Marvel Comics

Tales From The Morphin Grid: A Power Rangers Comics Retrospective (Part 2)

Hello, my friends.  Even though we’ve defeated several internal & external foes within our lives, we must still make the necessary changes to order to properly take on future challenges.  Never was that truer than what our Morphinomonal group of teenagers with attitude would face while within the Big Red House of M.  On that note, I welcome you back to the…

Last time, we began our journey within Hamilton Comics’ 14 overall issues of content.  Throughout this era, we’ve explored the humble beginnings of this comics license as our teenagers with attitude went on book-length ventures that could easily be shown as regular episodes.  This time around, it will be a far-more famous company that will get their time to shine with the property as they call upon their creative-minded Zords and weave some stories for the group to go on.

As far back as 1978, Marvel and the genre of tokusatsu have had an intertwining relationship.  After all, they teamed up with the Toei Company to make a Japanese Spider-Man show where the Web-Slinger fought various monsters, especially within his own giant robot.  Both sides would collaborate to various degrees before 1985 rolled around and they planned on making an adapted Super Sentai show for America, though it ultimately fell through due to the lack of any interest from the major U.S. networks.  Eventually, Marvel would acquire the Power Rangers comics license in 1995 and they began their tenure by translating a certain cinematic outing.

Released on June 30, 1995, this film saw Bryan Spicer make his feature film directorial debut with a screenplay written by Arne Olsen who co-wrote the story alongside John Kamps.  Made on a $20 million budget, it went on to gross over $66 million despite mainly receiving negative reviews from critics.  Even still, it received a lot of tie-in materials which includes our first contribution from Marvel Comics.

This is an unusual situation, since there wasn’t just a single comic book adaptation.  Not only was there a regular drawn version, but there was also a photo version that took screenshots in order to recreate the events of the movie.  Both comics came out around July 1995 and had different teams working on them.  The drawn version saw Nel Yomtov in the writer’s chair and Ron Lim handling the pencil work.  Inking duties would be given to Mark McKenna, Harry Candelario, Jimmy Palmiotti & Mick Gray, while Mike Worley, Paul Becton and George Roussos took care of the colors.  As for the photo comic, Ralph Macchio served as its writer, while Wayne Green and Steve Bunche were credited with “Production”.  As for the role of Letterer, that would be handed over to Ed Lazellari, Joe Rosen, Lorina Mapa, Susan Crespi, Caroline Wells, Matt Maley and Kenny Lopez.  As for how they handle the film’s plot, let’s see how they’re similar and different from each other.

Both adaptations open with our main group, along with Bulk and Skull, taking part in a charity skydive (known in the movie as the Angel Grove Jump-A-Thon).  Only the drawn version elaborates on how this whole event will go to financially preserving the observatory.

After our main six figures manage to hit the bullseye upon their individual landings, they meet up with a young boy named Fred and his father as the kid mentions that Ryan’s Comet is passing by Earth in two days’ time.  As our teens prepare to go get some lunch, Tommy then wonders where Bulk and Skull went.  It’s then revealed that they sailed way off course and landed in a construction site.  Both adaptations then show the crew unearthing an otherworldly egg beneath a strange steel plate.  The drawn version then has a worker trying to examine it, but he gets blasted by it.

Both adaptations then have our main group rollerblading towards Ernie’s Juice Bar for lunch before they get contacted and teleport to the Command Center.  Both have Alpha 5 mentioning how the sensors “have been hit by a cataclysmic surge of evil”, to which Zordon tells them that it’s Ivan Ooze.  He explains that six millenniums ago, he had a terrifying grasp on the world.  Specifically, he got rid of the planet’s adult population and then brainwashed the youth into following his evil path.  The drawn version mentions that Ivan Ooze was lured into a chamber before getting buried underground by his warrior faction known as the Order of the Meledan.  Both adaptations have him mention that Ivan Ooze’s chamber has been accidentally discovered and that he wants his team to be very careful with returning the fiend to “the depths” before he’s released, due to him being an evil being that’s ‘beyond all imagination”.

That night over at the construction site, Rita Repulsa, Lord Zedd, Goldar and Mordant teleport in as Zedd mentions that he’s spent two millenniums searching for the otherworldly egg before he opens it up and frees Ivan Ooze.  He does say “The Ooze Is Back” before asking Lord Zedd how he can repay him, to which Zedd says that he wants Ooze to smite Zordon so that he can “reign supreme”.  Ivan then says that he looks forward to obliterating the familiar Eltarian before Ooze is left to his own devices and even mentions that he smells an “odious stench” that turns out to be “teenagers”.  The drawn adaptation then has our main group arrive in civilian form and discover that the egg-shaped HyperLock chamber has been opened before they’re met upon by a security guard, only for him to immediately reveal that he’s Ivan Ooze.  From there, he sends his henchmen known as Ooze Men after our heroes, forcing them to morph in order to properly fight them.

