 3) and Sparky Moore (Issues 4 & 5).  As for the kind of ventures that our colorfully youthful team went through within this set, let’s teleport in and find out.

We open upon “The Menace Of Dracula” as Billy sets up his bug display for the science fair while Ms. Appleby completes him on his exhibit.  Afterwards, Billy begins to talk about a particular insect within his gathered group of critters called the Sinestra Draculi a.k.a. the Dracula Moth.  Through Trini’s translation of his technobabble, he mentions that its wings resemble that of a regular bat.  After he shares a few more tidbits about the creature, the group is suddenly met upon by Bulk & Skull (who’re in their unsuccessful bully phase from Season 1) as Bulk says that his exhibit on “How Yeast Rises” will top Cranston’s presentation.  When Billy says that it’s unlikely that his bug exhibit will get overshadowed by the yeast display, Bulk decides to act like a bull and charge right at him.  Thankfully, Cranston simply steps aside and allows Bulk to crash into a Primary Color exhibit, covering him in paint.  Afterwards, Billy mentions how the Dracula Moth is also able to hypnotize its prey, though it’s only effective upon “extremely primitive organisms”.  However, Skull’s simple act of staring at the bug causes him to become entranced by it.  Afterwards, Bulk tells him that they have to get more yeast before the supermarket closes as he’s forced to snap his comrade out of his spellbound state.

Over at his lunar fortress, Lord Zedd had just observed all of this and has come up with a way to take down the Power Rangers.  As such, he tells Finster that he wants the science fair cleared out before he receives the certain bug in order to transform it into a large monster.  Not only that, but he orders Squatt and Baboo to go to the fair in order to retrieve said creature.  Back at the science fair, Lord Zedd’s plan gets set in motion as a group of Putty Patrollers get unleashed onto the area.  While the civilians flee for their lives, our heroes manage to beat their foes up.  However, this gave Squatt & Baboo their opportunity to retrieve a caterpillar from Cranston’s display and bring it back to base.  From there, the bug gets turned into a decent-sized creature before it goes on a tree-eating rampage.

Back over at Angel Grove High, our heroes have finally defeated the Putty Patrollers before Billy discovers that his Sinestra Draculi exhibit was stolen.  Just as he wonders why Lord Zedd would want it in the first place, they get contacted by Zordon who tells them to head to the park since a giant caterpillar is devouring the nearby vegetation.  Once the group morphs, they confront the large caterpillar as Cranston recognizes it as “an enlarged version of Sinestra Draculi’s larval stage”.  He then tells his teammates that they must defeat it while it’s in its herbivorous phase before it evolves.  As such, the Power Rangers attempt to attack, yet are unsuccessful at it.  Not only that, but Zack, Trini and Jason get encased by its webbing.  In addition, their weapons are unable to cut through and save their imprisoned teammates.  After Billy informs Zordon of his team’s situation, they get teleported back to the Command Center.  From there, he tells his two remaining Rangers that they can head to the Zarathustra Dimension in order to reach a giant spider and obtain its venom within a provided container so that their teammates can be freed.

From there, Cranston and Hart get teleported to their targeted dimension.  Even though Kimberly initially feels uneasy about their surroundings, Billy says that their teammates are counting on them, especially since he feels responsible for their current situation.  Just then, they notice some small tentacle-esque lifeforms grasping their legs, but Cranston realizes that they’re harmless due to their light strength and that they’re also attracted to body heat.  Suddenly, they’re approached by a giant spider as it proceeds to attack them.  It then shoots some venom at Billy who gets hit, yet only suffers some minor pain due to his uniform withstanding the acidic shot.  Despite their harrowing situation and the fact that the sixth Ranger isn’t with them right now, Cranston has come up with a way for them to retrieve the giant spider’s venom.  He grabs some of the squiggly tentacles in order to tie the canister to one of Hart’s arrows.  Afterwards, the spider shoots out some venom at just the right time as Kimberly fires her arrow in order for the canister to collect some of its acid.  From there, they manage to retrieve it before they teleport back home.

Afterwards, Alpha 5 proceeds to apply the venom upon the tough webbing, freeing the other three Rangers.  Just then, Zordon tells them that the opposing larva has just emerged from its cocoon in order to become a Dracula Moth.  He then warns his Rangers that the creature is now able “to mesmerize higher lifeforms”, which includes humans.  From there, the team heads out to confront the dangerous creature, only to continually struggle against it.  Not only that, but it manages to briefly hypnotize Billy before Trini is able to snap him out of his daze.  Meanwhile, Lord Zedd and his cohorts observe the situation from their moon base.  He then decides to operate like Rita Repulsa and throw his staff down towards Earth in order to make his Dracula Moth grow.  With the bug now at an unbearable size, the Rangers proceed to summon their Thunderzords.

