REVIEW: ‘Radiant Black,’ Issue #16

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Radiant Black #16

Radiant Black #16 is written by Kyle Higgins & Joe Clark, illustrated by Marcelo Costa, colored by Triona Farrell, and lettered by Diego Sanches. It’s published by Image Comics. Radiant Black has managed to defeat every member of the EpicFront Empire, from the kinetic time bomb Accel to the sword-wielding crypto-bro Sheer. However, the teleporter Shift has assembled Sheer, Accel, Doppler, and the massive Mecha to kill the gravity-manipulating hero once and for all. Alone, Radiant Black was able to defeat them. But what happens when they work together?

This series has put a spin on nearly every trope in the superhero book, starting with one protagonist before shifting to another and even the superhero team up with Supermassive. Now, it turns its sights on the supervillain team up. Supervillain teams, from the Legion of Doom to the Sinister Six, rarely work out for one reason: the villains don’t get along. They butt heads or the hero manages to turn them against each other. Not this group. They come up with a carefully coordinated plan to strike at Radiant Black – and it works! Yes, this is the rare comic where the villains win and do it by working together.

Speaking of team-ups, Higgins is once again joined by his Ordinary Gods co-writer Clark for this issue. The duo frames the issue in the form of a heist film. As Shift lays out his plans to take down Radiant Black, fans will see that plan happening in real-time. And as if the superhero beatdown wasn’t tough enough, there’s a conversation between Marshall and Nathan about the state of the world that hit me all too deeply. Higgins said that Radiant Black sprung from the fact that he was part of the last generation to figure out the flaws in the American dream. Those flaws affect everyone in Radiant Black, whether they be heroes or villains. A conversation between Shift and Radiant Black only serves to highlight this.

Series co-creator Costa returns for illustration duties, bringing another iconic design in the form of Mecha. As his name might suggest, he’s encased from head to toe in a massive suit of gunmetal grey armor that can go toe to toe with the cosmic hero. Well, not entirely “toe to toe.” Radiant Black gets his ass kicked throughout the issue. He’s flying through multiple floors, brutally pummelled, and almost drowns! Costa makes you feel each and every punch, which is rare given how often superheroes slip from the jaws of death. It helps that Farrell gives off a slightly darker color scheme, with the villains and Radiant Black standing out due to their brighter uniforms. Sanches tops it off by giving each villain a unique caption box with their respective symbol.

The issue also features another backup strip for “Marshall’s School of Business,” with Melissa Flores writing, Katie Sawatsky illustrating, and Becca Carey lettering. True to form it features another business scheme from Marshall, this time concerning video games. I don’t want to spoil this idea, but it’s actually not a bad one. Flores, just having made her debut with The Dead Lucky, shows she has the voice of the Radiant Black universe down pat. And Sawatsky’s cartoonish art pays homage to a certain video game, which will make some people very happy.

Radiant Black #16 has the cosmic hero’s enemies joining forces to kill him, which results in the biggest battle of his superhero career. The last page will probably blow fans’ minds, but given how this series has gone so far, there’s gotta be more to the story. And after listening to Higgins’ plans for the series at San Diego Comic-Con, things are only starting to heat up in the MassiveVerse.

Radiant Black #16 is available wherever comics are sold.


Radiant Black #16
4.5

TL;DR

Radiant Black #16 has the cosmic hero’s enemies joining forces to kill him, which results in the biggest battle of his superhero career. The last page will probably blow fans’ minds, but given how this series has gone so far, there’s gotta be more to the story. And after listening to Higgins’ plans for the series at San Diego Comic-Con, things are only starting to heat up in the MassiveVerse.

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