Go Go Power Rangers' original creative team, writer Ryan Parrott and artist Dan Mora, return to pen one final story with this week's Power Rangers: Ranger Slayer.
So just who is the 'Ranger Slayer'? The original Pink Power Ranger Kimberly Hart (yes, played by Amy Jo Johnson in the original TV show). Following her adventures from the 'Shattered Grid' and 'Beyond the Grid' comic book arcs, Kimberly Hart returns to the dark alternate universe known as the Coinless Universe to face the people she hurt while under Lord Drakkon's mind control. Will she be able to find redemption?
On the eve of the one-shot Power Rangers: Ranger Slayer's debut July 22, Parrott spoke with Newsarama about the Boom! Studios project, reconnecting with Dan Mora, and how this will affect the main Power Rangers titles.
Newsarama: To jump right in, Ryan, why do you think it was important to give Ranger Slayer her own one-shot?
Ryan Parrott: Dan and I just really wanted to work together again. I'm being completely selfish. We talked about this at Comic Con International: San Diego like maybe a year, a year-and-a-half ago. I don't even know. I have no concept of time anymore. But we were just like, 'it would be really awesome to work together again,' and he was doing a whole bunch of other books. So, we started chatting back and forth, and we were both like, 'it would be nice to do something with Ranger Slayer, having her go back to the Coinless universe.'
As we were talking, we were like, 'we haven't really seen what it's like over there. What's going on? How it's different? Is it back to the way it was?' That just started spiraling lots of questions. Then ultimately it just came down to like, 'this could be fun to do one big 40-page thing that would sort of be like a movie.' That was our set up - that would allow us to work together, answer some questions, and just be fun to do.
Nrama: After everything that went down in 'Shattered Grid,' what does Kimberly's timeline look like now?
Parrott: Obviously with the reset of 'Shattered Grid,' that put a lot of things back to an earlier stage of the Coinless Universe because the last time we were there Lord Drakkon was leaving Promethea to never be seen again. If 'Shattered Grid' never quote, unquote happened, then we have to go back and there's a lot of people who are alive and some characters that you thought might be gone are back.
That's what I kind of liked was this idea of the Coinless World sort of existing as a vacuum - with Drakkon gone, who tries to rise up for power and how do our heroes deal with it? We step back into that world having been a few months since anybody's been back. So, she steps back in with a lot more going on, and she's at the center of all of it.
Nrama: Kimberly didn't leave on good terms with Bulk and especially Trini - how does she tackle these strained relationships?
Parrott: I think that's really the fun part of doing a Ranger Slayer one-shot to begin with. We look a lot at what happened in this time, where she was the Ranger Slayer and that she was working for Drakkon, and the stuff she did to her friends in the Coinless.
You see a little bit of a glimpse of her first mission in the Free Comic Book Day one-shot. When I wrote that, it was just designed to be sort of a 10-pager that would go into the hardcover edition as a fill in the gap kind of stuff, but it ended up really informing this story because I wanted to show you that's the fun I think of having Kimberley be the bad guy, when she was under mind control she really knew how to hurt her friends. She knew all of the bruises she could push. She knew all of their insecurities. Like they always say, the people who hurt you are the people who know you the most, and I thought that was something really fun to play with.
That Free Comic Book Day issue really sets up what she did, but the idea is now she goes back and she has to face them and face all of the things that she did. And how do you redeem that? How do you ever get them to trust you again? How do you fix things when you hurt a lot of the people you care about?
So, that's what I thought was really fun about bringing her back was to see how far she's willing to go and what she'd be willing to do to try and make amends. Obviously, there's a lot of stuff in this issue – there's definitely one big thing in this issue that I think will probably capture just how far she is willing to go.
Nrama: For fans of your Mighty Morphin run - will this tie in at all to the stories you are planning there or does it really just piggyback off what has come before?
Parrott: If you read Go Go, and you liked anything we did with Ranger Slayer than this is definitely a good stepping off point. I don't even know if they necessarily need to read the 'Beyond the Grid' storyline. This is just so specifically connected to her time in the Coinless Universe and then stepping back into that world.
Regarding future plans, so one thing that I've been really lucky to have and what Boom! has been so nice about is being able to write Mighty Morphin, Go Go, Ranger Slayer, and even the Ninja Turtles, is that they allowed me to stay at the center of the entire Mighty Morphin comic book universe.
And so now that we've spent so much time building it out, I want to play in it more. I want these worlds to all be in the same multi-verse. I want them to affect each other - that means that they are ripe to be plucked and utilized whenever you want. So, like in Mighty Morphin #50 - that was the point of that issue, with this bringing all of those pieces together and show that this is a giant community and a comic book universe.
For the Ranger Slayer one-shot, I wrote it with the intention of leaving it open-ended so that someone else can come in and take that story and run with it, and I'm really excited with what they are doing with Drakkon New Dawn because for the first time I get to be a fan. I can see another person take that story and spin it off. That's what so fun about making this sandbox is that now that we've created the universe, we can play in every corner of it.
