REVIEW: ‘Radiant Black,’ Issue #12

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Radiant Black #12

Radiant Black #12 is written by Kyle Higgins and Meghan Camarena, illustrated by French Carlomagno, colored by Mattia Iacono, and lettered by Diego Sanches. The issue also contains part two of “Beast Heart Strikers,” which is written by Lan Pitts, illustrated and colored by Joe Hunter, and lettered by Frank Cvetkovic. It’s published by Image Comics. Eva is a streamer trying to juggle a busy schedule alongside a relationship with her girlfriend and some time for herself. A chance meeting with a Best Buy employee named Wendell and a glowing pink event horizon may be the break she needs.

Radiant Black #6 took a break from the series’ ongoing narrative by telling a standalone tale focused on Satomi Sone/Radiant Red and the events that led to her robbing banks. In the same vein, Radiant Black #12 focuses on the origins of Radiant Pink and, by extension, Radiant Yellow. It also features another comic writer making their debut by co-writing the script with Higgins. Camarena is a popular Twitch streamer under the handle Strawburry17 and also co-hosts the “Radiant Radio” stream with Higgins and Radiant Black editor Michael Busuttil, in addition to playing a major role in the Power Rangers HyperForce livestream RPG. Thanks to Higgins’ worldbuilding and Camarena pouring herself into the script, Eva’s story ended up being just as emotional as Satomi’s.

Being a streamer is more than just speaking into a camera and playing video games; there’s staying engaged with your followers and those same followers potentially turning on you. There’s having to deal with sponsorships, and there’s the matter of equipment or, more specifically, what to do when your cat leaps on your microphone and breaks it. Both Eva’s grandmother and Wendell encourage her to try and take some time for herself, a message that a lot of creators should take to heed. Eva and Wendell also talk about what they’re “supposed” to do in life, and as with any good superhero story, their respective Radiant powers give them a new perspective on their “purpose.”

Carlomagno takes over for regular series artist Marcelo Costa, and his artwork manages to balance the superheroic and mundane in equal measure. For example, when Eva first transforms into Radiant Pink, a two-page spread features her falling through time and space, with multiple locations depicted in glowing pink portals. In contrast, a montage earlier in the book shows her going through several activities, including setting up streams and even going to a big movie premiere.

Iacono keeps pink as a recurring color throughout the story, from Eva’s clothing to her Radiant Pink uniform. And Sanches, who takes over from Becca Carey on lettering, has a unique way of depicting the chaos on the edge of Eva’s life. Multiple text messages and Twitter notifications appear, slowly growing in size and stacking up until they spill all over the page, representing how Eva is stretched razor-thin and how social media can be a double-edged sword.

In terms of the “Beast Heart Strikers” backup, Pitts and Hunter decide to take a slower approach to the story by having Khardia assemble a new team of Beast Strikers. The end result feels like the early episodes of Sailor Moon, as Khardia travels to a new world to find the Blue Heart Striker. And Hunter’s artwork continues to possess a Scott Pilgrim-esque vibe. Cvetkovic gets extremely creative with the lettering, including a villain’s threat fading into white and Khardia’s thoughts depicted in reddish-pink captions.

Radiant Black #12 closes out the series’ first year by telling a standalone story focused on the secret origin of Radiant Pink. With Year Two slated to introduce new heroes, and a slate of new enemies, this series will only continue to build upon its reputation as one of the best superhero stories on the stands.

Radiant Black #12 is available wherever comics are sold.


Radiant Black #12
4.5

TL;DR

Radiant Black #12 closes out the series’ first year by telling a standalone story focused on the secret origin of Radiant Pink. With Year Two slated to introduce new heroes, and a slate of new enemies, this series will only continue to build upon its reputation as one of the best superhero stories on the stands.