Power Rangers: SHATTERED GRID continues!
The most highly anticipated Power Rangers comic book event of all time heads into its second issue with the release of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #26 from BOOM! Studios.
Power Rangers NOW had a chance to catch up with the team at BOOM! Studios and Saban Brands to learn some behind-the-scenes details about all the action inside this monumental issue.
Check out our full interview below filled with never-before-heard stories from Kyle Higgins (Writer, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers), Dafna Pleban (Editor, BOOM! Studios), and Melissa Flores (Director, Saban Brands).
*Spoilers for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #26 below this point.*
The end scene leaves readers with another jaw-dropper, as Lord Drakkon starts to steal some of the Samurai Ranger powers, and his suit starts to change with it. Can you talk about what’s going on in this scene?
Kyle Higgins: Well Lord Drakkon’s plans, which he calls “The Great Campaign”, have quite a history to them. They pre-date our book actually. Part of his goals include amassing and consolidating power from these other Ranger teams as he looks to control these other eras and worlds. So at the end of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #26, it’s his first attempt to take on additional Ranger powers and add to his Green/White Ranger fusion. With Ninjor under his control, and working with Finster 5, his larger aspirations may finally be in reach. I’d say if you’re excited by Lord Drakkon taking on the Samurai Ranger powers, then you’ll be very excited to read future issues.
The end scene also explains where the Sentries are coming from – which are the additional Morphers Lord Drakkon’s collected. How did you decide which seasons to base the Sentries off of?
Dafna Pleban: We went with what felt natural in the story. He’s going to be collecting a lot of Morphers, but we only had an opportunity to show a certain number of interactions with Lord Drakkon directly with another team. So in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #26, you see him attack the Samurai Rangers directly, and actually get those Morphers. When we do have new Sentries, we try to draw them from teams we see Lord Drakkon interacting directly with. And hey – sometimes the answer is more shallow than you think, we just pick whatever Rangers look really cool!
Why did you decide to use the Samurai Rangers during the “Lauren era” as opposed to the “Jayden era”?
Kyle Higgins: One of the cool opportunities about an event like this is we’re not limited by where in a team’s timeline we’re pulling from. With a team like Power Rangers Samurai, I found it really intriguing to bring Lauren into the event after the events of the season. That’s going to play out in Lauren’s story so I don’t want to say too much about it just now. But the idea that she’s seasoned and has been through some Nighlok fighting adventures already was something that was appealing to me. And that’s not to say that Jayden isn’t seasoned.
Melissa Flores: The Nighlok have basically crept up again somehow, and Jayden and Mentor Ji have gone to investigate. While they’re out, Lauren has taken the helm again in Jayden’s place.
One of my favorite parts is seeing the team grieve from Tommy’s death because it’s something that’s so rarely been done on the TV show. What was your favorite part about getting to explore a scene like this?
Kyle Higgins: My favorite part is the one-page montage that shows the last four days, and finding single images that say a lot is one of my favorite things about comics. And that’s a credit to [Artists] Daniele Di Nicuolo and Walter Baiamonte because they have to go in, take my description for a single image, and make it what you see. That shot of Jason taking on the Dragon Shield while crying – so good, and that can be interpreted in a variety of different ways. They found the one that punched you in the gut.
Lord Drakkon is quickly becoming one of the most evil characters that this franchise has ever seen. How much freedom do you have with a character like him – from capturing characters, to imprisoning characters, to killing characters off?
Kyle Higgins: I don’t really approach it that way so it’s never really come up. Everything Lord Drakkon does comes out of narratives, and larger wants that he has, and this larger story that I’m telling. So the things Lord Drakkon is going to be doing moving forward all have a purpose behind them no matter how dark or sinister they may be.
Dafna Pleban: What Kyle does really well with Lord Drakkon is he roots his motivations in something really human and tragic. What really excited me when Kyle first pitched the character long ago was that Lord Drakkon was born from a point in canon that could have gone either way. We all have experiences like that in our life. “What if I made a different decision, who would I be?”. And I think the best version of a story is when we take a real life moment of crisis and externalize it. And that’s something Kyle does really well in this story.