Over at the Command Center, Zordon & Alpha 5 discover that the Rangers arrived too late to stop their foe and that Ivan is on his way to their location.  The drawn adaptation has Alpha 5 reminding Zordon that no one can enter their base without a Power Coin.  However, Ivan manages to ooze through the security door and its security protocols.  Afterwards, he casts Alpha 5 out of the way before he creates cataclysmic damage to the Command Center.  During this, Zordon tells Ooze that he’s previously defeated him and that he won’t get away with this, to which Ivan says that he “already have”.  Back at the construction site, the fully morphed Rangers ultimately manage to defeat the Ooze Men.

The drawn adaptation then has them suddenly de-morphed before they return to the Command Center and find the base in tatters.  They also see Zordon lying wearily as they realize that because he’s outside of the time warp, he’s begun to rapidly age.  He tells them that “the power” has been destroyed, as well as their Zords, weapons and uniforms.  Despite this grim outlook, he wants them to stay strong.  Tommy says that they must do something in order to not lose Zordon, to which Alpha 5 mentions a legend where a vast power is on a far-away and highly dangerous planet called Phaedos.  The Rangers tell him that they have to try, or else Zordon will die, and no one will survive Ivan Ooze’s wrath.  Alpha 5 ultimately agrees but warns them that he only has enough power to send them there and not enough to bring them back.  As such, he wishes them good luck before teleporting them there.

Over on the lunar base, Rita is furious that Ivan failed to stop our heroes before the drawn adaptation has her, Lord Zedd, Goldar and Mordant noticing our main group teleporting towards “the Great Power”.  Ultimately, both versions have Ooze showing up before he zaps Rita & Zedd and shrinks them down into a snow globe.  From there, he spits some ooze before it forms into a group of bird henchmen called Tenga Warriors as he orders them to head towards Phaedos in order to smite our heroes.  We then have a noticeable difference between the two adaptations as the drawn version cuts to the next day at the Angel Grove Chemical Plant where Ivan tells Goldar and Mordant that he plans to conquer the world by having Angel Grove’s children get recruited into his own army.  Specifically, he’ll tempt them towards their wicked ways with “Ivan’s Ooze”.  As for the children’s parents, he’ll turn them into mind-controlled pawns (or zombies as he calls them) in order to unearth “the tools of their destruction”.  As for the photo adaptation, it moves up a scene that happens a little bit later where Ivan dresses up as a wizard and hands his ooze out to children in order to have them unintentionally help him rule the world.  Fred had already gotten his own jar of ooze as his dad comes home and decides to check it out by sticking his fingers into the goop, only for him to become brainwashed alongside the other parents as they begin to help Ivan send out more ooze while also digging up some “mysterious giant mechanical parts”.

Over on Phaedos, both comics have our heroes doing some exploration before they’re met upon by the Tenga Warriors and proceed to struggle against them.  Fortunately, an Amazon-esque woman comes in and chases them away by turning her staff into a pair of Whistling Sticks and waving them around fast enough in order to send a piercing shriek that messes with their hearing.  Despite helping our group, she tells them to leave and return to where they came from.  Once they mention Zordon, she reveals that she knows him before she introduces herself as Dulcea.  While the drawn adaptation has Tommy about to explain their situation to her, the photo version has our team telling her that Ivan Ooze has been freed, to which she says that their world will be doomed if they don’t follow her.

Staying with the photo comic, Ivan Ooze, Goldar and Mordant are overlooking the mind-controlled parents digging up his monsters at the construction site.  In a moment that actually happens a little later in the film, the Tenga Warriors return and admit their defeat at the sound of Whistling Sticks.  Ivan realizes that they were foiled by Dulcea and that she can potentially lead our heroes to the “Great Power”.  As such, he orders the brainwashed parents to unearth the exoskeletons of his two monsters called Hornitor and Scorpitron.  Unbeknownst to him, Fred has been overhearing all of this before he heads out to find help.  Back with Ooze, he punishes his Tenga Warriors by shooting some lightning at them, causing them to explode into a massive pile of feathers.

We then return to Phaedos as both versions have Dulcea leading the Rangers to some ruins (known in the movie as the “Ruins of the Ninjetti Temple”) while mentioning her past history with Zordon, since he helped free her planet from Ivan’s wrath.  She then points our heroes towards the Monolith since it’s where they’ll find the “Great Power” (or the “Power of the Universe” as she calls it in the film).  However, it’s heavily guarded and all who’ve previously tried to enter it have never returned.  To help them, she gathers them around a campfire and prepares a special ceremony that will unleash “the Sacred Animals of the Ninjetti” within each of them.  Ultimately, they get transformed into Ninja Warriors with their own animal spirit.  Tommy gets the Falcon, Rocky has the Ape, Kimberly gets the Crane, Adam has the Frog, Aisha gets the Bear and Billy gets the Wolf.  Dulcea then tells them that “anything is possible” with this kind of power before she sends them off on their own.  As for why she doesn’t go with them, the photo comic keeps the explanation that she would rapidly age should she step past this plateau.

