Ever since Boom Studios launched their Power Rangers comic franchise back in 2016 by outselling every Marvel comic book the month it launched, Power Rangers has become something we cover a fair amount on Bleeding Cool. No one is more surprised by this than me.
For the last 6 months, we've focused our attention on Boom's relaunch of the industry mainstay into two twin ongoing series, Mighty Morphin and Power Rangers, both written by Ranger architect Ryan Parrott with art by Marco Renna and Francesco Mortarino respectively. In particular the run-up to the reveal of the new Green Ranger's identity… with a slight detour to cover Boom's Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Complete Comic Collections Kickstarter that closed at over $800,000.
But now that the new Green Ranger has been revealed as Matthew Cook, a character that originated in Boom's series Go-Go Power Rangers, and sales for Mighty Morphin and Power Rangers have stabilized, the question on our minds is – what does Boom have in store next?
The first hint of how Parrott and Boom plan to expand the Ranger 'Verse in the comics may be in the book FOCing today – Power Rangers Unlimited: Heir to Darkness #1. Normally an eight dollar one shot would be something retailers and fans might be able to skip, but we understand they may do so at their own peril in this case.
First because the special is written by L.L. McKinney, the prominent YA author who co-founded the Juneteenth Book Fest and started the impactful #PublishingPaidMe and #WhatWOCWritersHear hashtags on Twitter. McKinney, who was named one of The Root's 100 Most Influential African-Americans of 2020 and BET's 100 Entertainers and Innovators of 2020, recently made her debut in graphic novels by writing Nubia: Real One for DC and brings a sizable and passionate fanbase with her.
Secondly, as we understand it, not only does this special reveal the true origin of one of the most popular Power Ranger villains, Astronema, who terrorized the team in Power Rangers in Space and eventually was rehabilitated into the first non-earth human Pink Ranger, Karone, in Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy, but it directly sets up upcoming events in the Mighty Morphin and Power Rangers series. Karone has previously appeared in Boom's Shattered Grid and Beyond the Grid events as well as the Power Rangers: Psycho Path graphic novel, so clearly Boom has big plans for this fan favorite character and Parrott has demonstrated he likes seeding key characters early in runs. We know Astronema will appear in Power Rangers #5, which FOC'd last week, but how will these two issues lead into bigger storylines in 2021?
One thing is almost certain, with Power Rangers Unlimited: Heir to Darkness' eight dollar cover price and lack of returnability, it is very likely that retailers will underestimate both McKinney and Astronema's popularity leaving fans to chase down copies on the aftermarket. Will a handful of entrepreneurial speculators take advantage of this opportunity? Or will they miss it as well until Boom reveals their plans for Astronema?
And after Power Rangers Unlimited: Heir to Darkness #1 FOCs today Monday, March 8th, fans and retailers will immediately need to turn their eyes to another Boom Studios launch – Magic (The Gathering). Boom surprised everyone by announcing they were shipping a single copy of a Magic #1 Ashcan to qualifying retailers last week in a move that reminds me of IDW's pre-launch efforts for TMNT: The Last Ronin, which went on to be that publisher's best selling comic of all time. Copies of Magic #1 Ashcan are already sold for $150 on eBay and as I understand it, Magic #1 is already in the 50K based on initial orders alone. How much higher will the Magic #1 Ashcan drive FOC orders next week?