Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Vol 7-10

Continuing reading through the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series of graphic novels at the library, I'm now at volumes 7-10, which cover the Shattered Grid and Beyond the Grid story lines, so these four were all rereads for me.  I wasn't sure what I would think of them on the reread (and after reading Masters of the Multiverse, which I seem to have forgotten to talk about on this blog - I loved it though, and will write about it when I reread it!)  But if anything, I actually enjoyed Shattered Grid more!  I felt like I had a better handle on all the characters this time around, and even caught a few things I missed the first time I read it!

And of course, unlike last time, I now know the events that led up to Shattered Grid.  I saw the first time the Rangers tangled with Drakkon, how he was being held by Grace's company, and exactly how he escaped.  So that definitely gave me a better grounding in the story than the first time I read it. 

This read-through also reinforced just how much I love Lord Drakkon as a character.  The idea of an evil Tommy Oliver who remained with Rita Repulsa is just so good!  I love how very flawed he is, and how he just doesn't understand the other Tommy Olivers of the Power Rangers multiverse, and how they can all be so "weak" because of their friends (even though it is their friends who give them their power).  And even at the very end, he refuses to let anyone in and change.  He's such a fantastic villain, and Kyle Higgins did such a great job with all of his nuances.

But one thing that struck me on this time around was that the Ranger Slayer doesn't appear in the story at all prior to Shattered Grid.  I expected to see her in one of the earlier volumes with Lord Drakkon (and to see how she broke free of his mind control), but that didn't happen....but maybe that happened in the 2018 annual comic, which wasn't included in these volumes (that issue also included Lord Drakkon infiltrating a group to steal something from them - he shows Finster Five his spoils of war, but that's all I really know - it seems like that story took place between Drakkon escaping from Grace and Shattered Grid beginning).  I'm going to try to get a hold of that comic issue to see if that fills in the remaining gaps.

Likewise, Beyond the Grid was better the second time around, especially the beginning.  Knowing who Grace was seemed to help a lot - she was the Red Ranger for a team Zordon pulled together in the 60's.  Her team didn't know each other and had no training.  While their mission was ultimately successful, three of her team died.  She's carried this with her, and built everything from her company to her space ship to make the world a safer place.  She's also relentless in her belief that no one will be left behind.  It's knowing Grace that I think makes the beginning of Beyond the Grid a better read, even though the story is ultimately about the other Rangers with troubled pasts who come together into a team.

I also really like the friendship of the Ranger Slayer, Cameron, and Heckyl.  Kimberley and Heckyl in particular have similar pasts, and manage to find both forgiveness and friendship together.  I think that is one of my favourite parts of Beyond the Grid (especially the interlude where Heckyl explains his past - the three of them are having snacks together, and he specifically invited them to that little party to let them in on who he is, and they are both okay with him).  It ties beautifully into the whole theme of Beyond the Grid about second chances for everyone (and the right to choose a better path for everyone).

I'm now excited to read what comes next in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers story.  What happens to the Rangers on board the Promethea?  Do they go back to their worlds without remembering each other?  Do they come together as a new team?  Hopefully volumes 11 and 12 will answer these questions!

Friday, June 18, 2021

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Volume 6


Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Volume 6 is the last one before Shattered Grid.  I wasn't really thinking of it as a bridge to that story line when I started reading it, as it was continuing the story of Finster's monsters who were disguised as humans.  The Rangers have agreed to work with Grace, a woman who was previously a Red Ranger for a somewhat disastrous mission (her team didn't train together or know each other at all - while they ultimately saved the world, three of them died, and as the Red Ranger and leader, Grace bears that burden even though it was Zordon's fault for sending the team in unprepared).  She has dedicated her life to making the world a safer place, building Promethea to accomplish that task.  Her people have discovered how to track the monsters when they're getting ready to transform, and so the Power Rangers agreed to work with her.  

In good news though, Alpha Five and Saba have discovered how to return Zordon to the Command Centre!  

Meanwhile, Rita Repulsa has returned from a mysterious errand.  She recalls Finster (that was a really neat scene - he was able to escape the pocket dimension basically whenever he wanted to, and the Rangers still don't know how he pulled it off!) and orders him to set off all his hidden monsters, forcing the Rangers to separate.  Unfortunately, she also made them all grow and their forms weren't able to take that, so the Rangers are able to easily defeat them.

While trying to track down the hidden monsters though, Billy returned to Promethea to boost their scanning equipment.  While there, he discovered that Promethea runs on very little power, but most of that power is dedicated to a particular wing.  Doing some sleuthing, he discovers the reason why: Grace had captured Lord Drakkon after the Rangers' last battle (he was pulled through the portal with them)!  

And that's how we tie into Shattered Grid.  I'd forgotten that Drakkon had been pulled through the portal.  But by the end of this he was able to return to (presumably) his own dimension (with a headless Saba...) and start the events of Shattered Grid!

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Volumes 4-5

 I'm very excited, as my local library now has Mighty Morphin Power Rangers volumes 4-12!  I started reading them last night, getting through volumes 4 and 5.

