REVIEW: ‘Radiant Black,’ Issue #19

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Radiant Black #19

Radiant Black #19 is written by Kyle Higgins, penciled & colored by Marcelo Costa, inked by Carlos Eduardo, and lettered by Becca Carey. It’s published by Image Comics. “Radiant” again finds Nathan Burnett in control of the Radiant Black powers. But there’s a twist: He can now share the powers with his best friend, Marshall! In-between late-night superheroics, along with working through the physical and mental stress of having a building dropped on his head, something else gnaws at Nathan. Where exactly did the Radiants that empowered him and the others come from? And what happens when the previous owners want them back?

One thing I’ve always appreciated about Radiant Black is how the series uses superhero tropes to deal with the constant flow of change. In fact, the previous issue summed up the book’s mission statement in a single sentence: “Change and conflict spark emotion and growth.” Change is a part of life, whether you get a new job, start a new relationship, or happen to have the power of a black hole within your body. And Higgins continues to explore the ripples of change in the Radiant Black world to great effect. Nathan has to re-learn using the Radiant powers the same way he’s been going through physical therapy, through a lot of trial and error. And Satomi Sone, aka Radiant Red, is dealing with a new environment after turning herself in. That’s to say nothing of the massive new threat that appears in the book’s opening pages.

Even Costa’s art has changed thanks partly to the linework from Eduardo. Eduardo’s inks add more shadow and dimension to Costa’s pencils, especially in the action sequences. The falling rain in one sequence feels like a true downpour, with raindrops splattering off Radiant Black’s helmet. A car speeding toward the front of a panel feels like it’ll actually burst out of the frame and into real life. And there’s a two-page spread that wouldn’t feel out of place in a big sci-fi blockbuster movie – that’s how big Costa is going here. His color work remains eye-catching, from the faint blue glow surrounding both Radiant Blacks to the shining golden dawn of light.

And there’s the lettering from See, who’s been a constant throughout Radiant Black’s run. Not only does she manage to make the shape and texture of the word balloons change depending on whether a character’s speaking out loud or through a television scene, but she also has fun playing with the words themselves. When Marshall gets a surprise visit, his “WHOA!” looks like it’s literally about to pop out of the speech bubble around his head. And an opening sequence in Brazil has characters speaking entirely in Portuguese, without any translations. This helps the book feel more realistic without undercutting the fantastic elements and adds to the suspense layered throughout this issue.

Radiant Black #19 begins a brand new era for the cosmic-powered champion while also bringing two years’ worth of stories to a head. I have the feeling that future issues will introduce even more upheaval into the Radiants’ lives. The question remains: how will they deal with it?

Radiant Black #19 is available wherever comics are sold.


Radiant Black #19
4.5

TL;DR

Radiant Black #19 begins a brand new era for the cosmic-powered champion while also bringing two years’ worth of stories to a head. I have the feeling that future issues will introduce even more upheaval into the Radiants’ lives. The question remains: how will they deal with it?

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