From there, they hop into their respective Zords before coming together to form the Thunder Megazord.  Despite their initial struggle, they finally manage to slay the giant Dracula Moth with the Thunder Saber (or the Mega Power Sword as it’s called here), leaving a frustrated Lord Zedd with a Rita-sized headache.

Later, our main group arrive back at Angel Grove High.  Even though Trini mentions that Lord Zedd had destroyed his original exhibit, Billy says that it’s only a minor setback since he’s capable of recreating it.  In addition to his “explanatory material” being already saved on his Word Processor, he also brought a special heat lamp that can help some bugs grow from eggs into their adult forms in a short amount of time.  Meanwhile, Bulk and Skull notice the heat lamp from afar.  Because they’re struggling to make their yeast rise, Bulk says that the heat lamp can finally help them with their situation.  Later, Billy has completely restored his original display before Bulk and Skull swipe the heat lamp for themselves, where it proceeds to grow their yeast at an exponential rate.  We then shift ahead to a short time later as Ms. Appleby looks over Billy’s exhibit on the Dracula Moth’s life cycle before she ultimately announces that he’s won first place.  From there, Issue 1 ends with her presenting Bulk and Skull with a special award for the “Messiest Science Project”, due to the yeast growing so much to completely cover them.

Issue 2 (“Switcheroo”) begins at the Angel Grove Youth Center & Juice Bar as Tommy Oliver meets up with his comrades just as Ernie is about to show something in his collection.  He calls it an actual Power Rangers souvenir before he elaborates by mentioning that it’s actually a piece of the cocoon from the same Dracula Moth that the Rangers fought a month ago.  Not only that, but he’s hoping to get it signed by the Rangers themselves and that he has a plan to accomplish it.  Meanwhile, Bulk and Skull are sitting nearby as Bulk is drowning his sorrows within an excessive amount of banana milkshakes.  Because they’ve been overhearing our main group’s conversation, Bulk is bummed that he’s not on a t-shirt, to which Skull tells him that the Rangers are actual heroes.  Just then, they overhear Ernie’s plan to get his souvenir signed where he’ll dress up as a monster and that once the Rangers arrive, he’ll discard his costume before he gets them to sign away.  From there, Bulk heads out to plan his own petty scheme, but he ends up keeling over due to all of those milkshakes that he’s consumed.  Meanwhile, our main group discreetly discuss amongst themselves as they decide to help Ernie out.  However, Tommy isn’t sure that he’ll be able to participate due to his ever-dwindling Green Ranger powers.  Ernie then asks the teens if they can look over the Youth Center while he carries out his autograph plan, but the majority of them says that they have other plans.  However, Tommy accepts his request.  Meanwhile upon his lunar base, Lord Zedd has overheard Ernie’s plan before he tells Finster to create a Putty Patroller that looks like Ernie and that he should also know what kind of monster he’ll be making.

We then shift ahead to the next morning as our main group hears a radio newscast mentioning “a malevolent Goat Man” that’s causing some mischief over at a condemned building.  As they arrive at the Youth Center, Zack asks why they’re not immediately heading out to sign Ernie’s souvenir, to which Jason says that he wants to try and ask Tommy one last time to join them.  Once they arrive however, Oliver tells them that Ernie has called it off, especially since he’s standing nearby.  However, the group still hear the radio newscast mention the rampaging Goat Man, realizing that something’s up as they head out and morph.  Unbeknownst to them and Tommy, there was a Putty Patroller pretending to be Ernie before teleporting out.  We then shift over to downtown as a few minutes earlier, the real Ernie is dressed up as a Goat Man and causing some minor mischief over at a condemned building.  He then becomes exhausted before he sits down, unintentionally causing some bricks and debris to fall towards him.  Thankfully, Bulk and Skull arrive in time as Ernie leaps towards them to safety.  Because they think that he’s an actual monster, Bulk and Skull present themselves as the Mauve & Puce Rangers.  Ernie tells them to knock it off since he’s actually Ernie, but he’s unable to make them believe him because he’s not able to get out of his costume, especially because of a key zipper that’s stuck.  Bulk and Skull try to chase after him before they notice a nearby photographer, causing them to leap into a heroic pose.  However, they crash into a ladder that had some open paint cans on them, dousing them in paint just as the actual Power Rangers arrive.  Ernie emerges to properly confront them, but they mistake him for an actual monster before they fire their Blade Blasters at him, forcing him to go on the run.  Meanwhile, Lord Zedd is observing this from his lunar base before he tells Finster to create his version of Goat Man that’s also armed with its own weapons.

