In Power Rangers Unlimited: Edge of Darkness, one of Rita Repulsa’s earliest uses of magic reveals a different side of the villain.

WARNING: The following contains important spoilers for Power Rangers Unlimited: Edge of Darkness # 1 by Frank Gogol, Simone Ragazzoni, Igor Monti, Sabrina Del Grosso and Ed Dukeshire, out now.

The Power Rangers have seen friends and foes imbued with powers far greater than their own, from the Eltar Guardians in their shining and gleaming armor to dark perversions of themselves. They may have only seen the powers present in their own time, and how Edge of darkness reveals, Rita Repulsa first discovered her amazing affinity for healing thousands of years ago.

Long ago, Lady Fienna and her little daughter Rita were on the run from Master Vile and his Tenga Warriors. Dark Specter forces had been sent to retrieve the girl so that she could become a kind of sacrifice in a ritual that would make her the unwitting host of the evil tyrant’s spirit. Fortunately, Zordon had sent the Phantom Ranger to help them, and the frequently invisible hero managed to bring them to safety for some time. Unfortunately, he was also seriously injured in the process, bleeding power from the raw grid at an alarming rate. All Rita could do was watch her mother use her healing magics, though they only made things worse as far as anyone could tell. When Rita put her hands on his and offered words of encouragement, the Ranger’s condition miraculously began to change. With a little encouragement from her mother, Rita’s simple magic brought the Phantom Ranger off the brink.

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Rita told the Ranger a fairy tale, illustrating it with puppets made of light, and the Phantom Ranger was healed and given a renewed sense of purpose. When speaking to Fienna, the Ranger is openly surprised by Rita, though that is hardly surprising to Lady Fienna. As she explains, Lady Fienna and her husband, who would eventually become Master Vile, spent years studying the Morphin Grid. Over time, they discovered a way to look within and each saw a very different vision of their daughter. Where Master Vile saw the Rita Repulsa fans know best, Fienna saw a kind and gentle sorceress very much like her. With the abilities that Rita displayed at such a young age, there is no doubt that she could have become a capable magician and healer in her own right. Even with the dark path that was finally imposed on him, he still did, at least in some way.

Rita Repulsa is the most iconic villain the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers have ever faced, and a large part of that is because of the many, many monsters she unleashed over the course of the first series. Rita has had a lot of help creating and bringing to life various infantrymen and temporary lieutenants, but deep down, these creatures are not much different from the light puppets she was made to play with as a child. There is also an obvious parallelism between using his powers to heal and using them to bring new beings to life from little more than a few pieces of clay. Obviously, Rita has expanded on her childhood hobbies, but the fact that she could use them to do more than destroy is a strong indication of what she could have been, not to mention that her story might not be over.

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Even if Rita Repulsa is no longer part of the Boom! The studios version of the Power Rangers universe right now beyond his most recent flashback appearance, there is no hard and fast rule to stop him from being one again. The Rangers have seen battles in space and time, as well as other dimensions, and none of this even touches the idea that Rita could return to the scene through any of the myriad magical means available in the franchise. Nothing has been able to stop her for long before, save that Lord Drakkon murdered her, though even then he brought her back as a construction of his own. Hopefully, this won’t be the last time fans see Rita Repulsa in the comics, and she just might have another chance to show the world what kind of positive force she can be.

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