Ryan Parrott wrapped up the latest crossover event for BOOM! Studios Power Rangers line of comic books: The Eltarian War. As with the Shattered Grid and Necessary Evil events, The Eltarian War continued the chain of events for the Power Rangers comic book universe to diverge from what we saw take place in the TV Show. There were a lot of elements in The Eltarian War that changed the perception of many iconic Power Rangers characters. Because of how much went on in this event let’s examine the biggest takeaways from The Eltarian War.
POWER RANGERS: THE ELTARIAN WAR CREATIVE TEAM
Before getting into the event some details about the comic book crossover itself. The Eltarian War crossover event is a story is an eight part story that was split between Mighty Morphin #13 to #16 and Power Rangers #13 to #16. Both series are written by Ryan Parrott, who has been the lead writer for BOOM! Studios Power Ranger comics since the start of Necessary Evil with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #40. The art was split between Marco Renna on Mighty Morphin and Francesco Mortarino on Power Rangers. They were joined by colorists Walter Baiamonte, Sara Antonellini, Katia Ranalli, and Raul Angulo with lettering by Ed Dukeshire.
WHAT HAPPENED IN THE ELTARIAN WAR?
Coming directly off the events of the Unlimited Power story that saw Supreme Guardian of Eltar Zartus seemingly kill Zordon the Earth is targeted by the full might of the Eltarian army. In order to defend Earth without their mentor the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers put aside their differences with the Omega Rangers to unite against all the evil forces.
As the Power Rangers and Omega Rangers work together to defend Earth, Zartus waste no time in targeting Lord Zedd’s Moon Base, who during Unlimited Power was revealed to been the previous Supreme Guardian of Eltar known as Zophram and was Zartus and Zordon’s mentor before his transformation. With Lord Zedd seemingly killed in the attack Goldar, Squatt, Baboo, and Finster are forced to flee to Earth where they decide to team-up with the Power Rangers and Omega Rangers.
As the two Power Ranger teams form a plan Zordon is revealed to be alive and brought back in a special containment suit to join the fight in the front lines. Zordon then leads a group of Rangers to strike against Zartus while the remaining Rangers continue to fight of the Eltarian Army.
This forces Zartus hand and he goes to Earth and brings the Empyreals with him to destroy the world. The Power Rangers then summon all their Zords to form the Thunder Megazord, White Tiger Dragonzord, and the Ultra Omegazord. During the fighting Grace Sterling is able to destroy the device Zartus was using to control the Empyreals, releasing the Empyreals to reign uncontrolled destruction and forcing Zartus to retreat.
With the two Power Ranger teams fighting the Empyreals on Earth it gives Zordon a chance to teleport to the Moon where he looks for the Zeo Crystals. As soon as he arrives he is attacked by the surviving Lord Zedd shows up and fights Zordon. With the two fighting it gives Zartus the chance to find the Zeo Crystals. Zordon and Lord Zedd end up teaming up to stop Zartus and after a long, grueling fight Zordon is able to kill Zartus.
Meanwhile the Power Rangers barely fend off the Empyreals. Luckily for them Lord Drakkon appears with the vampire-like Horrid army to provide back-up to get his own revenge on the Empyreals. As the battle comes to an end the Blue Emissary of the Morphin Masters shows up and rips the Empyreal in half.
In the direct aftermath Drakkon teleported away with the Horrid and Blue Emmissary left to find the Morphin Masters and protect the Universe with the time they have left. Lord Zedd also ended up returning Zordon to Earth only for his minions to have left a surprise back the Command Center ready to be activated at any point in the future.
PRE-COUNTDOWN TO DESTRUCTION
As with Shattered Grid and Necessary Evil before it the thing that Ryan Parrott, Marco Renna, Francesco Mortarino, Walter Baiamonte, Sara Antonellini, Katia Ranalli, and Raul Angulo absolutely nailed was the scope of the event. What really stuck out about the scope of The Eltarian War was how much it reminded me of the finale for Power Rangers In Space’s finale, Countdown To Destruction. While not necessarily involving the entire universe the stakes were at that level if both the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Omega Rangers failed to stop the Eltarian army and Empyreals.
Adding to the stakes was how the artwork by Renna, Mortarino, and the rest of the team really felt like a full on war was taking place on Earth. There was massive action sequences that left both Power Rangers teams with having to pull out all the stops just to survive. The deeper we got to the end of the event we saw multiple plains of action as big fights were going on not just on Earth but in space and on the Moon at the same time.