The drawn adaptation then decides to backtrack to the part in the movie where Dulcea starts to lead our heroes towards the ruins as Fred’s father comes home, finds his son’s ooze, touches it and becomes mind-controlled alongside the other adults, which would explain how Fred secretly followed his father and the rest of the brainwashed parents to the construction yard.  From there, the Tenga Warriors return to admit their defeat at Dulcea’s hands before Ivan blasts them to feathery bits.  Either way, both versions have Ooze exclaiming how once he has both of his monsters up and running, he intends to “annihilate Angel Grove and then the universe”.  While Fred wonders where the Power Rangers are, Mordant activates a lever (as opposed to a circular valve in the film) as the ooze begins to power up the two monsters before the drawn adaptation has Ivan telling the brainwashed parents that he’s become tired of their “ugly faces and dull personalities”.  As such, he wants them to head towards the construction site and leap to their doom.  As for the photo comic, it includes him using his lightning to charge up his dual creatures.

Back on Phaedos, the photo adaptation has our heroes progressing on their trek.  Suddenly, they’re attacked by a sentient skeletal triceratops before Tommy ultimately defeats it.

From there, both versions have the main group arriving at the Monolith before a small group of gargoyle warriors come to life and engage them.  After a fierce struggle, our heroes manage to defeat their foes.  From there, a massive door opens up to reveal a stone pyramid with a seal that has their sacred animals on it.  It proceeds to emit a bright light upon the group before it helps them unleash their animal spirits and bequeath them with the Great Power, allowing them to become Power Rangers again and also have the power to teleport back to Earth.

Upon their return, they notice that Ivan Ooze’s monsters Hornitor and Scorpitron are causing lots of destruction upon Angel Grove.  As such, they summon their new Ninjazords in order to engage the monsters.  Over in the drawn adaptation, Fred manages to get Bulk, Skull and a large group of kids to help him save their parents from imminent doom.  As such, they all hop onto a monorail train and take off towards their destination.

Back with the Power Rangers, they engage the monsters in a tense struggle.  Unfortunately for Tommy, his Falconzord suffers a major hit from Scorpitron and is forced to sit out while he attempts to fix it.  Fortunately, the rest of the team is able to smite Scorpitron.  With his Hornitor on the ropes, both comics have Ivan Ooze deciding to merge with it and become the Ivan Ectomorphicon.  As such, Adam, Kimberly, Billy, Aisha and Rocky manage to bring their Zords together and form the Ninja Megazord as the final battle ensues.  Not included in either comic is where the Ivan Ectomorphicon steps on the monorail track, causing Tommy to not dock with his teammates yet in order to save Fred and company from their own doom with his Falconzord.

In the drawn adaptation, Ivan is able to nearly cripple the newly formed Megazord.  Fortunately, Tommy was able to rejoin his friends’ unified Zords to become the Ninja FalconMegazord (or the Ninja MegaFalconzord in the comic).  While the drawn adaptation has Fred leading his massive group to prevent the mind-controlled parents from walking towards their own demise, both comics have the Rangers luring Ivan out into space.  After a tense struggle, our heroes manage to place their foe into the path of Ryan’s Comet, causing him to get permanently obliterated.  Back in the drawn comic, Fred (with Bulk and Skull’s help in the film) manages to use a firefighting hose to spray the parents back to their senses.  While Alpha 5 cheers for the day being saved, a newly freed Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd are about to unleash their wrath upon Goldar for turning on them (as well as Mordant, since this is essentially the movie’s mid-credits scene).

Despite our heroes’ massive victory, they return to the Command Center and discover Zordon in critical condition.  Thankfully (and in a payoff moment to Dulcea’s earlier line to them), they form a circle around him and use their Great Power to restore him back to full health, in addition to repairing their base.  We then shift to a glorious evening in Angel Grove as the drawn adaptation has Bulk and Skull fabricating their recent heroic exploit to a crowd of people.  Nearby, our heroes thank Fred for his help and even tell him that he may become a Power Ranger someday.  And so, both comics end with the skies being lit up with fireworks as one of them even spells out a message thanking the team for their valiant effort.