Meanwhile, the Power Rangers proceed to chase after Goat Man, unaware that it’s actually Ernie underneath the costume.  He soon spots a stick as he grabs it, ties his souvenir onto it and waves it around in an admission of defeat.  The group is initially confused that a monster has actually surrendered to them, but Ernie tells them that he’s a regular man.  While he’s still unable to remove his costume, he still asks them to sign his cocoon piece.  However, Jason doesn’t believe him to be Ernie and tries to slay him, all while Lord Zedd oversees this.  Thankfully, Trini stops him and says that there’s a better way to help Ernie out of his costume.  As such, she tries to use her Power Dagger, but ends up having trouble.  Zack & Billy then try to help with their Power Axe and Power Lance respectively, yet also struggle to help out.  With Lord Zedd furious that the Rangers have prevented themselves from accidentally murdering their friend, he learns from Finster that his own Goat Man is now ready to be deployed.  Meanwhile, Ernie finally has his mask off and begins to ask them for their autographs.  However, the Rangers are distracted by Zordon who orders them to return to the Command Center before they teleport away.

Once our heroes arrive, Zordon tells them that downtown Angel Grove is under attack by a new monster called Goat Man.  The Rangers are confused by this revelation since they just came across Ernie who was dressed at Goat Man, to which Zordon says that he oversaw their recent venture.  However, he tells them that this Goat Man is an actual monster that showed up shortly after their recent encounter with Ernie.  As such, the Rangers head out to deal with this foe.  After they arrive, Jason tells the monster to surrender, but Goat Man tells him that he’s actually Ernie before asking him to come closer to give him an autograph.  With our heroes unsure whether or not he’s trying to trick them, Jason decides to use his Blade Blaster on the monster.  However, Kimberly stops him before Trini asks the Goat Man what they want him to sign.  Goat Man says that he wants them to sign a Power Rangers t-shirt, to which our heroes realize that he’s not Ernie.  With his monster’s identity fully discovered, Lord Zedd proceeds to make his monster grow.

From there, the Rangers summon their Thunderzords before they bring them together in order to form the Thunder Megazord.  After a fierce struggle, Zack asks if they need to use to the Thunder Saber to properly defeat their foe.  However, Jason says that they can bring the monster down with “one good kick”.  As such, they deliver a timely kick that finally destroys Goat Man.

Later at the Angel Grove Youth Center, Ernie shares his recent experience with Tommy.  After they notice that Bulk and Skull got featured in the local newspaper for the wrong reason, Ernie mentions that he’s still bummed that he didn’t get the Power Rangers’ autograph.  Suddenly, our heroes arrive to the delight of the citizens.  While the rest of his team get swept up by the patrons’ attention, Jason discreetly tells Tommy to join them since he’s still a team member and that they don’t want to leave Ernie disappointed.  While Oliver slips away to help out, the rest of the Rangers proceed to sign his souvenir while Ernie expresses his admiration towards them.  Just then, Tommy returns as the Green Ranger and signs the souvenir while Ernie tells him that he’s his favorite Ranger and that he’s made a cake for them before he gets his picture taken with the team.  Suddenly, Bulk and Skull return while dressed up as the Mauve & Puce Rangers, even ignoring the fact that Ernie can tell who they are through their thin disguises.  Billy then tells Bulk that his Brontosaurus title also goes by Apatosaurus, to which Skull thinks that he said, “Pat The Saurus” and delivers a hard pat upon Bulk’s back, resulting in him landing into the cake.  From there, Issue 2 ends with our main group having fully returned to their civilian guises before Ernie asks them where the Power Rangers went, to which they pretend not to know.

As we move into Issue 3, we finally reach the first notable lineup change as one of our familiar Rangers must learn that despite their personal predicament, “It’s Not The End Of The World”.  We open with Kimberly being told by her mother that her room is a mess, yet she shrugs it off since she doesn’t want to be late for school and that she’s going on a field trip today.  She then promises to take care of it after school and that despite the current condition of her room, she says that it’s not the end of the world.  However, her mother warns her that it will be if she doesn’t learn to be better organized.  As she walks to school, Kimberly thinks that her mother is simply “being unreasonable”, especially due to her Power Ranger duties and that she doesn’t have time to worry about the messiness of her room.  Meanwhile within his moon-based base, Lord Zedd is dealing with some falling debris that’s being caused by Squatt & Baboo moving a broken atomizing displacer around.  After Lord Zedd fires an energy blast towards them for their incompetence, it suddenly gives Finster an idea on how they can defeat the Power Rangers.  He then presents his master with an item called the Garbagantrous, which is a monster that doesn’t need to feed off of their own power reserves.  When Lord Zedd asks him how it can be a threat to their foes, Finster says that it can feed off of Earth’s own garbage.  With Lord Zedd liking this idea, he then sends it towards the Angel Grove Landfill & Recycling Center.

