This week, two of the biggest superhero teams in the world are meeting for the very first time. DC's Justice League and the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers are going into battle in a new DC/Boom Studios collaborative series — and we sat down with writer/artist team Tom Taylor and Stephen Byrne to find out more.
Having read the first issue, I can tell you that Justice League/Power Rangers checks as many nostalgic boxes as you'd possibly want out of a crossover between these two superheroic icons. After a teleporter accident leaves Zack stuck in the earth of DC's superheroes, there are classic team-ups, misunderstandings between the good guys, and a whole lot of fun, yet nefarious schemes for them to tackle after they're done punching each other.
It's everything you'd want out of a book like this — but if you want to read more about it, check out our full interview with Taylor and Byrne below, as well as four pages from the first issue of the crossover.
How did you both come to join the Justice League/Power Rangers crossover project in the first place?
Tom Taylor: I think we probably joined the same way, in that DC obviously came together and had people in mind, and they contacted us!
Stephen Byrne: So yes, which we're incredibly happy about it.
Tom Taylor: Email — we said, "Yes, yes. We'll do that!"
Stephen Byrne: I don't think they knew at the time how enthusiastic a fan of Power Rangers I was, but, they found out pretty quickly. Once they contacted me.
You both have history working with DC — I was going to ask what your relationship with Power Rangers over the years has been like, but it sounds like you're both big fans.
Byrne: Yeah, I was a fanatic as a kid and it's always help a kind of special place in my memories of, like one of my earliest introductions to superheroes, and superpowers and action-adventure stories and that kind of thing. I've always felt affectionate and nostalgic about Power Rangers and so, that I gained the opportunity to work on it now is very exciting.
Taylor: I don't anyone could be as a big a fan as Stephen is. I've worked that out through two interviews. Like, there's just this — you're glowing, as he talks about it, it's just like a different part of his brain is activated when he talks about Power Rangers. But for me, it was a show that was on at four o'clock right after school, so, you'd come home, you'd watch a mastodon shoot at a monster and you'd go, "Yes, this is a cool thing!"
What can you tell us about the set-up for the series in general, going in?
Taylor: Something very, very massive has happened in Angel Grove, in the Power Rangers' world, and then another massive event sends one of our main characters, Zack, into the Justice League's world. And I can't tell you too much more, but there's a bit of conflict, there's struggle, there's misunderstanding — those are classic tropes that you want to see when hero teams that don't know the other ones are heroes come together. A little bit of miscommunication leads to badness. But eventually, good too! And really it's just a great opportunity to take these two heroes from two different worlds and bring them together in a way I don't think anyone could see coming. I don't think even Stephen could have seen this coming. It's wild and strange.
Byrne: Now I'm reading it, like, I'm getting it issue by issue and it's really big, the story's like — when you think the scale of it could not get any bigger, it does. So that's really exciting. There's lots of opportunities to draw a lot of really fun stuff.
Taylor: In a way, I think the comics are like the episodes. I mean, the comics start small and grow and grow and grow, just like the Power Rangers themselves are growing and morphing and calling in their Zords and then the Megazord, and fighting monsters, it's the same thing as you turn the comics page forward.
Stephen — what was it like to combine the aesthetics of the Power Rangers world with the realm of DC superheroes?
Byrne: I think it was fun. I mean, it was an initial challenge on the project to think about that. "Tonally, where does this land?" and they asked me, when they first contacted me, to do a piece of concept art on how I would approach the characters. I did like a splash image of the DC characters and the Power Rangers characters. In my mind, the Justice League have existed in all sorts of forms over the years, from the very dark, like, Tom's Injustice comics to the animated Justice League TV series, which is very bright, and I think this is somewhere in the middle. And I think that the Justice League have existed all along that spectrum and this is just somewhere on that spectrum. So, it didn't feel like they didn't fit together, it was just like, "OK, I just have to find which version of the DC characters fit with the Power Rangers", and I think I was able to do that once I started to come at it like that.
The Rangers come from a world where they're pretty much the only superheroes around. How do they react to coming to the DC Universe which is just jam-packed full of heroes and villains alike?
Taylor: Well I think the problem is that the first person — the first superhero — they meet, is Batman. And nobody meeting Batman on a dark street at night is going to think he's a hero! So I think they react exactly as you or I would react in that situation. It is a bit odd for them. But certainly, they have got bigger things to worry about. Something's going to come along in issue #2 in particular that really takes things to another level and they don't have time to be over-awed by Wonder Woman and Superman and Batman. They have got much bigger fish to fry.
On the Ranger's side we have beloved, classic villains like Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd. Can we expect anyone from there beyond Zedd? And will we see any of the villains from the DC side coming up in the crossover, as well?
Taylor: Well, we're definitely going to see Lord Zedd. I can happily tell you that. Lord Zedd will appear in this book. And he is one of the biggest problems. The other big problem is a DC villain who we can't actually announce yet, but make sure you get issue #2.
You mention the first issue is all about the Rangers being pulled over to the world of DC. Will we get to see the Justice League hanging out in Angel Grove?
Taylor: I don't want to spoil it. I mean, you've seen the first three pages of the first issue and you'll understand why that might be a problem. But who can say? I won't spoil it. But you'll certainly see all of the Justice League and all of the Power Rangers together.
Every good crossover has to have that moment where the cast go off and split into different pairings. So which has been the most fun for you to write, Tom, and you to draw, Stephen?
Taylor: There's actually one that I just started and its sort of in issue #4, and I'm just like, "Ahh, this is perfect" so I can't talk about that. But obviously Zack and Batman work great. As soon as they team-up, they work really well together. And in issue two they get some really good lines together and some good stuff — and that carries into issue #3. Kimberly and Wonder Woman together for the first time is great. And there's also something to do with Kimberly and Batman, which, I think, all fans will enjoy.
Byrne: Yeah, I mean — you see, in the first issue, there's a teaser of Pink Ranger and Batman interacting and I hope that we see more of that!
The first issue of Justice League/Power Rangers will drop this Wednesday, January 11th.