REVIEW: ‘Radiant Black,’ Issue #6

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Radiant Black #6 - But Why Tho

Radiant Black #6 is written by Kyle Higgins and Cherish Chen, illustrated by Darko LaFuente, colored by Miquel Muerto, and lettered by Becca Carey. It is published by Image Comics. “Red” serves as the origin story for Radiant Red, aka Satomi Sone. Satomi had a job as a schoolteacher, was engaged to the love of her life, Owen, and was saving up for grad school. But an onslaught of money troubles, combined with a bright red event horizon falling from the sky, changed her life forever.

In the same way that Radiant Black #1 depicted Nathan Bennett’s financial and career struggles before his Radiant empowerment, this issue delves into why Satomi would turn to a life of crime. The script builds tension throughout the story, showing Satomi at both her highest and her lowest point. What really makes things tragic is that she wants to do everything to help Owen, even though his gambling problems landed them in this mess. And it turns out that things were even worse than she thought. This issue does a great job of showing that Nathan and Satomi shared a few things in common outside the ability to control fundamental forces.

Higgins, who was previously the sole writer on Radiant Black, is joined by Chen for this issue. In the same vein that Higgins’ work with Mat Groom reshaped the Ultraman mythos with The Rise of Ultraman and The Trials of Ultraman, Chen’s work helps flesh Satomi out into a human being. Radiant Black #5 showed hints of her humanity behind the surface of her suit. Still, this issue cracks that shell wide open and reveals a woman who used extraordinary power to solve an ordinary problem.  Author Christopher Vogler wrote that every villain is a hero of their own story; Higgins and Chen clearly took that advice to heart while crafting Satomi’s journey.

LaFuente and Muerto take over art duties from regular series artist Marcelo Costa, providing an anime-esque look to the proceedings. Under LaFuente’s pencils, characters come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The biggest example would be Owen and Satomi; he is tall and muscular where she is willowy and petite, which changes once she gains the power of Radiant Red. LaFuente also has the chance to illustrate Satomi’s Radiant Red transformation, which still keeps the tokusatsu-inspired vibes that Costa brought to the table. As befitting the title of the story, Muerto primarily uses red throughout the issue. Satomi is shown wearing various articles of red clothing, and there is a scene where she literally sees red. Even Carey’s word balloons turn red and spiky when Satomi loses her temper.

The issue also contains the second part of “The Unleashed Echoes of Sorrow, Pt I,” which is written by Melissa Flores, illustrated by Eleonora Carlini with Elisabetta D’Amico, colored by Mattia Iacono and lettered by DC Hawkins. Taking place in the world of The Unleashed, the story finds Pheorakai and Mara encountering their friend Charlie, who is somehow trapped in a noir-esque reality. As befitting noir film, the majority of the story, excluding Pheorakai and Mara’s hair, is black and white, punctuated by Charlie’s hard-boiled narration. And the artwork is appropriately action-packed, featuring both a shootout and hand-to-hand combat. Readers will hopefully come away wanting to learn more about the world of The Unleashed.

Radiant Black #6 tells the secret, heartbreaking origin story of Radiant Red and reveals that the “villain” of the series is just as human as its hero. With this newfound knowledge about Satomi, it remains to be seen whether she, Marshall, and the other Radiants can work together—a question that the next issue will answer in full.

Radiant Black #6 is available wherever comics are sold.

Radiant Black #6
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TL;DR

Radiant Black #6 tells the secret, heartbreaking origin story of Radiant Red and reveals that the “villain” of the series is just as human as its hero. With this newfound knowledge about Satomi, it remains to be seen whether she, Marshall, and the other Radiants can work together—a question that the next issue will answer in full.