We now shift our focus from dual adaptations of a singular movie to Marvel’s biggest contribution to the franchise.  Published between August 1995 and February 1996, this seven-issue venture contains two stories per comics.  As for the overall creative team that managed to put these tales together, we have Fabian Nicieza (Issues 1, 2, 4, 5, & 6), Scott Lobdell (Issues 1 & 3), Frank Lovece (Issue 2), Barry Dutter (Issues 3, 5 & 6), Tom Daning (Issue 4), Grant Miehiem (Issue 7) and Darick Robertson (Issue 7) on writing duties.  Over in the artist’s chair, that would be filled by Ron Lim (Issue 1, 2 & 4-6), Mark McKenna (Issue 1, 2 & 5), Jake Jacobsen (Issue 1), Harry Candelario (Issue 2), Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko (Issues 2 & 4), Jim Amash (Issue 2), Scott “Pond Scum” Elmer (Issues 2 & 6), Rurik Tyler (Issue 3), Mike Halbleib (Issue 3), Bart Schmitz (Issue 3), Phil Sheehy (Issues 3 & 7), Jim Sanders III (Issues 5 & 6), Chris Taylor (Issue 5), Sam Delarosa (Issue 6), Wayne Murray (Issue 6), Loretta Krol (Issue 6), Grant Mieheim (Issue 7), Darick Robertson (Issue 7) and Randy Emberlin (Issue 7).  As for the Season 3-esque adventures that our main team would come across throughout this series, let’s get back to action and find out.

We kick things off with a technological tale called “Reach Out And Crash Someone!” as we open at the Internet Festival over at Angel Grove High School’s Gymnasium.  Billy explains to his teammates that the computer modem allows them to talk with people all across the world.  Within the local online conference room, he’s currently talking to several teens from ten different countries, including a specific Australian boy.  Either way, Cranston expresses how wonderful it is to continue learning about things outside of a regular school day.  Meanwhile, Bulk and Skull are also present as they try to figure out how to have some fun.  Just then, they overhear a conversation where Mr. Sillows gives Peter a defective computer disk that has a glitch on it and tells him to not use it.  Peter then mentions that it could’ve caused their computers to produce “garbled messages” before he’s followed by Bulk & Skull as they decide to use the defective disk in order to make it seem like Billy is sending out a wrong message.  Unbeknownst to Peter, the disk falls out of his jacket pocket just as he’s hanging his jacket up on a coat rack.  Skull manages to acquire the glitch-filled disk before he discreetly places it into a disc drive as he and Bulk eagerly await their prank to prevail.  As for Billy, the glitch-filled disk begins to take hold as he notices that his message about the movie “Crocodile Dundee” gets mistaken for a silly question about where they live.  Unbeknownst to him, Lord Zedd is overseeing this as he dislikes our main group being “nice and friendly” to others before he comes up with a plan to make them miserable while also conquering the world.  Because the human race is connected to each other through computers, he decides to create an otherworldly computer virus that he can spread throughout the globe.  Just then, the sentient group of viruses known as “Crash-Bugs” begin to pop out of the various computer screens within the internet festival as our group realizes that this is being caused by their familiar foe.  They then proceed to hide underneath the bleachers before they morph into their outfits and engage the technological terror.  However, there’s too many Crash-Bugs for them to deal with before Billy manages to reach the gymnasium’s main power switch and shuts it off, disabling the computers while also defeating the sentient viruses.

Despite the small-scale victory, Cranston says that their mission is most likely not done.  From there, Kimberly receives a message from Zordon as she tells her teammates that the Crash-Bugs are popping out of the world’s computers, especially those that were linked to their school’s internet festival.  As such, Tommy tells his teammates to use their Zords and individually head out in order for them to “squash some bugs”.  From there, they summon their Ninjazords as they proceed to eliminate the numerous Crash-Bugs.  Back with Lord Zedd, he sees this happening and mentions how the Power Rangers can’t be everywhere across the world, especially because of the constantly open computer modems as he uses the information superhighway to the planet’s disadvantage.  From there, Tommy discovers and tells his comrades that Lord Zedd has taken the internet system’s vast energy to create a big “Worldnet Monster”.  As such, the Rangers bring their Zords together in order to form the Ninja FalconMegazord and fight the being.  With the creature giving them a fierce challenge, they also run the risk of harming some nearby citizens who’re unable to get away from their scuffle.  Fortunately, Billy and Kimberly realize that they could convince the world’s kids who were connected to their school’s internet festival to help them out as the Pink Ranger sends them a message to turn their modems off.  Thankfully, they manage to shut them down and cause the Worldnet Bug to get vanquished.  And so, the story ends with the team celebrating their triumph while Tommy says that as long as the human race continues to properly talk to each other, then they can understand each other and be better off as well.

We then move into the back-up story as our familiar team will find themselves dealing with a certain struggle known as “The Copy Catastrophe”.  This particular tale begins with the Power Rangers fighting Lord Zedd’s newest monster called “Copy Cat-Astrophe” within Angel Grove High’s gymnasium during a Pep Rally.  However, the creature is able to fend our heroes off while also getting in some vicious hits upon Adam and Kimberly, even though the crowd managed to safely evacuate.  After she receives a vicious blow, Hart thinks about how all of this came about in only a short amount of time before we transition back to our group meeting up in the gym for the upcoming Pep Rally.  A blonde-haired (for some reason) Rocky then mentions that this is a wonderful opportunity for them and their fellow students to support their school, to which Billy says that other academic pursuits don’t have a similar means of drumming up the same kind of cheerful support that their athletics programs get.  Just then, their principal (who’s most likely supposed to be Caplan) begins the Pep Rally before he suddenly finds himself getting duplicated.  From there, the featured fiend appears before announcing that he’s here to smite the Power Rangers.  After Bulk & Skull try and fail to engage the monster, our heroes manage to duck underneath the bleachers in order to morph.

