Written by Kyle Higgins
Art by Jonathan Lam
Colors by Joana LaFuente
Letters by Ed Dukeshire
What makes a hero?
That's the question that blue ranger Billy struggles with in this issue. It's a theme that writer Kyle Higgins has brought up again and again in this new series, from Tommy's struggles with formerly being influenced by Rita to Zach's temptations with the same power source.
From a writing perspective, it allows Higgins to explore the main character's insecurities. In this case, the brainiest of the rangers is questioning whether he is a hero after freezing during a battle, forcing Kimberly to step up and save the day, which really probably doesn't help his self-esteem issues.
I really liked the writing in this issue. Higgins uses an omniscient narrator that frequently speaks directly to the reader about the Hero's Quest, both the storytelling tropes and an actual book Billy has with him throughout the issue. As the smart one of the bunch, it makes sense that he would be aware of it as a concept and try to apply it to his life. It also allows Higgins to delve into some pretty serious stuff. "Everyone wants to believe they can be the hero of their own story," Billy says at one point. "But not everyone can be." It might not be a huge revelation to us, but it is a level of introspection you don't always see. This is the level of character work that Higgins has been doing, it helps set the series apart from other licensed series.
The art, provided by Jonathan Lam, is a real treat. It's clearly more manga-influenced than some of the previous artists, but since the Power Rangers franchise is based on old Japanese tokusatsu shows it makes a lot of sense. Particularly Zach and Billy come across as looking way more Bishōnen than normal, but again, it works. Lam's line work is pretty sketchy (in that it looks sketched, not shady) and the colors by Joana LaFuente don't cover it up, like sometimes happens. I really liked the combination.
Overall, this is basically the perfect issue for someone to read to get a feel for the series as a whole. It's unconnected from the ongoing narrative, so new readers won't be lost as long as they have the basic power ranger knowledge. It also gives the reader an idea of how the series is a little more grounded and less campy than the TV show, and that in this series actions have consequences.