Core points of Gamers


Core points of Gamers

How Jason David Frank’s Legacy Lives On In Comics

Since his first appearance on the original television series nearly thirty years ago, Jason David Frank has been the quintessential Power Ranger to millions of fans. Whether he is best known as the first Green Ranger or as the founder of the Dino Thunder team, there is no doubt that Tommy Oliver holds a special place in the hearts of everyone who fell in love with the franchise. This makes the news of his passing on November 20, 2022 especially heartbreaking, but it also ensures that his legacy will live on for years to come, and that’s just as true in the comics as it is on the small screen.

When Frank made his initial appearance as Tommy Oliver in 1993’s “Green With Evil” from the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, was the worst threat the team of the same name had ever faced. In addition to Tommy’s powers as Rita Repulsa’s Green Ranger, Tommy wreaked havoc in the Ranger Command Center before nearly wiping out Angel Grove. Fortunately, the heroes were able to help Tommy break Rita’s hold on him before Zordon offered him a place among the rest of the Mighty Morphin team. This began what would be a long and storied career as a Ranger for Tommy, one that saw him wear five different mantles over the course of four iterations of the franchise, though they weren’t the entirety of the legacy he left behind.

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Jason David Frank has three distinct legacies in the Power Rangers comics

2018 Power Rangers: Soul of the Dragon Kyle Higgins and Giuseppe Cafaro’s graphic novel brought readers to a not-too-distant future where Tommy had long since retired from being a Ranger after a near-fatal encounter with another monstrous foe. Tommy’s son JJ, on the other hand, was on his way to becoming a hero in his own right as a member of the SPD rangers. That was until his abrupt departure from the force was followed by JJ’s complete disappearance. Despite wielding only a broken Morpher and being crippled from his previous injuries, Tommy sprang into action to save his son. Of course, the fact that JJ has only been undercover certainly complicated things, although it also showed how much he resembled Tommy.

dragon soul offered a cathartic cap to Tommy Oliver’s original story, but the ongoing series of BOOM! The studios have their own Tommy for fans to follow. Like Tommy on the small screen, his comic book counterpart started out as a pawn for Rita Repulsa before joining the rest of the Rangers in their fight against evil. In over a hundred issues, Tommy went from green to white and took over the leadership of the Mighty Morphin team in Jason Lee Scott’s place, just as he did in the main timeline. Unlike any other iteration of the character, however, Tommy has also had to contend with his worst instincts in the form of comics’ greatest villain yet: Lord Drakkon.

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Power Ranger Comics Has Remixed Jason David Frank’s Tommy Oliver

mmpr lord drakkon has returned

Drakkon, the twisted Tommy Oliver from another timeline who chose evil, has been the most pressing concern for Rangers comics for most of its existence. Drakkon not only murdered and usurped Rita’s place, but also remade the entire Multiverse in his own image before his reign of terror came to an end. Amidst all the abject cruelty, it seemed as if there was never any hope of redemption for Drakkon, yet the past year has shown that even he has something resembling old Tommy buried inside of him. When the Rangers faced the nearly unstoppable threat of the Empyreals, Drakkon proved instrumental in bringing about their defeat.

Though he was last seen setting off for the stars with a new army, the fact that Drakkon didn’t turn on the Rangers as soon as he had the chance shows that he’s not simply a villain. If anything, Drakkon proves that even the worst Tommy Oliver is capable of amazing things. Whether standing tall as a retired or active hero or something else entirely, Tommy has encapsulated, is, and always will encapsulate everything it means to be a Power Ranger. Thankfully, fans will always have their favorite episodes to look back on if they need to remember where it all started, just like they have the comics to look forward to when it comes to figuring out where Tommy’s story is headed. Wherever you are, may the power protect you.

If you or a loved one in the United States is dealing with depression, anxiety, or thoughts of self-harm or suicide, call the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988.

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