We then shift back to the present as Aisha helps Kimberly up before informing her that the monster has absorbed every single duplicate that it’s made of their principal and is growing as a result.  After the creature smashes through the roof and forces our heroes outside, they proceed to summon their Ninjazords before they come together in order to form the Ninja FalconMegazord (even though it’s actually the Shogun MegaFalconzord and that it can only be formed mostly with the Shogunzords).  A struggle ensues as Copy Cat-Astrophe tries to absorb their combiner Zord’s power.  Fortunately, they have more than enough power to spare as they manage to overload the fiend in order to smite the monster and return their principal back to normal.  And so, the comic ends with him thanking our heroes as he announces that their Pep Rally will now become a Power Rally.  Rocky then tells Billy that his brain power was equally important in their battle, to which Cranston says that they also worked together as a team.

Issue 2 starts up on a tale that will see our familiar figures fighting a monster upon an unlikely battleground while also “Playing Dirty”.  We open with our main group spending their Saturday morning over at “U-So-Dirty Car Wash” where they’re taking part in their school’s charity car wash and having fun as well.  However, Bulk and Skull are also present for this as a substitute for detention.  Just then, they notice Kimberly trying to operate a hose before Bulk decides to completely open the valve in order to drench her and Tommy.  Because Hart wasn’t expecting the sudden full force of the water stream, the hose ends up spraying around the immediate area and gets our core group wet.  Despite that, Bulk and Skull are disappointed at them for not being miserable as a result.  Fortunately, Oliver manages to grab onto the hose and get it under control.

Meanwhile, Lord Zedd had overseen all of this as he decides to create a monster that fits the current situation.  From there, he sets his plan in motion as some patrons end up fleeing for their lives before our heroes spot a group of Tenga Warriors drive a monster-esque truck out of the car wash.  With our group in need to morph but no subtle place to head towards in order to change into their uniforms in privacy, they decide to head into the car wash itself in order to morph without anyone else noticing.  Once they emerge from the building, they proceed to fight and defeat their feathery foes.

Following the defeat of his Tenga Warriors, he proceeds to transform the entire car wash itself into a new monster called “Scrubb”, unaware that Bulk and Skull were hiding inside a car that was inside the building.  With their new foe already looming large over them, the Rangers proceed to summon their Ninjazords and bring them together to form the Ninja FalconMegazord in order to fight it.  After being unable to make much progress during their physical tussle, our heroes decide to take a different approach.  After they noticed a nearby mud pond over by the gravel quarry, they’re able to pick Scrubb up with their combiner Zord and throw the being into the muck.  After it emerges from the slick dirt, it then proceeds to frantically attempt to clean itself while it winds up washing itself of Zedd’s dark magic and causes it to revert back into a regular car wash.  After Lord Zedd expresses his anger about getting foiled by a “dirty trick”, our de-morphed group then notice a single car emerging from the car wash before Bulk and Skull tumble out of it completely soaked.  And so, the story ends with Kimberly giving them some towels in order for the two guys to properly dry themselves.

We then get to the backup story where so much trouble is bound to unfold out of “A Simple Misunderstanding”.  This tale begins at a charity event for the local Lady Rangers Scout Troop as the Power Rangers make a special meet-and-greet appearance.  Also in attendance are Bulk and Skull who’re providing some security for the event, since they were members of the Angel Grove Junior Police Force in Season 3.  Not only that, but it was Skull who convinced Bulk to take this assignment out of the promise that they’ll “meet girls”.  Alas, they haven’t had any luck with meeting women ever since they joined the youthful protective group.  During this, Kimberly and Aisha had overheard their dilemma as Campbell says that she feels bad for them.  From there, they head over to talk to them as the Yellow Ranger says that they’re impressed with their courage as junior policemen and that plenty of girls should feel the same way.  She then tells them that they’ll find some ladies who can see them as special and that those lucky ladies could potentially be closer than they expect before she and the Pink Ranger head out.  Afterwards, Bulk and Skull begin to assume that they were talking about Kimberly & Aisha and that they should pursue those women.  Unbeknownst to them, they were being observed by Baboo & Squatt who actually respect them for their responsibly authoritative roles.  Because Lord Zedd doesn’t think too highly of them, they manage to come up with a plan.  Because the Pink & Yellow Rangers told Bulk and Skull that they have something “special” inside, assuming that it’s their secret weapon, they’ll make the bumbling humans inform them about it before they pass said information on to Lord Zedd in order to finally gain some meaningful respect.  Unbeknownst to them, Rito Revolto (who’s actually Rita’s somewhat dimwit brother) overheard them and thinks that the “special” thing about the Rangers that they’re going after is their Power Coins.  After he assumes that the secret weapon is what Baboo & Squatt will be using in order to accomplish their goal, Rito decides to inform Lord Zedd about it.

