NOTE: This article contains SPOILERS for Justice League/Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1
They’re the kind of questions or hypothetical equations that adults or “grown-ups” scoff at, while the younger, less cynical minds seek out the truth – who would win in a fight: Batman or Superman? Who could punch harder: Wonder Woman, or Thor? If Batman found himself facing off against a teenager possessing enhanced strength given to him by an alien sage named Zordon, how effective would his Batarangs really be? Thankfully, we can now explicitly answer that question, with the first issue of Justice League/Might Morphin Power Rangers #1 now available to the public.
The past year has been a memorable one for DC Comics in the eyes of those who wax poetic about hypothetical team-ups – most recently the shocking union of He-Man and the ThunderCats. Now they’ve allied with publishers at BOOM! Studios to bring together the technicolor titans of two different superhero squadrons, and the first issue wastes no time in delivering the kind of wish fulfillment the name would imply. Superman, Flash, Wonder Woman, and the rest of the League teaming up with Jason, Zack, Billy, Trini, Kimberly, and Tommy is one thing, but the two groups meeting first as enemies?
That’s something fans need to see to believe. So let us give you the essential details before you (obviously) come along for the ride.
Zedd Strikes (Again)
The story begins with a bombshell (well, a crater, actually) as DC’s heroes attempt to comfort one Ranger who appears to have screwed up big time, before leaping a day and a half into the past to show how things spun so wildly out of control. Not too surprisingly, it all comes about as a result of yet another plan of the villainous Lord Zedd, this time relying on a… well, a fairly clever plan, if we’re being honest. Having successfully captured the Rangers’ trusty robotic sidekick Alpha Five – though neither the Rangers nor their leader Zordon are aware of the kidnapping – the teens are sent out to track down the wayward robot.
Zack comes across the ally in question, but when he teleports him back to the Command Center to discover the reason for his strange behavior, Zordon spots the ruse the moment he lays his digital eyes upon it. The Alpha Five is a Trojan horse send by Zedd himself, exploding within the Rangers’ headquarters, weakening their defenses enough for Zedd and his infamous Putty Patrol underlings to break through. But it’s Zack’s fault the heroes have stumbled into this mess, and takes it upon himself to get them out of it – even if it means risking everything and teleporting into the unknown.
Ignoring Zordon’s warnings, Zack grabs hold of Zedd and leaps into their oft-used tunnels through space-time – but with the teleporter damaged in the explosion, all predictions of a destination are useless. Zack leaves Zedd to get lost on his own, and comes flying out into what he thinks is the normal world.
A Wrong Turn Through The Multiverse
Being the determined hero he is, Zack (the Black Ranger) is more focused on the Putty Patrollers that came slamming into the pavement along with him than their exact whereabouts. And as he does battle, axe in hand, the rest of the Rangers return to their base to investigate the explosion. As they deal with the remaining Putty Patrollers with ease – no word yet on what happened to Zedd – and fail to even wonder where the real Alpha Five has been stashed away (can’t say we blame them), Zordon lets them in on Zack’s heroism… and the fate he now faces.
It’s ‘Morphin Time’ for all involved, but Zordon is fortunately recovered enough to pin down exactly where Zack has teleported to, but there’s a catch: he didn’t just travel through space, but through dimensions as well. It isn’t his home of Angel Grove, California that he’s crash-landed into, but Gotham City. And as a set of headlights come screeching up to the scene just moments after Zack and the Putties tore through the fabric of space, the collision we’ve been waiting for finally arrives – with neither character prepared for what they’re about to see.
Dark Knight, Meet The Dark Ranger
Having dealt with the likes of Scorpina, Rito Revolto, Goldar, Master Vile, and the Pudgy Pig over the course of his own superhero career, Zack gets one look at the caped, bat-eared man before him and makes the obvious assumption that he, like every other menace he’s fought, is some alien monster serving Lord Zedd. It’s here where the talents of writer Tom Taylor and artist Stephen Byrne starts to truly shine, as the heroes of two separate universes effortlessly step into the same spotlight… with absolutely no idea what they’re doing, or who they’re truly up against.
For Batman, it’s likely another overzealous young vigilante suffering from a head injury. For the Black Ranger, it seems that Lord Zedd has begun crafting more intelligent monsters (and with a knack for high speed driving, too). As any fan of the Power Rangers knows, once the morphin happens, fighting is far more important than carrying on a conversation. But as Zack attacks in a heartbeat, that’s more than enough time for Batman to prepare to take on an opponent possessed of superstrength and enhanced reflexes.
Needless to say, Batman makes short work of Zack, getting him pinned on his chest and ready to be handcuffed when one more dimensional rift opens. The rest of the Power Rangers have followed the trail, and they’re not about to let anyone get the better of their friend (the art of Byrne’s splash marks a high point for the issue as a hole). As good as Batman is, he’s not quite built to take on a squad of these teens, and is forced to call in some backup.
Flash To The Rescue
Well, Bruce Wayne wouldn’t call it backup, just the need for a little assistance, given the enhanced nature of his opponents. Placing a call to The Flash for some extra attention, the speedster informs him that he’s already in the neighborhood (which, for Flash, means just a few states away). Unfortunately, it’s around this point that the other Rangers take a breath to actually do some thinking instead of attacking. They’ve been informed by Zordon that Zack traveled to a different world than their own Earth, meaning the exact nature of this Bat-Man is a total mystery – but a monster of Zedd’s making he is not.
We would like to think that such a clarification would urge the Rangers not to savagely injure or defeat said Batman, but before they’re able to lay down their arms, The Flash shows up to do it for them… against their will. The Rangers don’t actually need the staffs, daggers, swords and bows that scatter to the ground as Flash streaks onto the scene, but a glimpse of the Scarlet Speedster is all they need to raise the stakes. Twisted mutant enemies or grotesque cosmic warlords are one thing, but superspeed rivals and men dressed up as bats is clearly out of their element.
Not wasting another second throwing blows or swinging swords, Kimberly takes it upon herself to do what every fan has been waiting for. Calling out for assistance from her “Pterodactyl Dinozord Power,“ the massive robotic dinosaur burts onto the scene, with its sights set on Batman.
The Justice League Has a Problem
Batman may have leaped into the Batmobile to turn its impressive arsenal against these strange, otherworldly martial artists (who can more than take the punishment), but what he failed to realize was just how chomp-able his signature ride really is. And as Kimberly pilots her Dinozord to the skies of Gotham, Bat and Batmobile clutched in its mouth, Flash has no choice but to call in the rest of the Justice League. In typical Flash fashion, the explanation given to Cyborg is guaranteed to confuse… but might actually get Superman and Wonder Woman on the scene faster, for a chance to see Bruce Wayne made a fool of.
The story is just getting started, and given the opening of the issue, the Rangers and Justice League are bound to come to an agreement or understanding at some point. But that doesn’t give any hints on how long their battle will last, since both have now taken some seriously insulting shots. Not to mention that Lord Zedd has been tossed somewhere into the DC Universe’s version of Earth, wreaking who knows what kind of havoc on the innocent while Batman and the Rangers let their fists do the talking.
We can’t even guess what lies in store, but with the comic’s title promising a team-up conceived of and executed in the spirit of fun, Issue #1 hasn’t disappointed. And judging by the Megazord on the cover of Issue #2… the fight is just getting started.
Justice League/Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1 is available now.