Nitro Battlers

Eric Kim. Inkskratch (inkskratch.storenvy.com), $.99 e-book (22p) ISBN 978-0-9865747-1-9
Kim, the illustrator of Love as a Foreign Language, tries his hand as a writer with an entertaining, thinly veiled homage to the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. It's been 10 years since the Nitro Battlers arrived on the crime-fighting scene, but only one, Nitro Red, remains. After getting trounced by a toothy monster that talks like a stereotypical frat boy, Nitro Red hitches a ride with a timid barfly named Ben and explains what led the Nitro Battlers to disband: the gruesome death of one of their own ("We were handed these powers and told to go save the world. It never occurred to us that we might die"). Working in black and white, Kim creates polished scenes of melancholic angst, full-throttle battle, and campy humor with equal skill. Other 1980s and '90s influences pop up, too: intrepid reporter Mary McMeal is a ringer for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' April O'Neil, and the (reunited) Nitro Battlers' vehicles combine to create a mecha that owes a bit to Wheeljack from Transformers. It's a thoroughly enjoyable, nostalgic read with some emotional heft behind it. A limited print edition is also available. Ages 12–up.
Reviewed on: 04/21/2014
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