Power Rangers Super Samurai: #1 Memory Short (Graphic Novel)

So I imagine most of you have recognised my love of Power Rangers by this point, well I was lucky enough to get sent a review copy of Power Rangers Super Samurai: Memory Short from the quite awesome Papercutz. Courtesy of Jesse Post. Anyway it’s a graphic novel based on the show… Let’s take look.

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Now making a graphic novel for Power Rangers presents a fantastic opportunity that should be capitalised on; now what I’m talking about is the Super Sentai, or in this case Shinkenger. Because the TV series has to work plots around the footage from the corresponding show, not to mention monsters. So a graphic novel. Which obviously needing to stay true to the heart and themes of the show does not need to worry about working around Sentai footage. The writers and artists have the freedom to create something completely new.

So the plot focuses on Jayden mostly, loosing his memory after a battle with a monster. With this the rest of the team re capping the origins of the show to him until he eventually regains his memories and re joins the team to help save the day. It seems like a very basic premise and it does play out as such however this is a #1 issue and it’s fulfilling the need to explain the story and who the characters are to potential new readers joining the franchise so I can’t fault the writer’s choice to take the first story in this direction as it allows a quick recap of the Power Rangers Samurai story and origins in teh same way the opening titles does.

The script does fully capture the show, all the catch phrases that are in the show are here as well. This makes it feel like a great extension of the show and not a quick cash in attempt on the licence. A lot of work has gone into making the feel of it the same of the series. The cheesiness is well represented, something I don’t personally like but that’s a fault with the show and not the graphic novel (Let’s not forget I’m not the target audience here). Actually capturing that spirit is something to be congratulated when so many of the past Power Ranger comic series failed.

The script features the humour of the show which again works in the favour of the graphic novel. Despite the story’s mid section being based around trying to have Jayden remember his past and that he’s a ranger however as opposed to how it’s done in show with a break in the combat al of this takes place during a fight, with ranger’s trying to fill in the details constantly interrupted by monsters. It actually makes the story keep a frantic pace and puts a clever little take on the lost memory story that’s generally overused a lot.

Anyway while the story might not be as ambitious as I’d have liked future novels may go that direction, however what this story does very well is lead the art into needing to recreate the iconic visual scenes from the series…

So on the subject of the art work… It’s very well done, like a lot for past ranger comics I think it’s not at it’s best when it comes to showing the ranger’s UN morphed. The big bad monster of the novel I didn’t like as much either… Seeing nothing more than a mooger in design with tentacle arms and a brain for a head. It’s not as inspired as it could have been, for a comic it’s again not limited for needing a monster that looks like it could be portrayed by a man in a costume. However the action is generally very well done, nicely readable and some of the page spread art work is amazing!

I greatly enjoy looking over the great detail on the big page spreads, the two most shinning examples of the art work are the representation of the morph sequence which looks great and the Megazord “We are united” page which is probably the most detailed image in the whole graphic novel as looks better than the cover.

Now the cover is where things start to go wrong, I’m not a fan of the cover at all. It’s one half of what looks like a promotional image featuring all six heroes and for me just doesn’t work. The 3 primary colour rangers posed in attack stances, simple enough but not griping at all and the art actually seems inferior to the artwork within. Now with my review copy I was given another covering image that features the live action rangers and this image worked so much better, actually grabbing my attention. Given that it’s based on a live action series using the suited actors for the cover doesn’t’ seem like a bad idea, and if there’s not going to be a big page covering cover drawn for it then this would have been a good alternative. As it stands I don’t know if the live action cover I got sent was an alternative cover for some issues of just for the promotional/ digital copies but I prefer it.

There’s more than just the story that comes with the graphic novel. Before the main story there is page dedicated to each ranger that explains a little about them and shows pictures of the actors, ranger forms. Again I don’t know if this will be in every issue but it adds to the story being based around explaining the origins of the Samurai rangers and its also presented nicely on the pages. This being Super Samurai Antonio also gets his own page being a regular member of the team at this point.

So in summary I actually enjoyed the graphic novel a lot more than I thought I would. While I’m still not the biggest Samurai fan but this is very well done and fits in with the series. I have no idea if anything that happens within the novel stories will be presented as cannon within the series but for a first issue what you get it fun to read.

My own thoughts to a power rangers graphic novel were always that I’d have liked something aimed at the older fans of the series. Maybe with a darker graphical style and possibly a continuation of a previous series instead of a side story to a current series but I doubt this will ever happen. Again because I’m not the target audience, many more kids will read these graphic novels then adults will that aren’t fans of the show.

All in all from the comic media I’ve read in the past based on the PR shows in the past (mostly Mighty Morphin and Zeo) the paper representation of these shows has come along way. This is a quality effort at a PR graphic novel as well as being leaps and bounds above the comics I’ve read in the past. I still have my first issue of the original Power Rangers comic series (with the errors, not the re printed one) so I’m happy knowing that the team at Papercutz are doing their job well… now we just have to wait for Power Rangers Megaforce which will hopefully give them so decent material to work with concept wise. But in a word, if you’re a fan of the show then there’s a lot here for you to love!

David ‘Ryatta’ Wyatt
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Interested in the comic? Buy it on Amazon if your in the US here and the UK here

Papercutz Website

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About Ryatta

So about me... Well when I'm not reviewing things I'm a technical animator working in one of the UKs biggest game studios!

Posted on 08/31/2012, in Other, Text Reviews/Articles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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