Ahead of retailers' finalizing their orders for Power Rangers Unlimited: Heir to Darkness #1, we brought your attention to the fact that the eight dollar special was likely to be under-ordered by retailers and predicted that the issue would sell out quickly. Well, you can file this under "toldja" as publisher Boom Studios let retailers know that the issue has sold out ahead of release and is rushing back to a second printing (along with Specter Inspectors #1 by Bowen McCurdy and Kaitlyn Musto).
Has the issue sold out because it's written by L.L. McKinney, who in addition to co-founding of the Juneteenth Book Fest and originating the #PublishingPaidMe and #WhatWOCWritersHear hashtags on Twitter, also happens to be the first Black woman to write a Power Rangers comic? Or is it because the issue tells the true origin of one of the most popular Power Ranger villains, Astronema, whom Boom appears to be positioning as a key character in the franchise?
And if Astronema is a key character for the franchise, could her first appearance in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Anniversary Special #1 become a key issue? If it does, you can count on us to remind you that we told you so.
Both of those likely contributed, but the real driver may be that Boom has tipped their hands that Power Rangers Unlimited will be an ongoing series of specials with the announcement of Power Rangers Unlimited: Edge of Darkness #1 by rising star Frank Gogol and Simone Ragazzoni starring the mysterious Phantom Ranger, another fan favourite character from later seasons of Power Rangers. Gogol made waves in 2019 with his Source Point Press series Dead End Kids, which is still drawing collector interest in the aftermarket and turning the writer into one to watch. In fact, Gogol is teasing doing a US signing tour for this issue and getting traction with retailers including Ed Greenberg of Collector's Paradise, Dan Wallace of Impulse Creations, Peter Hensel of Gotham Newsstand, and Andy Leigl of Brave New World. With these two specials, Boom is sending a clear signal that the Power Rangers comic book universe is expanding well past the boundaries of Angel Grove. And I'm hearing that this is only the beginning for an expanded Rangers 'verse.
And we're already seeing the effects of this Boom's two flagship Power Rangers comics – Mighty Morphin and Power Rangers. Astronema entered the picture in Power Rangers #5 which went on sale this week ahead of Power Rangers Unlimited: Heir to Darkness #1. And while retailers ordered Power Rangers #5 higher than issue #4, it may not be enough to satiate demand once Boom's plans for the character are revealed. The unusual trend of increased sales carries over to Mighty Morphin #6 orders which also came in higher than issue #5.
The Power Rangers series launched higher than Mighty Morphin , but once retailers and fans figured out that the core Mighty Morphin team from the TV series was in the latter and the new Green Ranger had caught the imagination of fans, the sales on the two titles flipped with Mighty Morphin outselling Power Rangers. But now with Power Rangers universe architect Ryan Parrott turning his attention back to Power Rangers, will those sales patterns flip again? It appears to us that retailers aren't able to sort out which series is more important. That's because both are must-have to fans like the days of Amazing Spider-Man and Todd McFarlane's Spider-Man.
This of course is where we'll come in with a thoughtful reminder that Power Rangers #6 (also starring Astronema and featuring her on the main cover by Matteo Scalera) is FOCing on Monday, March 29th and retailers still have time to bump their orders.
Alongside it, they'll get a second shot at Power Rangers Unlimited: Heir to Darkness #1 with a second printing character design cover by Once & Future and Detective Comics artist Dan Mora. What might be overlooked is a limited edition hardcover collecting the long sold out Mighty Morphin #1 and Power Rangers #1 along with a massive cover gallery and character designs. The hardcover has a limited 2,500 copy print run and is certain to become a hot collector item for Power Rangers fans… particularly if it gets allocated.
And even while Boom continues to make Power Rangers a bigger and bigger mainstay in comic shops, all eyes are focused on the debut of their Magic: The Gathering comic which is set to arrive in comic stores in two weeks on April 7th. It, too, will have a Matteo Scalera cover. Will it follow Power Rangers Unlimited: Heir to Darkness #1 in selling out ahead of on-sale?