Power Rangers fans and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans are getting the crossover of their lives with BOOM! Studios' Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and we recently had the chance to chat with writer Ryan Parrott all about the new series. Issue #1 is in comic stores today, so if you've had a chance to check it out we've got all the spoiler-filled conversation right here. If you haven't read it yet, feel free to check out our spoiler-free review of the issue right here, and then just come back for the spoilery discussion. First up in our chat was how the issue handles Tommy, who is revealed to be part of the Foot Clan. Having Tommy play the villain is something we've seen before, so we had to ask if he was at all worried about taking that angle, but he promised there is far more to the story than what has been revealed thus far, and it will all make sense then.
"It sort of stemmed from the idea of... is there a way to dig into a little bit of mythology without it being just the standard mistaken identity element of it all, " Parrott said. "And the fact that Tommy has a past that is a little bit more shaded in mystery, and he was on his own for a little while, we know that he would've been an orphan. It opened up this idea that maybe there were areas of his past that we need to get to, and so without giving up too much, that sort of allowed us, that might be the twist that you're looking for, is that there's a part of the story that... I feel like I'm giving away too much."
In a welcome departure from other crossovers, there's not a great deal of time spent on establishing how these two groups of characters are meeting, and that was definitely intentional for Parrott, who gets things moving quickly by laying out that the two groups inhabit the same world.
"Yes, I mean that was very important to me in the series," Parrott said. "You and I both read a lot of superhero crossover events, and one thing that I was always not frustrated with, but one thing that's always sort of bothered me a little bit... these are very limited. You only have a limited amount of pages and I didn't want to waste 10 to 15 pages having people travel from other dimensions even though that would've been very easy because of the Rangers and all the stuff that we have. I just felt like, let's just have them live in the same world. Obviously, with the fact that the Rangers have encountered the Power Rangers from In Space later on, it suggests that they already are in the same universe in some way."
"The Power Rangers are out there fighting and saving the world out in the open, but the Rangers do not know that the Turtles are fighting within the shadows," Parrott said. "They're fighting as a clan and keeping themselves secret, in the way that they were in the really early TV show. I just felt like that was the coolest way to do it because in a lot of ways, they already have so many similarities, but that's the key difference between the two of them is that one of them stayed in the world out in the open, and one of them stayed in the sewers, and that plays a big part into the story that I'm telling now too, with how they can sort of walk in each other's shoes."
Fans will definitely notice that Parrott is a fan of the franchise, and if you're a fan of the original movies (which, how could you not be really), you're going to absolutely love this version of Raphael.
"I mean I'm a huge fan of the Ninja Turtle movie," Parrott said. "I think it holds up in its day. I think it is the major reason why people love Raphael as much as they do because to me, in the show, in the cartoon, he was just kind of sarcastic, right? But in the movie, he became this Wolverine-ish figure, this sort of brooding tough character, and he's so emotional. I just saw in the last Ninja Turtles movie, there's a moment when they're like fighting Shredder and he's like, "Bros, I got to tell you, I love you guys. I'm sorry if I'm a jerk." He has the most emotion, but he's trying to hold it all in. I always loved that about Rafael, and I love that first movie. I could quote you everything in there."
A big part of the issue's charm is the banter between the Turtles, including some spot-on commentary from Michelangelo and Donatello. The former makes an amazing observation about Ninjas announcing they are about to vanish, while Donatello has to ask the question we all have wondered at some tie or another, and that's how Tommy plays the Dragon Dagger though his helmet.
"When we were writing it, that's the stuff that pops back in," Parrott said. "When Tatsu, I think it was Tatsu when he was like, 'We shall vanish', and I'm just like, why would you do that? You're just ninjas, just run, everybody run. I always like to try to throw in little things from the movie because I remember loving it so much."
"And then, with the flute thing, that's one of the things that's really fun about having the Turtles and the Rangers in the same world. I knew Donatello was a way to ask some of the questions that I think raise your thinking a little more, like, how does Tommy play a flute through a metal faceplate?"
One of the most impressive parts of the issue is Simone Di Meo's gorgeous artwork and Walter Baimonte's vivid colors, which not only produce stunning action sequences but also brings out each Turtle's unique personality in spades.
"Oh, he's just fantastic," Parrott said. "I mean one of the things really early that made me feel good was when he sent the first drawing of the Turtles. All I could see was a sketch with them, and then on the right, it had the shape of the masks. His point was, 'I want to change the face mask to convey their personalities a little bit more.' At first, I was like, 'oh, I don't know if the fans are going to be okay with that.' Then I saw what he did, and I was like, 'oh man, that looks fantastic.' They really do. I loved the fact that when you look at it, I get the pages without color, and I know who the Turtles are just based on the shape of the mask."
"I thought that was such a nice little, that's just a smart character detail that he does," Parrott said. "And that's something he does in all of this work. He's just very aware of, even the Turtles who can kind of look the same, he found ways to make them feel different in their personalities and the way that they move, and just the way that they function. That kind of level of thought process in his work has been amazing. I love his work. I love stuff that he's done. I can't wait for people to see more of the fun interaction he's done with them. It's a lot of work, and he puts a lot of great detail into it."
You can read the full issue of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 right now, and you can find your local comic shop right here. Look out for more from our interview with Ryan in the coming days, and you can always hit me up on Twitter @MattAguilarCB for all things Power Rangers and TMNT!