The Power Rangers have been a pop culture staple since the early 1990s, even as they have seemingly faded from the pillar they once stood upon. The campy superhero television series has evolved over time and has endured into its twenty-eighth year. Despite this, there has always been a question floating over the heads of many: What if Power Rangers replaced its camp with something more serious, something that better fit the storytelling of modern day? Well, that question has already been answered.
Power Rangers: The Psycho Path is an interesting entry into the mythology of the franchise. Taking place in the continuity of the highly popular comic adaptation of the show, The Psycho Path takes place after the events of the season, Power Rangers Lost Galaxy. The story revolves around Karone, the Pink Galaxy Ranger, who once served as a major antagonist in the prior season Power Rangers in Space as Astronema, a villainess who was the younger sister of the Red Space Ranger, Andros, who was kidnapped when the two were very young. Karone returns to her home on the human colony of KO-35, before she’s intercepted by the arrival of a group of evil Power Rangers she had created when she was Astronema. They are joined by Trip, a fellow evil who once served the same master as Astronema. As Andros assumes the worst of her, Karone attempts to free the Psycho Rangers from the shackles of their programming to only live to kill their colored Space Ranger counterparts. To form them together, not as soldiers, but as a family.
The Psycho Path is an apt title to give the story. The story revolves around the fact that the five Psycho Rangers are artificial constructs. They can die and easily be reset back to life by the data cards that contain their base programming. The question remains though… What does it mean to be an individual? What does it mean to be programmed and then to be given a choice for the first time? Karone knows this fully well. She was never brainwashed, but she was raised to believe the causes of evil were just and correct. And when she shed away the name of Astronema for Karone, she attempted to separate those two root personalities as something else. The Psycho Rangers are programmed to be nothing more than killing machines, soldiers meant to eliminate the Power Rangers and anyone else who gets in their path. And thus, through the book they learn more about their own free will—to ask who they want to be and not just what they’re programmed to do. This argument parallels Karone’s acceptance that she was Astronema, that the choices she made were her own, and that if she had the ability to overcome the things she was taught, well then, the Psychos should be able to as well.
Similar authors to Paul Allor that I might recommend include Kyle Higgins and James Tynion IV. Both have become widely well known for crafting superhero stories that go beyond what we normally read in them. They are stories about the breaking points that these heroes slowly go through as time progresses, that being a superhero is often more of a curse than the blessing most stories want us to believe. Higgins was the lead writer of the original Power Rangers comic, as well as being the creator of the upcoming Radiant Black series. Tynion has been the lead writer of the Batman comics since 2020, as well as writing extremely successful series such as Something is Killing the Children and The Backstagers.
The Psycho Path is proof that the Power Rangers can be more than just camp. It takes a serious look into the mind of someone like Karone, who was raised to be someone quite terrible and vicious, but shows us where she is now at a time and place where she is no longer that former person, and she is finally coming to terms with the fact that she was Astronema. A story like this is important because it reminds us that people aren’t always inherently horrible. People can change and strive to become better than what they used to be. Karone wants to give the Psycho Rangers the same chance that she had gotten. It wasn’t her fault she was raised how she was, but she has to take responsibility and accept what she did and how badly she hurt people. The Psycho Rangers were her creations, and now she wants them to live freely as any other person might. Whether they turn out good or evil, it doesn’t concern her. She wants them to know that they have free will and can choose to make whatever path they want, even if people resent her for it. Everyone deserves a second chance to learn and do better, and Karone sticks by that core belief no matter what. Even if it means going against her brother and his friends.
This story is definitely one I think people should read. It not only has themes that are extremely relevant in the current social climate, but it also is a good way to show how superhero stories can be far deeper and more complex than many give the genre credit for. I also recommend it to people who remember the franchise from their youth and may be interested in seeing where the series has gone since the early to mid-1990s.
The story of Karone and her creations is wonderfully written. It never holds back on showing the conviction of a person’s beliefs, even when it goes against the grain of what others want of you. Others may have wanted Karone to kill the Psycho Rangers, but she makes her own choices now and sticks by what she does—just like how she wants them to do the same, to truly understand what it is to be free.