Writer: Tom Taylor / Artist: Stephen Byrne / DC Comics, Boom! Comics
It’s often hard to balance the tone of two separate properties combined, as few align perfectly and one usually concedes to adopt the tenor of another, making one feel disingenuous or faulty, a guest in someone else’s home. The exception, in this case, are two franchises old enough to have had countless enumerations, allowing to just pair the tones that best line up like matching a pair of socks in a stuffed drawer; they don’t have to be perfect, two socks just have to be dark enough to match. In Justice League Power Rangers the iteration of the Justice League is light enough to match the kitschy cheesiness of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and makes for a series that can be easy to hate for those who hoped for something more serious, and easy to love for those who take it for what it is: a 6-part series that’ll follow the standard crossover formula as light, funny imaginings of what would happen if one team fought another.
You know the drill: someone will cross dimensions on accident. The two teams will meet. They’ll fight from a misunderstanding. The bad guys form a plan. The good guys realize their misunderstanding, that they’re all good guys, just in time to team up and stop the bad guys’ plan. It’s simple, cliché, and with a crossover like this, who cares, it works. In issue #1 we see Batman vs Zack, and then the steady build of additional team members joining the fray. The best appearance has be to awarded to the Flash who shows up from across the country to introduce himself.
The series takes advantage of the lighthearted tone by poking fun at the easiest target, none other than Batman’s brooding. It becomes an ongoing theme, Zack asking why he’s so angry, explaining why it’s easy to assume Batman’s a villain. John Stewart basically defends Batman like he’s the asshole on your basketball team… like we know, he’s an asshole, he’s just our asshole.
All the while as the Justice League shows up one by one they follow the quintessential Power Rangers formula allowing them to call their Zords to raise the stakes. If you can’t take pleasure in the predictable build of classic Power Ranger powers, and the teen bravado that comes with it, I don’t know what to tell you. You shouldn’t be here. You never should have come. For the rest of us, a Zord showing up to shatter John Stewart’s forcefield is nothing if not awesome.
Listen, this crossover is supremely fun. If you don’t take it too seriously, and if you suspend cynicism towards your standard crossover pastiche — in other words, if you let yourself — you’ll have supreme fun reading this. Six issues is all we’ve got, which is the perfect length to capitalize on the gimmicky crossover without adding filler or forcing it to be deep when it’s not. I’m happy to ride along for each one of them.