SDCC 2022: The Massive-Verse Aims To Supercharge Superhero Storytelling

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Massive-Verse - But Why Tho

In the 30 years since its inception, Image Comics has seen all manner of creator-owned books that took the world by storm. Invincible, SagaSex Criminals—the list goes on. And now it’s continuing to evolve by introducing a new superhero universe in the form of the Massive-Verse. Beginning with Radiant Black, the new universe has grown to include Rogue SunRadiant Red, and the upcoming Inferno Girl Red and The Dead LuckyAnd now, at San Diego Comic-Con, the Massive-Verse creators gave fans a glimpse of what’s to come.

The Massive-Verse panel included line-wide editor Michael Busuttil, Radiant Black writer/co-creator Kyle Higgins, Rogue Sun writer/co-creator Ryan Parrott, The Dead Lucky writer/co-creator Melissa Flores, Inferno Girl Red writer/co-creator Mat Groom, and Radiant Red writer Cherish Chen. Meghan Camarena, who co-wrote Radiant Black #12 with Higgins, served as the panel’s moderator. Higgins kicked things off by talking about how he views the Massive-Verse as a “collective” shared universe, and how it was born out of the friendships he formed while working on Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers for BOOM! Studios. “This is a true creator-owned superhero universe,” he said.

Talk turned toward Radiant Black, as its sixteenth issue is debuting next week alongside Rogue Sun #6 and Radiant Red #5 Higgins, Flores, Parrott, and Chen took the time to ask fans if they wanted to read advance copies of the latest Massive-Verse books, and a lot of hands shot up. The only caveat: one issue per person, and no spoilers would leave the room. Higgins said that the next two issues would see him joined by his friend/co-writer Joe Clark, and that issue #18 would feature Radiant Yellow. In Radiant Black‘s vein of playing with narrative, the issue will be separated across four different timelines, as Radiant Yellow’s powers are connected to time.

Next up was Rogue Sun. Parrott said that upcoming issues will feature a new pair of villains: Ornate, who can view different timelines, and a hooded sword-wielding figure named Hellbent. He said that Hellbent was a “dark reflection” of Rogue Sun protagonist Dylan Siegel and that Dylan’s greatest test as a superhero is yet to come. Continuing Massive-Verse’s theme of playing with narrative, Rogue Sun #7 will feature a “Choose Your Own Adventure” style narrative where readers can look at different paths in Dylan’s life.

Chen talked Radiant Red and how it was great for her to write a character that represented herself in Satomi Sone. While she couldn’t give away any details about the final issue, she said that it would feature both of Satomi’s worlds crashing down around her. Flores also said that representation was a key part of writing The Dead Lucky, as she wanted protagonist Bibiana Lopez-Yang to reflect the culture of herself and her girlfriend. Preview pages from The Dead Lucky showed Bibi using her mech to confront the Salvation Gang and their new mech Raging Bull.

Groom briefly discussed Inferno Girl Red, which features Cassia Costa having to protect her new home of Apex City from a cabal of demons. She gains the power of Inferno Girl Red to do so, but there’s a catch: her powers are fueled by belief, and life has made her into a rather cynical person.  Higgins said that fans of Spider-Man: Into The SpiderVerse and young adult fiction would enjoy it, and Groom revealed that series artist Erica D’Urso is about 75% done with the first book. It’s slated to drop sometime in 2022.

There were also some new announcements at the panel that got fans – myself included – revved up. Higgins is writing a storyline titled “The Catalyst War”, which will bring long-lingering plot points in Radiant Black to a head. Flores and Camarena are co-writing a Radiant Pink miniseries, which features Radiant Pink’s powers malfunctioning. Emma Kubert will illustrate the series, which also introduces a new love interest for Pink as Camarena said she wanted the series to be “hella gay”. And finally, Higgins, Parrott, Groom and Flores will unite for a Supermassive sequel in April 2023!

The Massive-Verse has been a major reminder of why I love comics, superheroes, and tokusatsu. And with a creative force like this behind the helm, I look forward to whatever the future brings.

Radiant Black #16, Rogue Sun #6 and Radiant Red #5 will be available wherever comics are sold on July 27, 2022.

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