Later, our classmates are arriving by school bus to the landfill and recycling center.  While Skull calls the center a dump, Rocky DeSantos calls him out for his short-sightedness since recycling allows certain materials to get reused while a dump only lets garbage “just sit and rot”.  Afterwards, Skull gets unintentionally spooked by Aisha Campbell and loses his gum to the wind before it gets blown onto Bulk’s face.  Once they arrive, a tour guide proceeds to educate them about the importance of recycling, while the garbage within their landfill is in the process of being made environmentally safe.  Suddenly, the Garbagantrous crash lands into the landfill as Rocky notices some commotion occurring out there.  While the group continues with their tour, the Garbagantrous manages to gather the nearby vast amount of garbage in order to form itself into a fierce monster.  Once the creature makes itself known, the Rangers manage to slip away from their fleeing classmates in order to morph.  However, Kimberly discovers that she doesn’t have her Power Coin, especially since she accidentally left it home due to being in a rush to get out the door.  While the rest of the team heads out to confront their newly formed foe, Rocky quickly teleports her back to her house.  Back at the Command Center, Alpha 5 says that their sensors are unable to locate where Hart’s Power Coin is located.  As such, Zordon decides to teleport him to her home in order to help her.

Back with the rest of the Power Rangers, they proceed to engage the Garbagantrous with their signature weapons.  However, they’re unable to cause any significant damage.  Back on his lunar base, Lord Zedd is thrilled to see his monster easily withstand their enemies’ strikes before he decides to have it grow in size, much to Finster’s dismay.  Back with Kimberly and Alpha 5, she’s unable to locate her missing Power Coin.  Despite Alpha 5 zooming around and cleaning up her room, they’re still baffled on where her Power Coin is located.

Meanwhile, the Garbagantrous has been grown as the Rangers realize that they can’t use the Thunder Megazord due to the absence of their teammate.  Even still, they decide to summon their regular Thunderzords in order to go up against the massive monster.  However, they’re unable to make much progress as it easily tosses and smacks them around.

While Bulk, Skull and their classmates oversee the confrontation, Kimberly is bummed that she can’t find her Power Coin.  Just as Alpha 5 mentions how all of this clean-up is thirsty work, Hart finally realizes that she’s been using her Power Coin as a coaster and that it was underneath a soda can, to which Alpha 5 says that the can was somehow preventing the Command Center’s scanners from locating her coin.  Once she morphs, she summons her Firebird Thunderzord and flies off to rejoin her teammates.  Back at the Recycling Center, the rest of the Rangers lie defeated while the Garbagantrous is about to bury them and their Thunderzords within a massive pile of garbage.  Thankfully, Kimberly flies in at just the right time and reaches her teammates, allowing their Zords to come together and create the Thunder Megazord.  From there, they easily beat up and destroy the monster while Lord Zedd complains about their creature’s failure, to which Finster says that it didn’t have enough stored energy to maintain its gigantic size.

Afterwards, the Rangers send their Zords away before they’re met with thunderous applause by the nearby citizens.  From there, they slip away in order to properly de-morph and rejoin their classmates.  Not to mention, they find Bulk and Skull hiding like cowards within some trash cans.  And so, Issue 3 ends with Kimberly arriving home as her mother summons her to her room.  Despite her initial sense of fear, Kimberly is instead met with motherly praise for her newly cleaned room.  Her mom then proceeds to apologize for being cross with her earlier and says that a messy room isn’t the end of the world, to which Kimberly tells her that it could’ve been before they share a hug.

Issue 4 (“Swamp Man”) begins at Angel Grove High School where our main group is met upon by their principal named Mr. Caplan as he expresses his delighted feeling over their upcoming use of the school’s video equipment in order to contribute to Ecology Awareness Week.  Shortly after Bulk and Skull get permission from Caplan to use some costumes from the “Drama Department”, our main teens are met upon by Tommy who was just studying for an upcoming science exam.  His friends then ask him if he’ll help them out with the creation of their ecology video, especially since it’ll be judged if it will be nationally broadcasted.  However, Oliver turns them down before he heads out.  The rest of his friends wonder if maybe he thinks that they don’t entirely need him, but they easily brush it off and decide to let him deal with his personal business while they work on their ecology video, particularly on the Heliophontic Phenomena.

Just then, Bulk and Skull return with the latter dressed up as a tree while the former says that their video will entirely be about said tree.  They even decide to show off the costume’s key feature as Skull pulls on a cord and causes its branches to extend outward.  However, one of them accidentally knocks off Mr. Caplan’s toupee as he furiously responds by giving them detention.  Meanwhile within the lunar base, Lord Zedd had overseen all of this and tells Finster that he wants a monster that fits with Ecology Awareness Week.  After rejecting a bunch of other monsters, they ultimately settle on Swamp Man, since it’s capable of “turning healthy, dry land into a repulsive, polluted swamp”.  While Finster proceeds to bring the monster to life, Lord Zedd decides to distract our heroes with some Putty Patrollers.