Making the entire event even bigger was the epic scale towards the end as the Power Rangers not only busted out the Thunder Megazord but the Omega Rangers formed the Ultra Omegazord and the White Ranger and Green Ranger combined the White Tigerzord and Dragonzord to form the White Tiger Dragonzord. You really can’t get more epic in Power Rangers battle than three Megazords fighting against even the God-like Empyreals. The White Tiger Dragonzord in particular was a dream combination that you could only dream of but felt very real once it happened on screen.
REDEFINING THE ELTARIANS PLACE IN THE POWER RANGERS MYTHOS
Even in doing my best to summarize everything that happened in the eight part The Eltarian War crossover as efficiently as possible a lot went down, with many smaller character moments not mentioned. What is to be sure is that coming out of both the Unlimited Power and Eltarian War sagas we will never look at the Eltarian’s the same again.
Before all the events of the BOOM! Studios Power Rangers comic books we were led to believe that the Eltarians were a benevolent race like Zordon was. And to be sure, as we saw in the flashbacks, they were positioned in such a role before Zordon left and became who we know him to be in the franchise. But with everything that Zartus did as the Supreme Guardian of Eltar the façade of a benevolent planet.
Honestly, I never thought we would see the people of Eltar be positioned as the villains of a Power Rangers story. Credit to Ryan Parrott and his team for pulling such a move off in a believable way. Because it was thanks to the many flashbacks, we got in both Unlimited Power and Eltarian War that made Zartus and the Eltarians such believable threats. There was feeling that we went through a full saga with Eltarians as the main antagonist.
By the end we are left with Eltar placed in an even more complicated position because it is now a leader in search for a leader. While Zordon motivates Zelya, a noble Eltarian that sided with the Power Rangers during this story, to step up to be a leader that is easier said than done. Which could go on to explain why there was more of a reason that in Power Rangers Turbo that Zordon and Alpha 5 went back not to just reunite with their family but help stabilize the political situation on Eltar. It also could explain why we see by the end of Power Rangers Turbo and beginning of In Space that Eltar fell to Dark Specter’s forces so quickly when previously Eltar had a powerful army of Guardians.
LORD ZEDD AND ZORDON BACKSTORY EXPANDED ON
In the lead up to The Eltarian War the biggest revelation that Ryan Parrott delivered was that Lord Zedd was not only formerly an Eltarian but was the mentor of both Zordon and Zartus when he was the Supreme Guardian of Eltar known as Zophram. Tying Lord Zedd’s origin deeper into the Power Rangers lore was the fact that his current red scarred body was do to his attempt to use the Zeo Crystals to gain even more power. Building these key character details connected Lord Zedd even deeper to the developments in The Eltarian War even though he wasn’t the main antagonist.
This backstory made the rivalry between Zordon and Lord Zedd in particular even more fascinating than it ever was on the show. Both being Eltarians with a past together meant that they knew each other better than we ever knew before. As soon as Lord Zedd made his big return when Zordon got to the Moon by himself there was an instant intensity to the meeting. You knew something big was going to go down as soon as they came face-to-face. Which is what exactly happened as they came to blows. The duel did not last long but because of the backstory previously established the time they spent fighting each other felt epic.
The animosity between Zordon and Lord Zedd made their eventual team-up to stop Zartus an even bigger moment. It is a story development that elevated Zartus as the main villain of the story as it took both Zordon and Lord Zedd to stop the current Supreme Guardian of Eltar. Even then Zartus, because of his battle skills, was still able to outduel both Zordon and Lord Zedd. It was only thanks to Zartus dropping his guard due to overconfidence that Zordon was able to hit a killing blow on the villain.
Adding in this team-up made the aftermath issue in Power Rangers #16 with Lord Zedd having an injured Zordon right were he wanted him a scene you really didn’t know what was going to happen. The feeling that Lord Zedd could change the game by killing Zordon was real, especially when Zordon called him by his former name of Zophram. In the end, Lord Zedd taking Zordon back to the Power Rangers worked on multiple levels to set-up future storylines, which I’ll get to more in a bit.
MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS & OMEGA RANGERS
While Zordon, Lord Zedd, and the Eltarians got a lot of the focus both the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Omega Rangers also showed how much they’ve all grown since BOOM! Studios launched the comic books. With Zordon being taken out in the lead up to The Eltarian War Parrott was able to use the start of the event to show how both Power Rangers team did not hesitate to act. They weren’t just left thinking what Zordon would do.
Tommy Oliver, Kimberly Hart, Jason Scott, and Trini Kwan in particular all showed how much they’ve grown as leaders. These weren’t just teenagers fighting aliens. They are all battle harden individuals that knew they needed to step up even more without Zordon around. The four of them made decisions that showed no hesitation.
One of my favorite moments was Kimberly calling out Jason for how for all their disagreements Jason was acting a lot like Zordon. It was a simple but effective scene that further positioned both characters to step up when the fighting resumed in a unique way.
While Tommy, Kimberly, Jason, and Trini certainly got major individual moments what was most important was that we saw both Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Omega Rangers teams fighting together. The strength of the franchise is seeing the Power Rangers fighting as a united team. Which is exactly what we got here and showed how much of a difference it made as they were able to defend Earth even as the Eltarians and Empyreals threat-level continued to grow.
WHAT IS NEXT FOR POWER RANGERS BOOM! UNIVERSE
In the immediate future we know that Ryan Parrott will only be writing the Power Rangers comic book, which is the series featuring the Omega Rangers adventures, post-The Eltarian War. Mat Groom, whose previous writing credits include the Ultraman comics for Marvel and Image Comics’ Self/Made, will be taking over Mighty Morphin with issue #17. Given how many Power Rangers comic books he has been writing since Go Go Power Rangers it is understandable Parrott wanted to focus on just one Power Rangers series moving forward. It opens things up for Parrott’s schedule to work on other projects. And while I’m not familiar with Groom’s writing BOOM! Studios has built enough credibility with their handling of the Power Rangers comic books that they chose him because they believe he will continue the high quality storytelling these comics are known for.
From a story perspective, while The Eltarian War is now over there are still a lot of major storylines for both Mighty Morphin and Power Rangers to deal with in the direct fallout. For Mighty Morphin we saw at the end of Power Rangers #16 that Finster planted something at the Command Center as ordered by Lord Zedd. Given that the cover for Mighty Morphin #18 shows a destroyed Command Center and the cover for Mighty Morphin #19 features Rocky’s Red Ranger facing off against the Cogs it could mean we could be moving into Power Rangers Zeo territory. With the Zeo Crystals already having been established in this universe the Mighty Morphin team may need a new source of power to combat the growing threats. Which would be another major divergence since Kimberly and Aisha are still on the team along with Matthew Cook still being the Green Ranger.
Then over in the Power Rangers series we are likely to see Parrott continue to explore the greater universe and tying in elements from other Power Rangers series into the comics. We already saw how he brought in Astronema during the Unlimited Power storyline. At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if Parrott continues to tie things in from the Power Rangers In Space season with Dark Specter, including more stories involving Astronema or another major villain seen in future Power Rangers. Then you factor in that Drakkon is still around and growing in his power as he is still around ready to wreck even more havoc.
Overall, The Eltarian War was an incredibly fun storyline that continued the tradition of epic events being built in BOOM! Studios Power Rangers comic books. The scale of the story reached its own level of grandeur to set it apart from Shattered Grid while hitting a similar scale. The entire event felt hit the level of the Countdown To Destruction finale we got in the Power Rangers In Space season.
It was all really a gift for Power Rangers fans that we got such a story that expanded on everything we know about the mythology. The entire creative team worked incredibly well together to mix in moments that will have fans geeking out with meaningful character development. Things like the White Tiger Dragonzord being formed was such a hyped moment that was made better by how that was something that Parrott was building towards happening during Unlimited Power. Then there are the strong character moments for characters like Zordon, Lord Zedd, Kimberly Hart, Jason Scott, Trini Kwan, and Tommy Oliver that really helped elevate the story to another level.
If you are a Power Rangers fan you really won’t be disappointed when reading The Eltarian War. I highly recommend reading this event along with the Unlimited Power storyline that lead to it. Ryan Parrott, Marco Renna, Francesco Mortarino, Walter Baiamonte, Sara Antonellini, Katia Ranalli, Raul Angulo, Ed Dukeshire, Dafna Pleban, and Gwen Waller should all be proud of the story they delivered. It spoke to the magic of the franchise and I’m excited for where the Power Rangers comic books go next after this.