There are two truly wonderful things to know about the 1995 Power Rangers movie. The first is that the main villain, Ivan Ooze, is played by the same actor who portrayed the bad archaeologist in the first Indiana Jones movie. That’s range!
But it’s nothing compared to the movie’s even weirder casting choice for Rita Repulsa, the growling evil queen. She’s played by Julia Cortez, also known as Cynthia, the wife with the creative ping-pong ball trick in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
I know this isn’t the MOST shocking thing you’ll ever hear — they are actors, and actors play different characters all the time! I just think it’s fun to find such an unexpected crossover in this, of all movies.
Anyway, there’s a new Power Rangers comic out this week in which they fight Godzilla. It’s pretty fun! Which is all you can really ask of a concept like that. Other new books this week are a bit more ambitious, with mixed results.
WE HAVE DEMONS ISSUE #1
We’ve got the makings of a fine mythological adventure here, in this book about a young woman who finds herself embroiled in the work of a band of ancient demon hunters. Lam is the daughter of a tiny-town preacher, and never considered his sermons about good and evil to be more than myths. But it turns out those powerful forces have been fighting since the dawn of the universe, and humanity needs someone to save it — so why not this wry twenty-something and her deadly prosthetic arm? There’s gore and gross-outs aplenty in this comedic mashup of godliness and grindhouse, and issue #1 offers a nice table-setting of gruesome action and backstory to keep the plot barreling forward and the life-of-death stakes clear. In the issue’s cliffhanger I sense an impending unlikely-buddy-adventure, pairing the sweet young Lam with a grizzled monster — but I have a feeling Lam’s tougher than she seems and her partner might have a soft spot under all that snarling. If there’s one downside to the book, it’s the art, which is perfectly competent but at no point as innovative as the story. Otherwise a very finely-crafted blood-drenched monster-killing romp.
Writer: Scott Snuder. Pencils: Greg Capullo. Inks: Jonathan Glapion. Colors: Dave McCaig. Letters: Tom Napolitano. Alt covers: Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, Greg Capullo, Jock.
GHOST CAGE ISSUE #1
In some far-distant future dystopia — or maybe just another dimension? — the maniacal boss of a mega-power-plant has just attacked his own facility with some sort of anthropomorphic drone. Is it a robot? A golem? A spirit? Hard to say, but the boss has SOME kind of scheme up his sleeve — he just needs a human patsy to guide his little creature through the levels of the plant. That’s where Doyle comes in, a low-level tech worker drafted on a dangerous (perhaps deadly) mission with the goal of … uh … um … er … yadda yadda yadda, they fight a bunch of monsters. This book has a lot going for it, starting with the beautiful black-and-white art that reminded me of an Evangelion story that just happens to take place at the nuclear plant from The Simpsons. The concept is intriguing as well — a power plant where different sources of energy take on anthropomorphic forms and fight like giant kaiju. But if you want to know why they’re fighting, hahaha good luck, that’s clearly not the point of this book. Fine stuff, as long as you don’t mind saying “huh?” at every page.
Writer: Caleb Goellner. Artist: Nick Dragotta.
It’s the early 2000s and a 15-year-old church girl is feeling awkward about her body, her friends, her thoughts — you know, literally everything, as is normal for that age. When Lauren is paired with a class “bad girl” on an assignment, she catches a glimpse at a larger possible world outside her tiny bubble, making this book a sort of spiritual daughter of Freaks and Geeks; but unlike that show, there are no conclusions or catharsis in the end, just the meaningless randomness of life. Familiar vignettes of teenagerhood ring true: Tense sleepovers, unpleasant adults, a cruel social pecking order are all keenly observed. The scratchy-scrawly unpolished art style evokes a high school notebook doodle, bound in an hardcover that is incongruously lavish for a story that evokes the youthful tentativity usually associated with zines. The villain of the piece is clear — anti-feminist ideology espoused by religious brainwashers — but if the story has any conclusions to draw about any of its elements, they are not articulated. Here, insights are the job of the reader.
Rating: ✝️✝️✝️ (3/5)
By Jessica Campbell.
ALSO: LEATHERSEX, SPACE ADVENTURE, and GODZILLA VERSUS TEENAGERS WITH ATTITUDE
This week sees a paperback release for Alice in Leatherland, a bondage-laced sex comedy that makes me nostalgic of the grimy sexuality of late-90s San Francisco. Beyond the Beyond launches with an intriguing tale of sci-fi liberation. And I am DELIGHTED by Godzilla vs Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, which is every bit as tasty as the title might lead you to believe — the prominent featuring of Rita Repulsa makes my queer heart sing.