REVIEW: ‘Radiant Black,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Radiant Black #2

Radiant Black #2 is written by Kyle Higgins, illustrated and colored by Marcelo Costa, and lettered by Becca Carey, with Michael Busuttil serving as series editor and designer. It is published by Image Comics. Following the events of the first issue, Nathan Burnett struggles with both his newfound powers and friction with his father over his career choices. Complicating matters is the appearance of a new being with similar powers as Nathan’s, only clad in red and robbing banks.

The second issue of any series is a tricky one; you have to build on what came before and continue to keep readers invested after delivering a first issue that hooks them. Luckily, the creative team is more than up to the challenge. Higgins, in particular, continues to infuse this issue with the same mix of personal and superpowered problems that came with the first issue. His script captures how it feels to argue with family about your life goals, particularly when they have a different career in store for you. As a writer, I used to argue with my mother about how I wanted to pursue my writing, and I saw that same struggle reflected in the arguments between Nathan and his father.

The issue also features a nice balance of Nathan trying to track down the man in red while embracing his new superpowers. Balance is a tricky thing to accomplish in superhero books—you want to have great action sequences, but you also want readers to connect with the person behind the suit. Luckily, Higgins manages this balancing act with ease, putting Nathan’s problems first and letting them inform his actions when he suits up.

Costa’s artwork also takes things up a notch as Nathan battles the mysterious red-clad bank robber. Though both combatants have a similar power set, the man in red has obviously been using his powers more and is willing to resort to dirty tricks. His aura is a fiery, angry red, and the eyes in his helmet are almost always narrowed into slits. Costa also gets to draw a dream sequence that hints at the series tackling another classic Tokusatsu/Sentai trope, and I’m eager to see how that turns out. And, of course, the book also has a Toku-esque transformation sequence that I hope becomes a standard going forward.

Color also plays a large role in the series, as half the series takes place during the day, with the other half—including the fight sequences—taking place at night. It’s the night sequences that are the most dynamic, with Nathan and the mystery man zipping about surrounded by their respective auras of bluish-white and fiery red. The dream sequence also features shimmering, almost holographic images set against a jet black background (with Carey designing a new alien language that further hints at the origins of Nathan’s new powers.)

Radiant Black #2 builds upon the first issue, featuring challenges both personal and superhuman for its fledgling hero. With hints of more conflict between Nathan’s civilian and superhero lives in future issues, I hope the creative team continues on this path they’ve set upon.

Radiant Black #2 is available wherever comics are sold.

Radiant Black #2
5

TL;DR

Radiant Black #2 builds upon the first issue, featuring challenges both personal and superhuman for its fledgling hero. With hints of more conflict between Nathan’s civilian and superhero lives in future issues, I hope the creative team continues on this path they’ve set upon.