Let me start off by saying I was beyond anticipating Saban’s Power Rangers: Soul of the Dragon since its announcement. It was a definite Top-5 book I had on my pull list. The entire plot of an “Old Man” Tommy Oliver powering up “one more time” to save his son felt like something new and fresh.
So, I’m sure you’re all shocked when I say: I’m left extremely disappointed.
The story starts off with us finding out Tommy has lost his job at Bridgeport Township High School (since the school dismantled his department to save money). I actually felt this was a solid starting point. It gave me the feeling of this being the start to a new “universe” of stories for the character on the horizon. One where he’d suit back up full time, that saving his son had opened his eyes to the universe still needing the legendary Tommy Oliver. (I’ll touch back on this later.)
Another strong start in the opening sequence was finding out Tommy is married to Kat — Kathrine Hillard, the second Pink Ranger. This was one of those moments where Kyle Higgins flexes his strong grasp on the lore, just like in his run on Boom! Studios’ Mighty Morphin Power Rangers title, by molding believable moments into the Grid.
Now, one thing I felt threw me off a bit was the quick transitions that didn’t flow nicely. There was no “dissolving screen” to the next scene, or fade transition. It was hard, black screens and it left me actually rubbing the corner of the pages with my thumb and index finger thinking I had missed a page. And it was a common trend through the entire story. Of course, that is a bit nitpicky, but when I’m reading a good story, I want it to have a nice and steady flow.
Something I always bust balls over is when there’s what’s supposed to be a twist, but is so blatantly not. I did so with Scott Snyder in Dark Nights: Metal, and I’m doing it here with the classic trope of someone being revealed to be evil only to later (not so really) find out they’re “under cover”. It comes off as like lazy writing, and I know Higgins isn’t a lazy writer.
So this tells me, or at least leads me to believe, that he was trying to fit the story into a specific page count. And that tends to make sense, since the overall story had a rushed feel. From the hard transitions to no real unfolding of a key plot point, and most of all the story’s quick ending.
In my experience, Marvel tends to be King when it comes to the heroes just miraculously defeating their villain, or having another villain/outside character do it for them. (But to be fair, DC has done so as well. Again, Snyder comes to mind with the ending to Metal.) And this story suffered from that quick, limited space to tell a fleshed out ending… well, ending. That being an overpowered Scorpina sucked back to Talos—another dimension—by the All-Powerful Demon who made her such.
And that’s my main gripe. This story left me feeling like there was a ton missing, and it was all cut out for “time”.
I said I’d get back to it, and I’m a man of my word, so remember when I said I felt this was going to open us up to a whole new universe of stories with an “Old Man” Tommy? I mean, it was only a few paragraphs ago… but yeah, that’s not happening. Despite Higgins using the Master Morpher—a Morpher that can cycle through and allow its user to access the powers of the various Power Coins—it was faulty, and destroying Tommy’s Power Coins. We basically got to witness the demise of the greatest Power Ranger of all time, and I don’t know about you, but it hurt my soul.
All in all, as an else world type of story it was a good piece. Though it felt fast and loose, and lacked a much-needed depth that could’ve fleshed it out and made the overall story not feel hallow and skin deep. I enjoyed it for what it was, but think it’s a definite one read and done. Nothing you’ll be reaching for on a day when you feel like you could read something again.