After a long-awaited debut, Radiant Black is finally on the shelves. Taking a few cues from other series’ like Invincible and Power Rangers, Radiant Black is the beginning of a new vibrant series. As stated by Invincible creator Robert Kirkman, Radiant Black is “the perfect superhero comic for anyone missing Invincible” and he’s right. Creators Kyle Higgins and Marcelo Costa introduce their new superhero comic for Image Comics with a relatable and grounded first issue.
The story opens with our protagonist at his rock bottom. Nathan Burnett is drowning in debt, an unfinished (or barely begun) script, and is forced to move back home to live with his parents. Leaving sunny Los Angeles for the gloomy and snowy suburbs of Illinois is just the most recent moment of humiliation for Nathan. Things seem pretty depressing for Nathan, who doesn’t seem to have much going for him (a bit of that Parker Luck seems to have caught wind over in Illinois) until his friend Marshall takes him out for a few drinks.
Just as they’re about to take a cab back home, the two friends notice something strange. Floating in front of them is the cosmic radiant power, which of course Nathan feels inclined to touch. It’s a heartwarmingly predictable sequence not too different from Hal Jordan picking up the lantern, to Peter Parker being bitten by a spider, or Wally West being struck by lightning, and suddenly our main character had unlocked the delicate and unknown powers of the cosmic radiant. And just like that, a superhero is born.
The story itself starts kind of slow, but only to properly introduce readers to Nathan and invite them to better empathize with his life. However, as the story progresses, it’s evident how much of his heart and soul Kyle Higgins poured into this script. Perfectly complemented by the vibrant work of Marcelo Costa, who brings the story to life through expressive linework and animated coloring that makes the story come to life. Letter Becca Carey does a wonderful job making sure the text of the story has a fluid progression; with a strong emphasis on the character’s emotions.
When Higgins said “Radiant Black is both a love letter to the superhero stories I love as well as a statement on what I think superheroes can be for a whole new generation” it’s evident how much he meant it. Nathan is the person who’s trying his best and just doesn’t feel like they’re doing enough. The person who seems to be getting a little smackdown from life. What makes the story so invigorating is the play on the typical superhero origin Higgins provides. Nathan is a 30-year-old man rather than a high schooler with their life ahead of them. This is his life. He’s already done all the schooling and growing that most heroes go through while gaining their powers. However, it’s evident Nathan’s life is about to take an unexpected direction.
Moreover, Radiant Black #1 is a fun and exciting start to a new series. Between Higgin’s expertise writing and Costa’s art that seems to fit the series like a glove, the issue leaves readers eager for more of this new world.
Writing Rating: 5/5
Overall rating: 9/10