Later, Bulk & Skull are about to play some bocci in order to prove their expansive tastes towards women.  Suddenly, they notice Baboo and Squatt arriving on Earth before they throw their bocci balls at them and approach them.  Fortunately for Baboo, he says that he and Squatt only want to talk to them about “something special” that concerns the Power Rangers.  He then says that if they talk about it, then they’ll help them hook up with “any girl in the galaxy”.  As such, Bulk accepts before he tells Skull that he has a plan.  Back on the lunar base, Rito informs Lord Zedd about Baboo & Squatt’s plan to steal the Power Coins by using a “secret weapon”.  Zedd thinks that his henchmen are planning to usurp him before he destroys a caged two-headed bird.  After Rito tells him that he’s just zapped and destroyed his sister’s favorite Glork, Lord Zedd then promises to get her a new Glork if he tells him where Baboo & Squatt went.  Rito mentions Chicago before Zedd heads off, to which Revolto naively decides to also usurp the evil emperor as he heads off to Angel Grove.  Meanwhile, Aisha and Kimberly are helping the Girl Scouts make some Endangered Species medallions out of liquid plastic.  Unbeknownst to them, Bulk & Skull have shown up alongside Baboo & Squatt as they give the two monstrous henchmen a container that they can use to extract and contain the Power Rangers’ “something-special-inside”.  Baboo and Squatt aren’t sure that the container is actually an extracting device before they ask where the Rangers are, to which Bulk and Skull point them towards Aisha & Kimberly’s group in order for them to carry out their own plan to “rescue” the ladies so that they can finally gain some romantic traction.  Unlike the Junior Police Officers, Squatt & Baboo are fully aware of the female Rangers’ secret identities as they approach Aisha and Kimberly in order to take their “something-special-inside”.  Our females Rangers then try to figure out how can they morph in order to properly fight the monstrous henchmen, but without revealing their secret identities to the Girl Scouts.

Thankfully, they manage to squirt some liquid metal onto Squatt and Baboo while Bulk & Skull try to arrest them as part of their own plan.  Our females Rangers managed to create enough of a distraction in order to escape alongside the Girl Scouts, while Bulk and Skull have somehow missed the monsters and accidentally handcuffed themselves.  As for Baboo and Squatt, they managed to swipe the Power Coins before Rito comes in and takes them from his devious comrades.  Just then, Lord Zedd comes in and grabs them from Revolto’s hand while scolding him for luring him away.  Suddenly, Rita (who’s been freed from her second space dumpster and has wound up with Zedd as a couple via her own love potion, weird) teleports in and chastises him for trying to smite her brother.  Lord Zedd explains that her “free-loading brother” tried to usurp him, but she calls him out for eradicating her two-headed Glork.  After Zedd admits that he’s always vaporized her Glorks and that he’s constantly replaced them, Squatt tries to tell both of them of the two humans that they’ve captured.  However, they don’t care before Lord Zedd prepares to enact his wrath upon Squatt and Baboo for going behind his back.  Suddenly, they’re all approached by the Power Rangers (thus revealing that Squatt & Babbo only managed to steal a pair of hand-crafted medallions) before they’re all forced to retreat as they teleport away.  And so, Issue 2 ends with the Pink and Yellow Ranger freeing Bulk & Skull from their handcuffs as they tell our female Rangers to never give them any more advice before they flee for their lives.

We now move into Issue 3 as some aquatic terror awaits our heroes in this fathom-filled tale called “I’d Like To Be Under The Sea”.  We begin with Lord Zedd and Goldar observing the Power Rangers as they once again fight a familiar foe known as Pirantishead.  After a while, it manages to escape as our heroes mention that Tommy isn’t with them for this moment before they wonder why this particular creature is trying to steal some fresh water.  Just then, Billy has a revelation as they manage to de-morph and make their way to a marine-themed park called AquaWorld.  After strolling past a performing killer whale named Wally, they reach a “very special display” that contains radioactive piranha that’re in need of being cured.  Billy elaborates by mentioning how these fish had potentially swum past some toxic waste that was carelessly dumped into the ocean.  Just as Adam wonders why Lord Zedd is in need of both sea water and tainted fish, they’re suddenly approached by Pirantishead as they manage to avoid his laser shot.  Afterwards, out heroes morph before they notice that their foe has taken the radioactive fish and managed to jump into a deep pool.