Nrama: Speaking of Drakkon New Dawn, was there a certain place this one-shot had to leave off for that series to pick up?
Parrott: If I'm being honest, I think my ending was what actually prompted the Drakkon New Dawn series because I wrote the one-shot a long time ago. I think I wrote it almost eight months, nine months ago, because in order to have Dan to have the time to be able to draw it, we needed to give him much more lead time than normal as he was balancing other projects.
I wrote it a long time ago. So, when I wrote it the ending was already established. When we had months and months to talk about it, and that was the ending of the Ranger Slayer one-shot – it's how I pitched the series. I was like, if we do the story, I want to end it here. And that I think was what, in a weird way, opened up the storyline that allowed Boom! to be like, 'Oh, if it ends there then we can take a step up here.' So, for me, I've just sort of wrote it to a point of wouldn't this be interesting.
Nrama: When creating Ranger Slayer - why do you think it was important that it was Kimberly under that helmet? What made you choose her compared to any of the other rangers?
Parrott: The nice thing was when we were trying to plan a villain for the Go Go world, it was nice that Kyle left that door open. I don't even think he knew what he wanted to do - because when he built the world for Mighty Morphin he knew who everyone was except for Kimberly. I don't think he even knew he was going to use her. He just left that open – that it would be cool to do something down the line. It was just really helpful that when we sat down and he said we need a villain to play into 'Shattered Grid.' He was like, 'Kimberly is there,' and I was like, 'that's who I want.'
One of the themes that we were playing with for Go Go was this idea of forgotten friends and where's your future. That first point in high school, right around when you are 17 or 18, is the first time you have to make real decisions that will affect your whole life. And I love the idea of having Kimberley from the future, another alternate reality, coming in and having Kimberly look face to face at her future, and how does that change how you see yourself and where you're going? I thought that was just too good to be true. Writing that character and also playing off some of the themes that had played in Mighty Morphin TV series - the way that Tommy was introduced so on and so forth.
It's always so much more fun when you can bring in characters that have preexisting relationships that you don't have to establish. She's such a fun character to write because I think having that edge and having that regret for the things that she's done she comes with such interesting baggage to unpack. She has a weight to the character that is already there. She's a little edgier and a little darker.
One of my favorite things in 'Necessary Evil' was when she flies up to save everybody and she just kills. The other rangers wouldn't do that, but she just has all this experience and baggage. She's just a different person, a ranger on the edge a little bit. That's what makes it fun because there's this morally ambiguous gray area to play with because of what she's seen and what she's done.
The design is also a big part of it. I think Dan did such an incredible design. Like literally she looks so cool. She has the bow. She just looks good. He did 90% of the work for me. So, 10% was making sure I kept the voice correct, and gave her a little more angst.
Nrama: I know this is a big, encompassing question, but why do you enjoy writing Ranger Slayer?
Parrott: I think what I liked the most about writing her and just doing the one-shot - I liked putting her back in her world. I liked having her have to step back into a world that she had a hand in making for better or for worse, and the idea of having her step back into that story.
As much as I like Ranger Slayer in the main Mighty Morphin line, she was always a side character in those worlds. There were other stories going on. She was there to influence things, but she didn't have an invested interest in it as much as she was going back.
Putting her back, I really enjoyed the relationship between her and Bulk. Just that weird comradery that you would never in a million years guess would be fun. So, putting her back into this story and having her reunite with that character was a lot of fun. Having her have to face off against Trini and Zack after everything you saw in the 10 pager, the way that she just digs into her. The level of anger and betrayal there, but having to face that - seeing if they can overcome it and work together again. I think that was fun. We set so much in these books, it was so nice to finally put them back and actually put them on their feet and see them interact.
The thing about comic books that I love so much is I'm leasing her in a way. I get to write her for a little while. I get to put her on her feet, I hopefully get to put my fingerprints on her. I get to put her in a world, and then have someone else take the character make her better than I could possibly imagine.
So, I love that I get to put a little bit of a brick on the wall - now someone else gets to build off of that, and then someone else hopefully will build off of that. Then that's how you create, that's the beauty of comic books. It's the only medium that I really feel like you get to do that, and it stays going forever.
Nrama: Following this one-shot, would you like to write more Ranger Slayer in the future?
Parrott: At this time, I'm good. I'm fine letting it be in someone else's hands. But when I look at this, I guarantee there'll be a point where someone else will write something cool about the character and I'll be like, 'oh wow it'd be fun if you did this.' I'd love to step in after someone else has taken the reins for a little while. Then I can come in and hopefully add onto that work because I do love the character and I love that world.
For instance, I didn't create the Coinless Universe – that was all Kyle. I'm just building off of what Kyle built. The idea that someone else is building off of it, and then being able to build off it again - that's fun for me. I would definitely love to come back to that universe. Like I said, it's all part of one big comic book universe now.