The major anniversary event of Ranger celebration ran across the comics in 2018. Though centred on the Mighty Morphin’ team of the comics, it featured pretty much every team of Rangers in some form, whether large or small in role. The comic series had already been building to this, with the alternate version of Tommy Oliver who had turned evil. It had looked as though he were beaten, until the prelude to the events that follow reveal his escape.
I hadn’t been following the comics, though, so in the latter half of 2019, I picked up all the collected editions that I could – including the full graphic novel of Shattered Grid – so I could better understand the new additions to the Rangers universe that I had seen showing up in the current games of Legacy Wars and Battle for the Grid.
The Mighty Morphin’ team updated to be within the modern world, starting with the events after Tommy joins them. It all looked good, with the first arc dealing with Tommy’s doubts at being a good Ranger, for all the world as though it could really be part of the TV series. It managed to hit that dynamic energy with just pictures on paper. Then what could technically be the prelude of Shattered Grid. The start of the Black Dragon arc, which leads into World of the Coinless.
All of this build up to the events of Shattered Grid are great to read, but the important parts that relate to Shattered Grid are included with this story. Lord Drakkon is an evil version of Tommy who refused to join the Rangers, building up his own power, taking down not only the Rangers, but Rita as well. The Rangers of this reality who had survived build up a resistance against Drakkon and his armies of Sentries. This is the world of the Coinless. And it is here where the story of Shattered Grid will end.
Shattered Grid follows the usual mature tone of the series, dealing with not only the sacrifice of Wes to allow Jen to travel through the inter-dimensional crack they were examining, but also of Tommy as Drakkon murders him within the first chapter. It makes no attempt to lighten the mood in the following chapters, as despite being a Ranger celebration, plenty of teams get savaged pretty thoroughly by Drakkon’s armies. Only near the end is that hope allowed to burn.
While this is a Ranger celebration, it wouldn’t be right to get too many Rangers in the spotlight alongside the Mighty Morphin’ team. There’s obviously Jen from Time Force who gets focus, with some great character interaction about fixing timelines but things not being exactly the same as before with Kimberly. Anubis Cruger – the SPD Shadow Ranger – gets some good interaction with Zordon and the hardships of being a mentor. Then there’s Lauren – the Red Samurai Ranger who… I feel got overshadowed yet again by others.
In the Samurai series, despite a great entrance, it feels like she’s only there as a crutch. To show the loyalty of the team to Jayden, who had left the Shiba house as “there could only be one Red Ranger,” passing the leadership of the team to her. And it feels the same with Shattered Grid as well. Despite a great entrance, leading the Samurai team against Drakkon’s forces, it feels as though she gets pushed to the sidelines despite still being at the forefront of the events.
There’s some powerful moments within the story, such as Jason’s speech before the final assault, and particularly the ending chapter. Even a few of the Rangers who barely get any focus, such as RJ of Jungle Fury, still get a moment to shine with their interaction with other Rangers. There’s a lot of good here, and despite the dark tone, the colours of the images still have that pop to really make them stand out of the pages.
Rereading this has highlighted just how much of the story had been lost or altered in the Battle for the Grid retelling. The major points of action are still there, but it makes up the whole brainwashed Rangers plot which is awkwardly slotted into most of the entire story – including giving Ranger Slayer a more prominent role in the story. In fact, Battle for the Grid could have featured a different story separate from Shattered Grid and been a lot better for it. I won’t talk any more on that, though.
Shattered Grid is a great story that shows the Rangers at their best. Plenty of great interactions, including in areas I haven’t mentioned, and a story that will keep you invested through the various chapters make this a worthwhile read for any Rangers fan. Despite the mature tone, there’s no gore and swearing or any other adult themes, which means even the target audience of the TV series could get enjoyment from reading this (as long as they had the right maturity to handle the themes presented).
With the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers comic seeing a rebrand to just Mighty Morphin’ starting from November, I’d also say it’s worthwhile checking the entirety of this original series out. While I myself have yet to get to Necessary Evil, I have confidence it will be as great a read as Shattered Grid. For me, Beyond the Grid felt a bit more difficult to read, despite still being full of great character interaction and an intriguing story, purely because there’s plenty of broken Ranger teams unmorphed in one space which made it difficult to tell who that person was at times.
That’s just me, though, and a second read of it might allow me to recognise them easier. If you are a fan of Rangers, I can certainly recommend you read Shattered Grid. Even if you just want a great graphic novel to read that’s full of action and interaction, I'm sure you’d enjoy this one as well.