Can you talk about the stunning artwork fans are seeing throughout Power Rangers: SHATTERED GRID?
Kyle Higgins: I do want to speak about [Artist] Daniele Di Niculo for a minute. I don’t know that people really understand what goes into making a book like this visually. Not only to be able to have the skill, but to be able to balance huge superhero robot monster action with quiet character moments. Daniele has a style to his work that’s incredible and all that said – when you hear the Power Rangers, there’s a lot of work that’s done to keep the visuals consistent across the brand. To be able to navigate that, and be collaborative with notes, and still get the book done on time is something that people don’t think about a lot. And it’s not only a massive credit to Daniele, but also Dafna who basically loses a lot of sleep trying to find the right artistic fit for her books. I remember the massive sigh of relief we all had when we found out we got Daniele because we knew he’d be able to deliver at the level and scope that the story was calling for.
Melissa Flores: This is not an easy book to write not because of the scope or scale, but because he’s drawing almost every freaking Ranger at some point. Those are a lot of details that even we at Saban Brands will miss sometimes. There’s so many little parts and components that are so easy to miss for someone who’s not used to Power Rangers. We’re just so lucky to have him.
Dafna Pleban: I would like to include Walter Baiamonte as well, who colored SHATTERED GRID. I think he brings this kinetic, modern, energy to this book. It’s always been a challenge with colors on this book because you have so many different Rangers. It’s hard to create a coordinated, aesthetically pleasing pallet when you have literally the entire spectrum on the page. We’ve been incredibly lucky with the colors in our book, and Walter works so well with Daniele to make every team sing. Wait until you see the teams start to mix.
Kyle Higgins: I think there’s definitely this trend in comics right now to undervalue the artistic contributions to a book. So I want to make sure I go out of my way to say that Daniele is my partner on this. Tommy’s death is moving and shocking because of Daniele. I write the script, but Daniele has to actually pull that off. I think the success of this book, both critically and commercially, has just as much if not more to do with what Daniele has to do with it.
Has anything about the sold-out response to both SHATTERED GRID, and Tommy’s death, surprised you?
Kyle Higgins: I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how excited people are for future chapters, and the level of trust that fans have been demonstrating towards the story that we’re telling. This wasn’t something that we did just for shock value, and I think fans get that, and that’s pretty cool. It’s always a roll of the dice with how something’s going to be perceived. But the level of engagement, and excitement, and trust has been really overwhelming and great to be a part of. I’ve just been really surprised by the amount of people that are really into this story that I’m writing. I hadn’t really been part of a book like this before, and I’m looking forward to future issues dropping.
Melissa Flores: It absolutely speaks to the level of trust between the fans and Kyle, as well as the level of trust between Saban Brands and BOOM! Studios. We’re such a team in everything we do from the premise, to the scripts, to the layouts, to the proofs. We just work together so closely. I don’t know if this story could’ve been told a couple of years ago, not because Kyle wasn’t capable, but because we were just so new to this comic book medium at Saban Brands. We’ve had two amazing years with Kyle taking the helm of this book, and enriching the mythology, and deepening these characters, and finding little nuggets of information like the mention of the Morphin Masters in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #25. They appeared in just one episode, but the backstory he’s created for those characters is fascinating. It’s a joy to work together on every issue, and I think that also translates to the level of trust, and hope, and even dread we have because some are afraid of who Kyle’s going to hurt next in these issues. He’s fantastic and we’re so lucky to have him, and the entire team at BOOM! Studios is just so talented. They’re the perfect partners to take this kind of celebration and knock it out of the park.
Dafna Pleban: I don’t think we could do half of what we did if we didn’t have Saban Brands available to call, commiserate with, and see what kind of Rangers we can play with or potentially break. The great thing about the Power Rangers universe is that it’s so vast, and any kind of story you want to tell, there’s probably some kind of nook or cranny that can be explored. I think Saban Brands has really embraced the challenge of how vast this universe can be on a comic book page when you don’t have to get 100 actors in a room.
Anything you can tease us for the next issue, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #27?
Kyle Higgins: One of the greatest double-page spreads I’ve ever had the privilege to be a part of.
Dafna Pleban: It’s so cool. If you love Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #26, you’ll love Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #27.