It wasn't that long ago that Image Comics executives were rather dismissive to me of Power Rangers comic books. They are less dismissive now as they are relying on Kyle Higgins to pied piper his Power Rangers fans from Boom Studios over to Image Comics. His new Radiant Black with Marcelo Costa is being pushed by the publisher as a perfect bridge between the kaiju-trend and indie superheroes to woo those Ranger-loving followers over—just in time for the new Image shared continuity superhero universe.
It's getting harder to ignore: all the signs point toward Image having some big superhero event in the works. While DC remakes the same ol' heroes with Future State, a little bird keeps insisting to me that Image has got something up its sleeve to blow that all out of the water.
So while the news that Invincible is coming to Amazon TV, Jupiter's Legacy headed for Netflix this year, and our scoop on Geiger right before the holidays altogether turned some heads, I'm promised Image is poised to outdo itself with something even bigger.
In fact, with Scott Snyder and Tony Daniel on Nocterra, Geoff Johns and Gary Frank on Geiger, Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw on Crossover, James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds on The Department Of Truth all under the same roof and Kyle Higgins hot off his Power Rangers: Shattered Grid and Ultraman success at Marvel, it looks to me like Image has been quietly collecting a deep bench of the hottest talents in the industry for some big superhero series salvo.
So what makes Higgins of particular interest now? He enters the spotlight with an abundance of retailer exclusives—retailer interest this early on is the canary in the coal mine we need to tell us when a book is going to be hot. And this one is going to be white-hot— an Image source tells me that Radiant Black #1's interest from retailers on exclusive covers is already out-pacing what they saw by this point on both The Department Of Truth and Crossover. Which is saying something about how much retailers are banking on Higgins' close connection to that money-making Ranger fandom.
But that's not all we've caught wind of: apparently, the initial orders for Radiant Black #1 came in 30% higher than what The Department Of Truth #1's had. And we all know what happened there.
Paired with the highly produced video trailer, early praise from other creators circling twitter, the advance publicity, and Image giving Radiant Black one of their coveted Previews catalogue covers, it looks like Image is planning to power up this year. And if Image is indeed doing this shared superhero universe, rather than the purely independent comic book line, it's morphin time for them as well.