We then transition back to Angel Grove High School as our main group decide to film their nature video over at Angel Grove City Park.  Suddenly, they’re met upon by a group of Putty Patrollers as they proceed to engage them.  This time however, the Putties actually manage to put up a fierce fight as they give our main teens some trouble.  Thankfully, they’re able to rebound and defeat their otherworldly foes.  While Lord Zedd, Goldar, Squatt and Baboo are bummed that their foot soldiers were once again defeated, they learn that Finster has just teleported their newest monster to Earth.  Shortly afterwards, our main group has just come off of their triumph over the Putty Patrollers and are about to head out to the park.  However, a bystander tells them that they can’t go there since he’s just heard a news report on the radio about it.  From there, the newscast mentions that the surrounding area has been getting transformed into “a smelly, gray-green morass” and that some picnickers had managed to escape there in time.  Shortly after the guy takes his leave, our main group wonders if this is another scheme from Lord Zedd.  Just then, they get contacted by Zordon who confirms their suspicion before telling them to teleport to the Command Center for a debriefing.

Once they arrive, Zordon has them look at the Viewing Globe while informing them that Swamp Man’s destruction has created toxic wetlands and that prolonged exposure will gravely harm every single being on Earth.  While he also mentions that the materials that make up their uniforms will protect them for a while, they must defeat this monster before it transforms the entire globe into “poisonous ooze”.  Once they morph, they proceed to engage Swamp Man and even try to blast him (with what’s supposed to be their Blade Blasters), but they’re unable to affect it while they’re force to dodge its toxic-filled shots.

From there, Swamp Man grows in size and tells our heroes to run away in order to await their doom.  Fortunately, they refuse to comply as they summon their Thunderzords before Rocky tells his teammates that he and Kimberly will use their firepower to solidify the moist ground while the rest of the team attacks their foe.  While they carry out their plan, Lord Zedd laughs at their attempt to defeat his monster before he has Swamp Man grow even more.  As such, the Rangers bring their Zords together in order to form the Thunder Megazord.  However, Swamp Man blasts the ground around it in order to prevent our heroes from having proper leverage to move around.  With the main group finding themselves in their darkest hour, Rocky says that he has a plan, but they’ll need Tommy’s help in order to pull it off.

Over at the Youth Center, Tommy has been studying hard for his science test before a fellow classmate decides to give him a break by providing him with a beverage.  Just then, his wrist communicator beeps before he excuses himself.  Once he finds a secluded place, Zordon informs him that his fellow Rangers need his help, specifically his White Tigerzord since it will provide a key role within the fight.  Later, the White Ranger arrives at the battle within his White Tigerzord as he tells the Red Ranger that Zordon has filled him in on their plan.  As such, he has the White Tigerzord grab a downed power line and hand it off to the Thunder Megazord in order for it to pull itself out.  From there, they wrap the cable around Swamp Man and tie it up before they blast the monster to bits.  While Lord Zedd is once again bummed that he lost another monster and vows to destroy our heroes some day, the Rangers plan to stay put in order to make sure that no bystander gets caught within Swamp Man’s mess.  Just then, they get contacted by Zordon who congratulates them for their victory before he assures them that a backup system allowed their city to maintain its electric power despite the recent battle.  Afterwards, Tommy tells his teammates that he’s studied enough for his test and would now like to join them for their ecology video, to which they’re ecstatic by his decision.

We then cut to a few days later where our main group has completed their ecology video.  In it, they talk about “the ecological benefits of sunlight”, especially after the Power Rangers cleaned up Swamp Man’s mess.  Afterwards, the two judges are impressed by their video and consider it as a strong candidate for national broadcast.   Afterwards, Bulk and Skull come in as Mr. Caplan asks them why they didn’t turn in their video on time.  Despite that, he takes their tape before our main teens notice that they’re incredibly clean, which makes them itch all over before they mention that they’ve been showering multiple times ever since they made their video.  From there, their tape gets played as Skull gets shown in his tree costume while he awkwardly delivers some basic tree facts.  Suddenly, Swamp Man shoots the surrounding area and causes him to sink into the ground.  Afterwards, Bulk says that they’ll erase their embarrassing footage, especially since the Power Rangers managed to recover it.  Thankfully, the judges tell them that they would like to use it in a national broadcast as well.  However, Issue 4 ends with them finding out that they plan on using it on “America’s Most Embarrassing Home Videos”.

