Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artists: French Carlomagno, Francesco Mortarino
Colorists: Eleonora Bruni, Walter Baiamonte, Francesco Segala
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Release Date: 30th January 2019
One of the joys of the “Beyond the Grid” Ranger team has been a willingness to take certain characters in bold new directions as the result of the events of Shattered Grid creating an entirely blank slate for the new creative team. The most obvious member that this applies to is Heckyl, the corrupted protector of the Dark Energem, and this latest issue tells the story of how he became The Dark Ranger and how his power ended up destroying everything he loved.
Okay, since the book doesn’t really tell you (it’s clearly aimed at long-time fans who already know a little about the character, which I suppose is fair), I’ll quickly explain Heckyl. He was the protector of the Dark Energem on the planet of Sentai 6 until the evil Lord Arcanon came and destroyed the entire planet. While trying to escape and protect the gem, Heckyl touched the Energem and was transformed and corrupted into Snide. After several encounters with the Dino Charge rangers, he was freed and was able to return to Sentai 6 before its destruction.
All of this back story is fairly vital to know, as it explains exactly why Heckyl does what he does in this issue. This is the story of a man doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. A man who is hell-bent on not letting the past repeat itself, and the inherent tragedy of what he has to become in order to stop what is coming.
Since the majority of this issue is a flashback, art duties this time fall to French Carlomango, while Francesco Mortarino and Walter Baiamonte cover the scenes set in the present day with their usual quality and skill. Carlomango brings a unique style here which works really well here alongside Elonora Bruni’s colours. The palette features the almost dazzling brightness of a reborn Sentai 6, but isn’t afraid to let the shadows dominate as the story dictates. However, when Bruni’s colours work best is when Carlomango kicks things into high gear in this book’s dramatic and climactic finale. The images and colours on display are simply jaw dropping and I dare not spoil them here.
With this new team of Rangers, we’re getting to explore new characters and new ideas and that’s precisely what this issue does so well. We’re in unchartered territory here, and we’re all the better for it as the back story for the Dark Ranger sets him up as a unique and compelling member of this team. He’s almost a metaphor for this new creative team and new era. Unique, bold, and risk-taking in the best possible way.
The writer of this piece was: Jonathan Mullen
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