Consistently in the top echelon of reviews in Comic Book Round Up, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers has been gaining followers from fans of the series as well as those that love excellent writing. From the previous story arc detailing the internal struggle of the Green Ranger joining the group and how that impacts the team to the new story arc surrounding the questions of Grace Sterling and the recent reveal that she was a previous Red Ranger, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series has been offering a lot of philosophy and personal conflict between all those monster fights.
At New York Comic Con, MMPR writer Kyle Higgins sat down with us to talk about his story arcs and teased (spoilers!) what was coming in the series.
How do your ideas come to you?
I'm not somebody that gets ideas randomly in life, not anymore anyways. It's more that I see something and it triggers something that stays with me for a little while and I'll explore that. A lot of times I'll talk with a friend about the different concepts of a character that interests me or a genre and then other times I'll sit with a notebook and start exploring a stream of consciousness, asking myself questions in longhand. Inevitably what will happen is I'll be working on something and things happen that I didn't even think of that are connected in my life, or my friends' lives, will allow me to map the emotional core of it which allows me to start shifting around from that. It's a weird combination of building from the outside in and inside out; from concept but also from an emotional center. And then they inform each other until it turns into what it ultimately becomes.
Could you show me an example of that process in MMPR?
I had an opportunity to pitch for the book but I didn't want to tell origins because I'm sick of origin stories and also it's not the part of Power Rangers that really interested me. So it became what's my way in? How do I find something within this concept that can center it and ground it for me and also is a cool first issue way in? I watched episodes and I always responded to the Green Evil stuff and I realized the next episode after that he had joined the team and everything was cool and he was just another member of the team.
And I thought, there's a story there because it's not that easy. My own experience with groups of friends and trying to fit in is a process among itself and we don't have superpowers. So that became my high concept way in for the book. It's the story of Tommy joining the team and the trials and tribulations of a new Power Ranger joining the group.
Then emotionally it came about his reaction to becoming a team member as well as the team reacting to him. That informed how I was going to plot the story and the different villains I was going to introduce as well as the idea of Lord Drakkon being an alternate timeline version of Tommy where he never turned good and he chose to stay with Rita to become a conqueror. That became a cautionary tale or version of the story that tested Tommy's resolve in our world since he's been dealing with insecurity issues in joining the team because he's done these bad things and maybe he's not cut out to be a Ranger.
There’s a lot of issues with separation and acceptance from the Red Ranger right now as well.
Yeah, it's been three months since Rita's been gone, they took the command center back, and they still don't have Zordon back. Tommy and Billy also didn't know where they were for a while and Jason saw what their parents went through when their kids were gone for days and they didn't know where. Since Rita's gone, Jason's looking around saying we've got to be ready and it falls on me as the leader.
So then this arc introduces a character named Grace Sterling, a kind of a Richard Branson type, from a big company called Promethea. She's an entrepreneur who mainly deals with clean energy but has now branched out. Well, she used to be a Red Ranger in the '60s and she has a different perspective on leadership and life after being a Ranger that is definitely going to inform Jason. So their relationship is the core of this next arc. If the Power Rangers are about saving the world, then Grace Sterling and Promethea are trying to make the world worth saving. Those two things can co-exist but maybe not quite as naturally as you may think. She's not a cautionary tale in how Drakkon was for Tommy but she definitely is a different take on a Ranger that we've rarely seen before and that is tied to the concept of exploring leadership within the Power Rangers.
So this is going to show a differing philosophy around the Power Rangers?
Yes, especially when Zordon returns. Spoiler! Grace and Promethea believe in being pro-active. One of the rules of being a Power Ranger is never escalating a fight and the Rangers are really designed to be reactive to Rita, monster threats, etc. The second that you start being pro-active within the world, from Zordon's point of view, you're stuck in a slippery slope. You have to be careful because the Rangers are not designed to interfere with the affairs of humans. They are there to protect and save them when necessary but with the policies of the world and all the conflicts we have going on in our lives, the Rangers aren't intended to solve those things.
Well, Grace, post-being a Ranger, doesn't have to play by those rules and she spent her life after 1969 trying to save the world, using her experience as a Ranger to inform her future decisions. And ultimately who she's become is this very powerful entrepreneur and philanthropist. When we start to see what Promethea looks like in issue 21, it's pretty cool because there is a big plan in place as well that we'll be learning more and more about as the story unfolds.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #20 was released this week.