With inter-company crossovers dominating the comics landscape over the past ten years or so, team-ups and “unlikely” pairings have practically become expected. Batman and Dr. Fate linking up for an adventure doesn’t have much more of an edge to it anymore than if Batman and Superman did the same. This is especially true with TV and movie universes showcasing obscure characters and themes.
On the other side of the crossover trend is company-to-company. Though the 90’s saw bizarre pairings like Judge Dredd and Batman, and the first of this kind paired Spider-Man against Superman (something that would make purists and comics scientists of the modern era emote with rage) most of these team-ups and grudge matches see a team or hero from the big two take on a lesser known property in the same genre, or one that historically exists in its own Universe. Enter Justice League/ Power Rangers.
The thing about this book, which can be said for most books of its kind, is that it’s formulaic. The teams from both sides meet, argue, fight, then reunite to take down the threat: usually an enemy from the host Universe. Justice League/ Power Rangers has stuck to this tried and true approach for the past six issues, and one can almost pick up the final issue without being lost.
What would be lost, and what still can be if you don’t go into this book with an open mind, is the emotion a story like this can give the reader. It’s nostalgic, it’s fun, and you could almost thank the old formula for that. We know that the pairing of the Justice League and the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers won’t have any lasting effects for either Universe. It can’t. But going in with the intent of simply enjoying the ride can help you see some of the layers the story offers. The final issue of the story offers us a look at some story elements that we’ve rarely or never seen from the characters on their own. Brainiac taking over Cyborg’s system is an interesting twist, and one that would have been harder to pull off where he still a Teen Titan.
Perhaps more interesting is that The Rangers’ long-time nemesis Lord Zedd has omitted using a monster lackey, instead growing giant himself. It’s a simple twist on the giant monster battles Power Rangers is known for, but one writer Tom Taylor takes beyond a simple visual gimmick. Zedd being so unfamiliar with his size means he can’t fight at his best. The original series rarely showed Zedd fight in his normal form, so Taylor’s approach to giant Zedd acts as yet another wall, keeping us from seeing what he is truly capable of.
With subtleties like this readily present, Justice League/ Power Rangers has offered a bit more depth than other books of its kind. With the final issue logically returning the Justice League back to their own world, the book has been a great standalone story in a sea of standalone crossover stories. If you haven’t been following it month-to-month, this is definitely one worth having on your bookshelf in collected form. 4/5
(W) Tom Taylor (A) Stephen Byrne (CA) Karl Kerschl