Volume 4 picks up where 3 left off - Billy and Tommy are in Lord Drakkon's world, having gone with Sabba to the Coinless. The Coinless, however, aren't taking any chances with these two in case they are Drakkon's spies.  But their leader, Zach, recognizes Sabba, who, when they last saw each other, had told Zach that he would return with the ones who would save their world.  Unfortunately, Drakkon tracked the sabre to the Coinless's base and mounts a full assault!

Meanwhile the other Rangers are trying to figure out a way to get the Command Centre back from Rita.  Finster finds Alpha 5's head, and reprograms it to lead the Rangers into a trap!  At Rita's behest, he's sculpted an army of Goldars, who are much more savage than the original.

Against overwhelming odds, the Rangers succeed, and even manage to find Billy's power coin!  Trini uses it and the Black Dragon armor to open a portal to the other dimension to Billy and Tommy, just in time to help against Lord Drakkon's forces!  The Rangers save the day, freeing both worlds from tyranny.

Volume 5 opens with the Rangers helping out across the planet.  Rita has been mysteriously absent for quite some time (which happens from time to time after a big loss).  So they repaired the Command Centre, and are working on a way to bring Zordon back (Sabba from the other dimension was accidentally able to find and anchor him, so it's just a matter of time before the sabre and Alpha 5 can get him anchored back to the Command Centre).  Jason is basically watching the world news 24/7 to deploy the Rangers where needed.  But on one of their missions, they are approached by a lady named Grace who asks their help - a pilot team went down while trying to look through what seems to be an illusion.  The Rangers arrive and discover a mysterious town run by Finster.  He's been taking some vacation time to work on his art - which means sculpting monsters that appear human until they're triggered!  After saving the pilots and capturing Finster, the Rangers get reports of two monsters rampaging across different cities - and both appeared human.  While they manage to deal with those two, they know it's just the many monsters hiding as humans has Finster released into the world?

The story continues to be excellent, and I can't wait to see how the Rangers deal with Finster's invisible monster army in the next volume!

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Engines of Oblivion


I've been excited to read Engines of Oblivion since finishing Architects of Memory a few months ago.  I've had it for a few months on my Kindle, but got caught up in the Divine Dungeon series, so put off reading this until there was a good spot to pause that series.  

Engines of Oblivion follows Natalie Chan, one of the crew members from Twenty Five.  In Architects of Memory, Natalie, a soldier by training, had managed to become a citizen of Aurora, but lost many of her memories during the battle of Tribulation.  It's a year later and she's now the Director of Aurora's research and development team.  When the board sends her janitor indentures to pilot a new rig she designed, Natalie makes the split-second decision to pilot the rig instead because it is going into an actual combat mission (and the janitor indentures are not at all combat trained).  To her horror, Natalie discovers too late that the weapon within the rig was switched out for something far more deadly.

Called to a Board meeting after the demonstration, Natalie's loyalty to Aurora is called into question.  She is informed that she will be going on a mission back to Tribulation to locate Ashlan Jackson, whose heartbeat was detected.  Accompanying her is the one woman Natalie wants nothing to do with: Reva Sharva, the doctor who was the head of the Sacrament Society, and who had been experimenting on people in a secret lab on Tribulation; Sharva is being sent because she is the only one who can save Ash from the sickness she has (and Sharva has a bomb in her head that will detonate if she deviates from the mission).

This mission calls everything Natalie believes in into question.  Will she give up her friends to the company in order to keep her citizenship, even though she knows nothing good can come of turning them in?

I will admit, I didn't really like Engines of Oblivion at first, and that was largely because I didn't really like Natalie Chan.  And her being paired up with Reva Sharman definitely didn't help.  I also found the story a bit weird once the Vai got more involved.  On the one hand, it made sense for how the story went once they were involved (and I did like learning a bit more about them and how they worked).  But at times it got really hard to follow (especially once people were basically fighting inside each others' memories and minds, that got a bit hard to follow).  But by the end, I found that I really did care what happened to everyone, and, while in some ways sad, I really enjoyed the ending.

So while, in the end I did enjoy the book, I think I liked Architects of Memory better.  I missed the quirky crew dynamic of Twenty Five.  I also think this book might be better if read closer to the first book - while I remembered people and plot well enough as the book unfolded, it definitely would have been helpful if that first book was more fresh in my mind.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Fugitive Telemetry

 I've been waiting to get my hands on the newest book in Martha Wells' Murderbot Diaries series, Fugitive Telemetry.  As I said after reading book 5, Network Effect, I was quite interested to see where the series would go now.

Well, Fugitive Telemetry didn't pay off with any of the stuff Network Effect set up.  Instead, it opens on Preservation Station, where a body has been found.  The Station's Security team (reluctantly) brings Murderbot in to consult as they try to find the murderer.  As murder is extremely rare on Preservation Station, they shut the entire port down to investigate the murder.  

What follows is a really fun mystery while Murderbot tries to find the murderer (and both Murderbot and Station Security struggle to trust one another). 

So while Fugitive Telemetry did not have the further adventures of Murderbot and ARK, like I though it would, or feature the newly free SecUnit, Three, it was still a really fun read.  Like most of the other books, I couldn't put it down.  I hope the next (as yet unnamed) Murderbot book is fun like this one was!