By Kyle Higgins, Rod Reis, Ross Thibodeaux, Taylor Wells, Rob Guillory Marguerite Bennett, Huang Danlan, Jim Campbell, Trey Moore, Terry Moore, James Kochalka, Jorge Corona, Gabriel Cassata, Ed Dukeshire
This iteration of MMPR is ridiculously great. It’s not just great for Power Rangers fans, this is something that everyone should be reading. It matures the franchise, but in a way that creates deep themes, not dark and edgy nonsense like violence or rape. So many titles have gone the dark and edgy route, leading to some ironically immature dribble. Power Rangers 2016 Annual is just a collection of side stories from various artists and like the issues before it, is everything that you would ever want from a Power Rangers comic.
The first story is written by regular series writer Kyle Higgins with some incredible art by Rod Reis. Higgins focuses on Jason and what a typical week for him entails. We go through each day of the week and experience school work, karate classes and of course, fighting Rita’s monsters. By the weekend, he’s too exhausted to even stay awake. However, the weekend ends with a nice picnic with friends that make all of the stress from the week worth it. Reis art helps create a number of touching moments that can be used for self-reflection. This is easily the highlight of the entire issue.
The second story is a fun all-ages affair written by Ross Thibodeaux and drawn by Rob Guillory. We don’t want to give away too much of the story, but it involves Bulk and Skull becoming official Power Rangers for a day. That alone is worth the price tag on this comic. The pencils of Guillory and colors of Taylor Wells make for a nice combo. It looks very cartoon-ish, which is exactly what the story calls for.
Unfortunately, the third story is the weakest. The art by Huang Danlan is easily the best part. It has an anime/manga quality and is simply stunning. The story is a tad bland, especially compared to the other stories in this issue. However, it’s not terrible by any means.
Luckily, the story after this one is really neat. Written by Trey Moore and drawn by Terry Moore, their story is an origin of sorts for Goldar and Lord Zedd. It’s mentioned that Zedd’s skin wasn’t always as freaky. Perhaps he was in an accident or maybe he was injured in battle. We’re not given a clear answer, but the mystery is thrown out there and we’ll hopefully dig into it in later issues. This plot’s crowning achievement is humanizing Goldar. He comes from a race and family of warriors, whose lives require great sacrifice. After this story, it’s easy to pity him. Although spotty, the art is serviceable and looks solid in most panels.
The final two stories are also worth a look. There’s a story written and illustrated by Jorge Corona that’s a quick read about a silly Putty falling in love with Kimberly. It’s childish in the best way. The last feature is written and illustrated by Jorge Corona and colored by Gabriel Cassata. It’s a very colorful story that is full of a love for life told through Power Rangers. The Zord scenes were perfectly drawn.
Overall, this oversized (and overpriced) annual packs a lot to content to enjoy. There are very few hiccups, so if you enjoyed past issues or are curious to see what this BOOM! series is all about, this has something for everyone. This is a comic that will be in plenty of “Best of The Year” articles.