After Rocky, Kimberly and Billy dive in after their foe, Adam wonders why Aisha isn’t joining them, to which she explains that because the bear is her spirit animal, bears are incapable of swimming.  As such, Park tells her to accompany them when she’s able to before he jumps into the pool and rejoins his active teammates.  However, Pirantishead is able to use the water to its advantage as it easily beats our heroes up while also slowing growing due to being in contact with a radioactive piranha.  As Aisha sees her teammates struggling, she decides to look past her spirit animal-seated fear and dive into the pool as well.  With all five Rangers unified, they’re now able to summon their Ninjazords and bring them together to create the Ninja Megazord in order to properly fight the massively sized Pirantishead.  From there, they manage to defeat their monstrous foe within the connected main pool with a massive uppercut as the crowd cheers them for their action.  While Lord Zedd once again gets angry for another failed plan, the story ends back at the aquatic theme park as the Rangers notice that the piranha isn’t radioactive anymore before it leaps into the air alongside Wally for the audience.  From there, they and her teammates thank Aisha for her timely intervention leading to their victory.

As we move into the issue’s backup story, our heroes will now step up to the plate to confront a particular monster who’s a prime candidate for “Most Valuable Slayer!”.   We begin with our main group taking in a softball game before Kimberly notices a young woman named Kelly who’s crying.  She tells them that just because she’s a girl, the boys on the team won’t let her play with them.  As they all take a stroll through the park, our main group assures her that girls are more than capable of exceling at sports just like the guys.  However, Bulk and Skull share their antiquated notion of women being incapable of playing sports before they get told to prove themselves as good athletes.  Thankfully, Bulk whiffs on Skull’s pitch and falls flat on his rear.  Despite getting a hilarious display, our group soon notice that Kelly is still feeling down since she’s already walking away.  Just as they decide to give her a confidence boost, they suddenly notice a new monster flying in to cause some terror as it introduces itself as “Battalor”.  Tommy then tells some nearby citizens to find some help while he and his comrades will stay behind to do what they can.  From there, they find a secluded spot in order to morph into their uniforms.  From there, they confront Lord Zedd’s newest monster as it manages to grab Adam within its talons and attempts to smite him.  Thankfully, Kimberly is able to jump kick their foe and save him.  Unbeknownst to our heroes, Kelly is observing their heroics as she also notices how they have mixed genders amongst themselves while also working together.

From there, Battalor gets grown to a titanic size as our heroes decide to summon their Shogunzords in order to bring them together and form the Shogun Megazord.  Not only that, but Tommy also summons the Falconzord in order to have it join up with their combiner Zord in order to create the Shogun MegaFalconZord.  As they face Battalor upon a softball field, they withstand a vicious slash before they use the Fire Saber in order to destroy their foe.  We then cut to a short time later where our de-morphed heroes discover that Kelly had stayed behind in order to watch the fight as she admits her excitement of seeing a girl Ranger saving a boy Ranger.  The White Ranger then tells her that he & his teammates won due to them working together and that girls are more than capable of being as good as boys when it comes to athletics.  Soon enough, Kelly finally gets to play in a softball game as she manages to hit a home run.  And so, the comic ends with Bulk trying to show off his improved pitching, only to fall flat on his back again while Kelly joins our main group in a big laugh.

Issue 4 sees a minor change to the Power Ranger lineup as a past fiend makes a terrifying return and has become a “Glutton For Punishment”.  We open in the Command Center as Zordon informs his team that Lord Zedd is about to unleash a massive invasion upon Angel Grove, primarily focusing on the power plant that’s outside of town.  Tommy & Aisha mention that it was recently shut down after trying to unsuccessfully run a new power source, to which Zordon confirms said source to be the toxic Ozone-Iridium #328 as the city council voted to shut the plant down until more environmental tests could be run.  However, Zedd has brought back Pudgy Pig in order to attack it.  As such, the Rangers teleport to the site where they’re confronted by the featured monster and some Tenga Warriors.  After their feathered foes are defeated, they confront their featured fiend before Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa (who were observing the fight from their lunar base) manage to make their monster grow.

Fortunately, the Rangers respond by summoning their Ninjazords and proceed to swarm Pudgy Pig.  However, it’s able to reach the power plant and feed off of the toxic source, allowing it to grow even further.  Our heroes decide to bring their Zords together and form the Ninja FalconMegazord.  They then discuss how Pudgy Pig’s metabolism was changed in order to properly absorb it, yet they doubt that it’s capable of absorbing it all at once.  As such, they decide to force the toxic element down its throat in order to finally defeat it and also rid their city of the lethal element.  From there, the Rangers carry out their plan as the Ninja FalconMegazord picks up the exhaust port containing the foul source and shove it into Pudgy Pig’s mouth, causing it to overload and explode.  And so, the story ends with our heroes managing to save Angel Grove from a physical and an environmental threat.

Moving into the backup story, we have a narrative that has the Rangers dealing with a hassled youth as they look to avoid the “Revenge Of The Nerd”.  We kick things off with our heroes battling a pair of monsters before it’s revealed to be news footage of a past fight as a young boy named Myron Zitzner is watching it (I assume at the Juice Bar) while wishing that he had a fraction of the group’s power.  Suddenly, he’s approached by two bullies as they make fun of his pimple-filled complexion and compare him to a pizza before they physically hassle him.  Fortunately, Tommy, Billy and Adam arrive as they get them to stop picking on the boy.  After getting helped up, Myron becomes upset and says that he doesn’t need sympathy from anyone before storming off.  From there, Adam and Billy assure Tommy that he just needs some time to figure things out for himself.

