REVIEW: ‘Power Rangers Unlimited: Heir To Darkness,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Power Rangers Unlimited Heir to Darkness #1

Power Rangers Unlimited: Heir To Darkness #1 is written by L.L. McKinney, illustrated by Simone Ragazzoni, colored by Igor Monti with assistance from Sabrina Del Grosso, and lettered by Ed Dukeshire. It is published by BOOM! Studios. Taking place before the events of Power Rangers in Space, the issue follows the early days of Astronema as she trains under Ecliptor to become one of the most skilled assassins in the galaxy.

Power Rangers In Space is one of my favorite Power Rangers series, especially given Astronema’s backstory and the mentor/fatherly relationship she had with Ecliptor. McKinney delves deeper into this relationship, showing that even though he may be a hard-assed and ruthless warrior, Ecliptor does care for Astronema. This is highlighted in a sequence where Astronema breaks down and Ecliptor, against his usual demeanor, gifts her with the last remaining link to her deceased family. Astronema is also shown to be her own worst enemy; under Ecliptor’s training, she will accept nothing less than perfection, and a repeated motif features her saying, “I am not a failure.” McKinney is no stranger to saddling superhuman protagonists with human fears and foibles, as evidenced by her previous work with Nubia: Real Ones and the novel A Blade So Black. It only makes sense that she would take the same approach to Astronema, and it works perfectly.

Ragazzoni, having previously illustrated Power Rangers: Drakkon New Dawn returns and applies the grittier style he used on that title to Heir To Darkness-which is fitting given that this title centers on its villains. Astronema is distinguished by her white-and-purple hair, as well as the green and black armor that matches her mentor’s. And Ecliptor wears weathered fatigues over his obsidian body, making him look like more of the weathered warrior he was in Power Rangers in Space. Ragazzoni even pays visual homage to the Super Sentai series Choudensi Bioman by illustrating its heroes in a battle against Astronema-that ends rather horribly. And his Dark Specter is the stuff of nightmares-a towering, fiery beast that looks like he walked out of the depths of hell. Dukeshire gives him appropriately jagged word balloons, while Monti colors said word balloons blood red.

Speaking of color, Monti and Del Grosso use darker hues to match the characters and the environment they live in. Astronema is almost always clad in dark greens and blacks, and the interior of her spaceship is a cool blue. In contrast, the arena where Astronema battles for supremacy is lit with hellish reds and yellows, matching Dark Specter’s fiery appearance. I like the difference in color compared to other Power Rangers books, which are usually brighter to match their protagonists’ color schemes and moral alignments.

Power Rangers Unlimited: Heir To Darkness #1 takes a look at the tragic backstory of one of the Power Rangers universe’s greatest villains, packing emotion and action in equal measure into its 44 pages. Given that the series is meant to tie into the currently ongoing Power Rangers series, I can’t wait to see how Astronema deals with a different team of Rangers.

Power Rangers Unlimited: Heir To Darkness #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Power Rangers Unlimited: Heir To Darkness #1
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TL;DR

Power Rangers Unlimited: Heir To Darkness #1 takes a look at the tragic backstory of one of the Power Rangers universe’s greatest villains, packing emotion and action in equal measure into its 44 pages. Given that the series is meant to tie into the currently ongoing Power Rangers series, I can’t wait to see how Astronema deals with a different team of Rangers.