Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Turtles, review: a spectacular crossover

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Turtles, review: a spectacular crossover

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Turtles, review

The meeting of the century . More than once this peremptory declaration has welcomed readers into comic stories in which incredibly different heroes shared unconventional adventures, capable as much of thrilling fans, making unspeakable dreams come true, as of running into resounding slip-ups (and if you think to the infamous Amalgam, you hit the mark). Crossovers are one of the most compelling and at the same time risky narrative experiments, children of the need to bring together often profoundly different figures, in terms of concept and setting, within a story that preserves their authentic spirit by adapting it to a new context. And the more famous and loved the characters involved, the greater the curiosity with which the fans approach them, the same spirit with which we approached one of the most recent crossovers: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

It's hard to imagine a more exciting encounter, especially if you grew up in the 90s. Although born in the mid-1984s in the world of comics, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles enjoyed incredible fame thanks to an animated series that became a cult and their arrival on the big screen in 1990. A presence in the collective imagination that brought the four acrobatic turtles to be protagonists of great encounters, which have seen them alongside Usagi Yojimbo and even Batman. The acrobatic quartet has a not indifferent history of crossovers, a variety that is now also enriched by an adventure shared with the Power Rangers. But not just any formation, but the original one of the famous 90s television series, the progenitor of the Power Rangers myth.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Turtles, back to the 90s

On closer inspection, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Mighty Morphin Powers Rangers seem to move on two extremely different narrative levels. Whether it's comics or animated series or movies, Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael and Leonardo have a strong urban connotation, experienced through a careful dualism between their life in the New York sewers and the fight against the Foot Clan which leads them to become an integral part of the urban narrative of the Big Apple. The dynamic quartet has a well-defined characterization, which combines irony and dynamism.

A different connotation compared to the very first formation of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, which heirs of the tokusatsu tradition present teenagers who intertwine their lives as teenagers with the fight against alien monsters. Choreographed moves strongly inspired by the visual imagery of Japanese tokusatsu seriality, colored bodysuits and imaginative weapons were the ingredients of a series that became a cult in the 90s. As can be guessed, decidedly far from the typical atmosphere of the urban adventures of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but the boys of Angel Cove managed to establish themselves as the darlings of a generation, giving life to a franchise that still does not fail to flex its muscles today.

As can be guessed, finding a narrative synthesis between these two narrative contexts was not easy, especially considering that comic series are currently underway they create a continuity that needs to be taken into account. Above all, operations like these are born as magnetic experiments for fans of the characters who could also be fond of other versions of the heroes, and therefore unfamiliar with the evolution of their adventures in other media. Reason why, Ryan Parrott, screenwriter of the regular series of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, decides to baste the story following a plot narratively devoid of originality, but functional to the creation of a stand alone adventure capable of welcoming different types of reader in its dynamism , from aficionados to Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles comics to the neophyte.

The Green Ranger, Tommy Oliver, has mysteriously disappeared from Angel Cove, without giving notice to his companions. At the same time, in New York, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles find themselves fighting against a Foot Clan led by a new fighter who appears to be a fearsome opponent for Master Splinter's pupils. A clash destined to take an unexpected turn when the Power Rangers enter the scene initially alongside their friend Tommy, discovering after a tight fistfight with Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo and Donatello that their friend seems to have sided with the archenemy of the New York ninjas , Shredder.

From this apparently about-face by Tommy kicks off an adrenaline-filled story with a frenetic pace that leads the two teams, apparently different from each other, to forge a bond that, hopefully, can be strengthened in the future. Parrott relies on a fairly classic concept, starting from the inevitable clash resulting from a misunderstanding, excellent for creating both points of contact and rivalry, to develop a story in which we witness a shrewd characterization of the characters, in which the authentic spirit of different heroes is preserved and carefully used to create a compelling synthesis between the two teams.

Playing on the typical traits of Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles never fails to showcase all the peculiarities of these two supergroups, with a certain, inevitable predominance of the scenographic element of the heroes of Angel Cove, thanks to the author's greater familiarity with the Power Rangers. The result is an explosive mixture of jokes and fights, in which each wrestler has the opportunity to show his own skill and personality, with a final twist which, however predictable, is still a real gem. Parrott is an excellent narrative interpreter of these two formations, not only for how he rewards the intimacy of the different characters by creating credible links between the different personalities, but also for how he shrewdly manages the great villains, namely Shredder and Rita Repulsa, giving them a personality consistent with their tradition and creating an impeccable relational dynamic.

An explosive blend for an adrenaline-pumping adventure

While appreciating the narrative tenor created by Parrott, it is undeniable that Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is an engaging read thanks to the magnetic visual interpretation of our Simone di Meo. After proving to be a refined sci-fi interpreter with We Only Find Them When They Are Dead , di Meo amazes with how he manages to create a visual language in which the peculiarities of the different characters find a perfect synthesis, which rewards both the frenzy of the turtles and the poses more typical Power Rangers plastics. The use of a cage that thrives on its own dynamism becomes in di Meo's hands a perfect tool for constructing a visual story that is never static, in which one passes from clippings that linger on the gazes of the protagonists to more generous cartoons in which to collect typical movements of these darlings of the general public. It should not be overlooked that although easily identifiable through specific coloring and preferred weapons, the Turtles are essentially a single character from a graphic point of view, which makes it difficult for a designer to interpret them in a specific way.

Di Meo, although helped by the convincing verbal characterization of the characters, does not fail to identify a specific bodily communication of the different turtles which makes them immediately recognizable, whether it is the comic expressions of Raf or the world in which Donatello tends to bow your head in certain situations. Traits that may seem trivial within a comic production, in which different narrative levels come into play, but which are instead a sign of the maniacal care with which di Meo approached his task. All embellished by the Walter Baiamonte coloring, which, with the support of Igor Monti, embellishes Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with a defined personality that does not limit itself to preserving the chromatic identity of the characters, but which also pays full to the urban context of a silent but always present protagonist New York. Boom! Studios for the American market. A practical edition, which is enriched not only with the traditional cover gallery but also with a small but equally appreciable character gallery, in which the preparatory studies of the designers are presented.

By its nature , Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a dynamic comic animated not only by an irony that is never taken for granted and always faithful to the narrative canon of the characters, but also by an act of sincere affection on the part of the authors for the protagonists. A feeling that prompted them to create an adventure that welcomes fans of the two franchises, devoid of necessary references to other stories to be enjoyed to the fullest, but on the contrary becoming an excellent first step within the cross-media life of these two supergroups .

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