Issue 5 (“Grounded”) opens with our main group looking to attend a wild west show that’s currently in town.  Just as Adam Park convinces Billy to ask Tommy if he’s also going, Oliver is actually ahead of him as he manages to ask Kimberly if she’s going as well.  Unfortunately, she says that she can’t because she’s grounded.  She elaborates by mentioning that she went “a teeny” over budget at the mall and it made her stepfather upset.  Just then, Bulk and Skull step in as Bulk says that if he was in her shoes, then he would do whatever he wanted just because the current dad isn’t the original.  Aisha & Kimberly rebut by mentioning that he’s still Kimmy’s father and that he still deserves respect.  After her friends head off to class, Skull then tries to ask her out to the wild west show, to which Kimberly reminds him that she’s still grounded.  During this, Bulk and Skull weren’t paying attention to where they were going as they trip over a janitor’s mobile trash can.

Over on his lunar base, Lord Zedd has overseen all of this and gets mad over how his adversaries are able to live normal lives outside of their Power Ranger duties as if he meant nothing to them.  Goldar demands to go after them, but Zedd declines his request before he tells Finster to make a monster that’s in line with the wild west show that’s going on within the city.  Because he anticipated this, he presents his master with a cowboy-looking creation called Kid Zippo who’s able to shoot Zip Rays.  As such, Lord Zedd gives him the necessary approval.  We then shift ahead to after school as Billy mentions how because Kimberly won’t be able to attend the wild west show with them, Tommy has decided to perform karate iterations instead.  Just then, the group gets contacted by Zordon who tells them that a monster is on the prowl within Angel Grove City Park.  As such, they should head to the Command Center for a debriefing.  Shortly after Rocky realizes that their new fiend is in the same area that the wild west show is at, they proceed to teleport away.  Shortly after they arrive, Zordon tells them that it’ll take their combined might in order to prevail over their opponent.  When Alpha 5 asks them where Kimberly is at, Rocky says that her parents won’t let her leave their house before Billy tells Zordon to contact her himself.  As such, he calls up Kimberly and learns why she’s grounded.  She offers to teleport to them since her stepdad is closely watching her bedroom door, but Zordon tells her that she can’t go against her parent’s rule.  As such, he’ll contact Tommy and have him fight in her place.  Afterwards, he presents Kid Zippo upon the Viewing Globe and tells his fellow Power Rangers that the fiend shoots Zip Rays that they must avoid.  From there, he tells them that Oliver will be joining them shortly and that he doesn’t know what would happen if they were hit by the Zip Ray.  Our heroes then morph into their uniforms before they confront Kid Zippo with their Blade Blasters.  They manage to dodge his Zip Rays, but their own shots are unable to affect him.  Meanwhile, Lord Zedd, Goldar, Squatt and Baboo oversee the battle as they await to see what happens once their monster manages to strike with its Zip Ray.

Shortly afterwards, Tommy teleports in as the White Ranger.  Unfortunately, he, Adam, Billy and Aisha get hit by Kid Zippo’s Zip Rays.  Rocky tries to charge at him with his Power Sword, but he also gets hit by a Zip Ray.  Shortly after Kid Zippo heads out, it’s then revealed that the Zip Ray had only hit our main group hard enough to de-morph them.  They then try to figure out how they’re going to properly go after him again, to which Billy has an idea.  He says that because their monster looks like a cowboy, they’ll need to use “a motif reminiscent of America’s aboriginal population”, to which Aisha says that they’ll need to fight in the Native American style.  As such, they realize that they need Kimberly and her Power Bow.

Later, they make it back to the Command Center as Tommy explains their situation and that they require Kimberly’s help.  However, Zordon denies their request due to it going against basic family order.  Also, they can’t reveal their secret identities to Kimmy’s parents (especially since it’s one of the three rules mentioned at the end of “Day Of The Dumpster”).  Despite this conundrum, he still believes that the Rangers will figure out a way to solve this problem.  Later, they make their way to Kimberly’s house as Tommy tells his teammates that he’s already met her stepdad and that he’s a reasonable guy.  As such, he’ll do all of the talking.  Once Kimmy’s stepfather answers the door, Oliver tells him that they need her help on a special project this afternoon and that they’re willing to compromise on a deal.  After he lets them in, the stepdad says that while he’s calmed down ever since he saw the credit card bills, Kimberly still has to serve her punishment.  Tommy then offers to paint their garage alongside his friends this Saturday if Kimberly is allowed to go with them.  While the stepfather does admit that it needs to be painted, he can’t allow Oliver to take his daughter’s punishment for her.  Just then, Kimberly comes in as Tommy lets her know of the “special project” that they need her help on.  Ultimately, her stepdad tells Oliver that she can go with him and their friends today if she takes responsibility for the work.  Not to mention, he won’t mind if she’s able to convince “anyone” into helping them.  Now that they’ve reached a compromise, our main group find a private place amongst the trees in order to morph.  Meanwhile, Lord Zedd has noticed this as he uses his special grenade in order to make Kid Zippo grow.

