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Lord Zedd & Rita Repulsa

Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers
by yo go re

The horror of your presence is absolutely required at the marriage of Rita Repulsa & Lord Zedd

I could have sworn I was personally advised by Bruce Willis that this character was dead?

I may not have been big into Power Rangers, but there was no ignoring Lord Zedd back in the day; it's hard to miss when a children's TV show turns Frank from Hellraiser into a recurring villain! Unlike the rest of the characters, Zedd did not originate in the Japanese Zyuranger footage: he was invented by the US team and dropped into the story in Season 2. Initially a very intimidating force, he had to be toned down when parents complained that he was too scary for kids - a problem the writers dealt with by making him personally less threatening, but by making his plans and evil schemes more successful, with any defeats or setbacks he suffered coming by way of blind luck on the good guys' part, not by them being stronger or more skillful. Happy now, parents?

Zedd was originally human, until he tried to steal the Zeo Crystal and it messed him right the hfil up. He has no skin, just exposed muscle protected by a metal frame that loosely resembles bones. His faceplate has a large silver "smile" and an angular visor, but then his brain is exposed on the top. Blue tubes run over his arms and legs, presumably carrying some kind of life-sustaining material that his circulatory system is no longer set up to handle. He could really use a wash on the silver parts of his head, to bring out the details.

The Lightning Collection figures have wonderful articulation. Zedd moves with a balljointed head, hinged neck, pec hinges, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a balljoined chest(!), hinged abs, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. The tubes keep the limbs from moving around as wildly as they otherwise might, but the range is still decent. Just like when he was a solo release, Lord Zedd insludes an alternate pair of hands: a left fist and a right hand shaped to hold his staff. Unlike the solo release, they remembered to paint the silver on his fingers this time.

His accessories include his ostentatious Z staff, a lightning effect to fit around the top, and a Growth Grenade so he can make his monsters grow. [ah, making your monster grow is tight! --ed] On the original release, the lightning was red, but here it's purple. This release also comes with a chunk of kryptonite, in case a crossover with Superman breaks out. Hey, it's more likely than you might think! Also, one of the lesser-known effects of kryptonite is the ability to drain all the Power Ranger power from the Green Ranger, leaving him no choice but to become the white Power Ranger (not to be confused with a white power ranger).

Before Lord Zedd showed up, the Power Rangers' antagonist was Rita Repulsa, a witch who'd just spent 10,000 years locked in a dumpster on the moon. How did she get locked in the dumpster? How did it get to the moon? Why did astronauts see something that looked like a buried circular hatch and call it a "dumpster"? Were there even dumpsters in the year 8,000 BC? All these questions and more will be forever ignored.

Rita was Lord Zedd's underling, and when he determined she was a failure, he returned to take over the job. Her plot to regain her ex-position was to give Zed a love potion and marry him, so they could rule together - clearly their evil organization doesn't have any HR guidelines about superiors dating their employees. Or maybe it does, but the villains are both just too evil to bother following them? At first it was all a scam, but they did apparently end up falling for each other, since she never killed him and he was still into her after the potion wore off.

When Power Rangers stopped relying exclusively on Japanese footage, they needed to cast someone to play the character - it would be conspicuous if Rita and Zedd were never in the same shot together. It's not really clear which actress this toy is hoping to represent (a magical beauty treatment was the excuse to hide the transition), but she's sculpted with an angry scowl. I don't know about you, but I think of her more with that big, goofy smile, the one that makes her look like Nicki Minaj. Especially on her wedding day!

Rita's costume is... something. Her gray hair is twisted up into two giant horns, tied up as part of her headdress. Moving down, there's a big black collar with gold trim and blue... feathers? Cloth spikes? Something sticking out all around the edge. Below that is her second most iconic feature (after the hair), a breastplate with boob-spikes that could kill someone if she hugged them. She wears a brown dress with silver brocade patterns, and thick golden cuffs at the ends of the sleeves. There is a real body under there, so she's got as much articulation as Zedd, and the softgoods dress doesn't block it at all. Back when Bandai was making PR merch, they tended to make Rita wearing purple and pink, but Hasbro's stuck with the brown and silver.

You know if Lord Zedd was going to come with his staff, then Rita would have to come with hers, as well. It's nicely detailed, molded in black plastic and with gold and red paint up on the crescent moon device on top. Both the hands she has in the package are designed to hold it - not only so she can hold it in both hands at once, but also so she can still hold it no matter which of her alternate hands you want to use: a right hand that's open and gesturing, and a left fist. All the hands are molded and painted with her various gold rings. To fit with the wedding theme, she's also got the blue bottle of love potion, and a bouquet of flowers.

There's one more accessory that doesn't belong to either of them. Or maybe to both of them? It's their wedding cake; their gross, sloppy, silver wedding cake. This bit is entirely unpainted, just being cast in color. Why would it need to be painted? Well, even though we'd never expect them to do all the random drips of color that were on the prop cake, there's a big spider on the front that should be brown, and cake-topper figurines of Rita and Zedd on the top. Morphing Grid Fun Fact: the toppers were actual toys; Zedd was just the commercially available "Evil Light" Bandai action figure, while Rita was the unproduced prototype.

I nearly bought Lord Zedd when he was released by himself earlier in Hasbro's Lightning Collection, and was even tempted by the Rita Repulsa Bandai released in 2011, even though it was pretty awful. The only thing that stopped me both times was that I was only a casual Power Rangers fan. But put the two of them together in a box set (and on sale at GameStop) and I just can't resist. Even if you're not a die-hard fan, they're some of the most iconic villains to come out of the '90s and deserve toys this good. "The Wedding," the three-part episode that inspired this set, aired February 13, 14, and 15, 1995 - so, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Happy 26th anniversary, you two crazy kids!

-- 02/14/21

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