Written by: Ryan Parrott
Illustrated by: Dan Mora
Colored by: Raúl Angulo with assistance from Jose Enrique Fernández
Lettered by: Ed Dukeshire
Editor: Dafna Pleban
The opening pages of most of the past 9 issues have been telling little snippets of a story from over ten thousand years ago, mainly focusing on 3 members of the Guardians of Eltar: Zophram, Zartus, and Zordon. We have seen them working undercover to determine why Dark Specter has been sending Hartunians to the planet Artavias, Zophram becoming the Supreme Guardian, and Zophram then choosing Zordon to be his successor despite Zartus having far more experience. At one point, we saw them discover Bandora’s Palace, home to Bandorian monks who do not talk in any known language, as well as the powerful Zeo Crystal. We then see Zartus secretly talk one of the monks into putting an incantation on the Zeo Crystal to ensure that no one unworthy would be able to even touch it. This has set us up for this issue, all of which takes place during this time period. Everything comes into place here, with the added bonus of a deadly assassin sent by Dark Specter. By the end of the issue, all 3 of the Guardians are in very different places, which should make things interesting in the future, considering Zartus arrived on Earth last issue. And if you have any doubts as to how big of a deal this issue is, Dan Mora returns to provide the art. That should tell you all you need to know.
Spoilers abound after the gallery of covers. If you haven’t read the issue yet, and don’t wish to be spoiled, please come back later. Otherwise, feel free to continue.
Story: Wow! Okay, so Parrott did a great job of setting this up over the previous issues, and paying it off here. Obviously the story isn’t finished yet, but this was great! The assassin is an interesting character, and I’m guessing that we haven’t really seen him before due to lack of space. I missed the banter between the 3 Guardians, but I did like how Zartus and Zordon’s reactions to the idea of Zophram joining the Council perfectly match their mindsets. Zartus is a warrior, and believes having a warrior on the Council would make things more efficient. Zordon, on the other hand, who would rather be a farmer and start a family, believes Zophram joining the Council would allow him to step away from combat and maybe start a family of his own. I also like the bit at the end, with Zartus basically confessing to what he did, but in such a way as to not implicate himself.
Some fun, possible influences showed up in this issue as well. During the fight with the assassin, Zophram and Zordon had a very Jedi Master/Padawan thing going on, with Zophram instructing Zordon during the fight. The Council actually reminded me of the Guardians of the Universe from Green Lantern, who are also often accused of doing too much thinking and not enough doing by the members of their protective force.
If I do have any complaints, it is that the ongoing, present day story has to be put on pause in order to tell this story. This is unfortunate because it really kills the momentum, especially considering that this flashback story does not appear to be finished yet.
Art: Dan Mora returns to the art duties for this issue, and turns out more of his usual top notch work. He designed everything in this issue, other than Zordon’s head, and made it all look spectacular. The layouts here are a feast for the eyes, the panel layouts are clear, and the big fight is well choreographed and dynamic. The coloring is also a welcome change from the norm, providing a more realistic, painted look, rather than the anime influenced coloring of previous issues.
Overall: Overall, this was a well paced read, and I am not looking forward to having to wait a month for the next part of the story. Did the assassin survive? Where is Zartus taking Zophram? How does Bandora’s Palace and the Zeo Crystal end up on Earth’s moon? Hopefully at least a couple of these questions will be answered next issue.