As such, the Power Rangers summon their Thunderzords and combine them in order to create the Thunder Megazord.  From there, they set their plan into motion as Kimberly takes her place on top of their combined Zord and readies her Power Bow while Kid Zippo prepares to fire a Zip Ray.  In the end, her arrow is able to go right through the opposing beam and jam her foe’s giant hand-shaped gun, causing it to fall over and explode in defeat.  And so, the story ends at the Command Center as Zordon congratulates his team for “working within the system”.  From there, Alpha 5 shares what he thinks the word “Ballistic” means (since it was a running gag throughout the issue), only to learn that his assumption was wrong.

We’re not yet done with this issue, since we now have a back-up story that weaves about a “Stranger In A Strange Town”.  We kick things off with our main group taking part in a sky-diving venture.  After they freefall for a couple of seconds, they then attempt to join hands and form an aerial circle.  Just as she’s about to join up with her teammates, Aisha gets suddenly blown away as she then finds herself within some dark clouds.  Once she gets flown out of the ominous veil, she then deploys her parachute and lands within the middle of town.  After noticing that the civilians didn’t seem to react to her sudden drop-in, she then tries to talk to some of them, only to discover that they can’t seem to hear her.  She then decides to head to her house in order to meet up with her family.

She eventually reaches her home and uses the doorbell to see if her family is living there, but she gets stunned by the fact that she sees herself in there and even she’s unable to see her.  As our main Aisha walks off, she thinks how her current situation is somehow perpetuated by the dark wind and that she’s possibly been sent through time.  Just then, she gets spotted by a group of civilians who did notice that she parachuted into their city yet assume that she intends to replace their Aisha.  As such, they chase after her.  While she’s being pursued, she then notices that the whole setting is changing around her and looking more antiquated.  After she gets pelted by a rock, she soon comes across Lord Zedd himself.  However, he claims to actually be Rocky since he was at the library with her a day ago and that she was working on a book report while changing her mind on her featured topic to focus on Jean-Paul Sartae’s “The Stranger”.  Aisha confirms it before he tells her that they can talk at a far-more private location.  Specifically, they head over to “Zedd’s Own Earthly Headquarters”.  Once they head inside courtesy of Alpha 5, Aisha continues to question her supposed teammate’s strange behavior, even saying that they’re not Power Rangers.  However, he brings up a particular group of people upon his Viewing Globe and asks her who they are.

She tells him that it’s her friends, which includes Rocky.  Despite him telling her that he’s the true Rocky while the guy pretending to be Rocky is actually Lord Zedd, Aisha doesn’t buy it and tells Zedd that he created this fake world in order to shake up what she thought was real and what was fake.  Not only that, but she also says that “The Stranger” is actually Rocky’s favorite novel and that it was written by Albert Camus, not Jean-Paul Sartae.  With the illusion having now fallen apart and that Goldar was disguised as Alpha 5, Lord Zedd proceeds to magically hold her in place and says that he had intended to confuse her to the point where her trust would be effectively destroyed & that she would attack her teammates.  Over in another part of town, the rest of Aisha’s comrades reach the spot where she landed before they notice that the civilians are charging in a certain direction, hoping that it’ll lead them to where Lord Zedd is supposedly holding their teammate.  Meanwhile, Aisha is unable to morph and defend herself while Lord Zedd intends to smite her.  Suddenly, their whole base begins to rumble before they get met upon by some Thunderzords, forcing them to retreat.  With Aisha saved by her fellow Rangers, the comic ends with her explaining how she wound up here in the first place.

Issue 6 (“Attack Of The Gargantutron”) begins with Rocky dreaming about the Thunder Megazord punching a giant Putty Patroller before he wakes up and realizes that his real-life Power Ranger duties are bleeding into his dreams.  After he has some breakfast (while his mother and sister, the latter of whom is named Lindsey, notice that he’s a little tired), he hops onto the school bus and meets up with his comrades as he discovers that they’re all having the same kind of dreaming problem that he has.  Kimberly then believes that this is all a major warning for them to remain on high alert and be ready to morph again at a moment’s notice.  Over at the Command Center, Zordon notices that his robotic assistant is a bit concerned as he asks him about it.  Alpha 5 says that he’s not worried about the Power Rangers’ gear & tech, yet his major concern stems from the job potentially impeding upon their personal lives and that Lord Zedd could find a way to take advantage.  Over at the lunar base, Finster asks his master why they’re not concentrating their offensive efforts on Zordon himself, to which Lord Zedd says that he can’t find said figure, yet it’s the Power Rangers that’re physically able to stop his world-conquering plans.  As such, he wants to continually assault them until he’s learned where Zordon is located in order to finally smite him.  He’s also furious that despite being several millennia old, a small group of young adults are able to constantly foil him.  As such, he’s through with wasting time and wants to unleash a powerful being called Gargantutron.  Even though Finster says that he has lots of Space Putty, he’s concerned about said monster due to it requiring its foes to fall for its deceptive ways.  Lord Zedd says that he’s expecting the Rangers to get tricked by “its frightening and foreboding appearance”.  As such, they begin to prep it for its launch to Earth.