Just then, Aisha, Rocky & Katherine Hillard (whom after a series of Season 3 events became the new Pink Ranger after Kimberly stepped down to take part in a gymnastics competition called the Pan Global Games) come in and inform them that Zordon has contacted them as they all head out to answer the call.  They learn that a giant Tenga Warrior is attacking near Angel Grove High, threatening the student’s lives.  As such, our teenagers morph into their outfits before they head over to the school to deal with the giant creature.  Katherine notices that the titanic Tenga is dangerously close to the science lab and that it contains some potentially explosive chemicals.  As such, they decide to create a diversion.  Meanwhile, Myron is out for a walk as he wonders why he’s having a hard time with other kids.  He then notices two young ladies from his chemistry class and decides to introduce himself to them.  However, he sees them giggle and assumes that they’re laughing at him as he storms off while vowing to show them all someday.  Just then, he spots the Power Rangers fighting the giant Tenga Warrior as he decides to watch the scuffle.  Suddenly, he’s approached by the two familiar bullies as they capture him before revealing that they’re actually Squatt and Baboo.  From there, Rita orders them to bring the boy over to her at once, even though Lord Zedd says that he’s not sure how this regular human could possibly help them smite our heroes.  Just as Squatt and Baboo return, she grabs Myron and tells him that she plans to unleash him with all the power that he’s ever wanted.

Later, the Rangers finally defeat the giant Tenga Warrior before they hear a loud rumble approaching them.  They’re then met upon by a sentient, pimple-filled ball as it tells them that they’ll meet their doom.  Tommy then tells his teammates that although they’ve never seen this monster, he senses something familiar about it.  Suddenly, it starts shooting acidic puss as our heroes decide to lure it away from the school.  While Adam takes up the task himself, Oliver tells his remaining comrades that their weapons won’t be able to affect it and that they’ll need their Ninjazords.  As such, the team summons their Zords and attack the puss-filled creature.  Ultimately, Aisha uses her Bear Ninjazord to squeeze the giant ball and pops it as Myron flies out of it before Rocky catches him with his Ape Ninjazord.  Later, the young boy explains how he got turned into a pimple-filled monster before he realizes that he was feeling far too sorry for himself and got way too self-involved, even completely forgetting to thank Tommy for helping him out, to which the White Ranger tells him that “Oliver” would greatly understand how he felt.  And so, Issue 4 ends a few days later at the Angel Grove Science Fair where Myron has won the competition before the two young ladies ask him for help with their schoolwork.  All-the-while, our main group oversee this from afar.

For Issue 5, the Rangers will find themselves going up against an unusual kind of monster as they look to navigate through this unlikely “Vortex”.  We begin at Angel Grove Park where our central group is out on a nature hike.  Over on their lunar base, Lord Zedd & Rita are disgusted by this simple outdoor frolic and decide to hamper their fun.  Back with the group, they’re taking a break from their trek by complementing each other’s company, especially with Kat who’s gotten much more comfortable with her teammates.  Suddenly, a vortex opens up and begins to suck anything nearby into it.  While Zordon and Alpha 5 pick up this brewing danger from the Command Center, our teenagers manage to morph and attempt to stop this otherworldly hole from destroying the park.  They proceed to summon their Ninjazords and try to minimize the damage being caused.  However, the vortex continues to get bigger as the Rangers bring their Zords together to create the Ninja FalconMegazord.  Zordon then contacts them on how this isn’t one of Zedd’s regular monsters, but a living being from another dimension and that its whole body takes up the entire space.  Because it can be as large as their universe and there’s no way to properly measure it, Zordon tells them that it can’t be defeated.

Instead, they have to try and close it off before it continues to grow and ultimately destroys the planet.  Our heroes attempt to do so, but ultimately find themselves getting sucked into it.  Once they enter the vast area of darkness, the sentient monster then introduces itself as Vortex.  Adam expresses his stunned amazement on how they’re inside this creature, to which Billy says that this being is intelligent despite not have a regular body like they do.  Vortex then tells them that it’s also lonely due to being a vast empty space with no one to share itself with.  As such, Lord Zedd created the unique being like this in order to acquire friends that it can keep within itself.  Aisha tells the sentient creature that Zedd only brought it to life just to get rid of the Rangers and that they were only trying to stop him from conquering Earth.  However, Vortex doesn’t want to let them go out of the fear of being alone again.  Fortunately, Tommy comes up with an idea as he gives his wrist communicator to the creature in order for it to always have someone to talk to.  With the creature feeling much better, it proceeds to let our heroes go.  And so, the story ends with the day saved as the Rangers celebrate the added fact that they’ve made a new and different kind of friend.