Over at the Command Center, Zordon and Alpha 5 detect the Gargantutron’s arrival upon the planet before Alpha 5 sends out the call to their Power Rangers.  However, Rocky, Billy and Adam are in the middle of their science class when their wrist communicators start beeping.  During their lesson, the teacher mentions the Geiger-Muller Counter and its ability to detect radioactivity.  Rocky manages to turn his communicator off (which is in his Morpher for some reason) and avoid some serious discipline from his teacher (who calls him Rocky Jones for some reason).  Over in Gym Class, Kimberly (who has the last name of Smith again for some reason) and Aisha are receiving Alpha 5’s signal during their in-class volleyball match.  Even though their session ends fairly soon afterwards, they’re unable to answer the call due to them having to attend another class in a short amount of time.  Back at the Command Center, Alpha 5 says that this is exactly what he feared, to which Zordon says that their current situation should have a solution for them.  As if on cue, Ms. Appleby warns Principal Caplan that the Gargantutron is approaching the school.  As such, he gives the order for all teachers and students to evacuate the facility.  This then allows our main group to find a hiding spot and morph before they summon their Thunderzords in order to confront the mighty monster.

The Gargantutron proceeds to run across a vast distance while causing lots of destruction in its path.  Despite their urgency to stop the monster, Rocky tells his team that they must save the people that the creature has put into harm’s way.  As such, they get to work as Rocky uses his Red Dragon’s eye beams to disintegrate a rock-filled avalanche.  With Kimberly, she uses her Firebird to save some people at a sports field from falling into a giant hole.  Over with Adam, he uses his Lion to pull some downed electric wires away from a school bus filled with children before he carries the vehicle to safety.  Finally, Billy is within his Unicorn as he spots an express train that’s heading for a cavern due to the monster destroying the tracks upon a nearby bridge.  Thankfully, Aisha uses her Griffin to stop the train from plummeting to its doom.

Billy then spots the Gargantutron before the Rangers bring their Zords together to form the Thunder Megazord and easily dismantle the being with a single punch.  While they’re equally stunned that their foe went down so swiftly, Lord Zedd says that his monster has distracted our heroes with its destruction while it actually managed to set up its “exact strategic position”.  In particular, the monster has a hidden nuclear device that’s been activated by the Earth’s rotation, causing it to unleash a massive earthquake that’s devastating to Angel Grove.  Back in the desert, Billy tells his teammates that this nuclear-powered behemoth couldn’t have been defeated that quickly.  Just then, Rocky realizes that the true danger is within the monster.  Cranston also makes that discovery as the two of them teleport to their high school and retrieve the Geiger Counter.  Billy detects the nuclear device within the Gargantutron’s right arm before the Power Rangers uses the Thunder Megazord to throw the monster’s arm out into space, where it ultimately lands on the moon much to Lord Zedd’s frustration.  We then shift ahead to sometime later where the Power Rangers are being praised at Angel Grove High School before they take their leave.  From there, the story ends back at the lunar base where the Gargantutron’s nuclear device caused extensive damage to their headquarters, yet thankfully shut down before it caused any serious tremors.  From there, Lord Zedd orders Finster to clean their place up.

We then move into our last back-up story for this mini-series as our main group will be tempted to “Shop ‘Till You Drop…Dead”.  We begin with Lord Zedd hearing that Finster has something different in mind in order to take down the Power Rangers.  Ultimately, he reveals that he’s created a brand-new mall called Zedd Plaza.  While Lord Zedd is initially baffled by this idea, Finster explains that it contains several booby traps that will be sprung upon unsuspecting shoppers.  Then once the Rangers show up to save them, that’s when they’ll unleash their “secret weapon”.  As such, Lord Zedd approves of this idea and gives the order to set it in motion.  Later, Kimberly is at her house while showing off a dress that she recently bought to Aisha.  While Campbell is concerned with her friend’s obsessive shopping, Hart brushes it off before she mentions that a new shopping center called the Angel Grove Plaza Mall is about to open.  As such, she wants to take her friend and their fellow guys to it.