Writer: Kyle Higgins
Artist: Marcelo Costa
Cover Artist: Marcelo Costa
It’s not everyday a person finds alien tech and gets superpowers. Nathan Burnett, failed writer, general screw-up moves back home with his parents and it feels like life was collapsing around him. But now he’s got a new chance to make things right and Radiant Black #2 will explore what Nathan can do with his new superpowers.
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So, this comic is certainly a young adult superhero story that is trying to be relatable. You’ve got Nathan who’s had a major failure in his career as a writer, he’s barely making ends meet and has to move back in with his parents. What’s great is how the other characters react to his return back home. His mother is loving and sweet while his father is more understanding just wants his son to get back on that financial horse.
What we get here is Nathan finding his footing as he tries to do what most great superheroes try to do: balance their home life and superhero life. Here, Kyle Higgins does a fine job showing more of Nathan’s grounded perspective while making sure he has his own distinctive personality and character arc. From how he tries to figure out his financial situation, how he can locate the other suit-wearer like himself. Even how he finds the guy’s location plays to the series’ grounded elements and is funny enough when you see it.
The comic also has a lot of payoff to previous story developments in the comic. It follows through on the cops who Nathan saved in the last issue, it pays off with Nathan and the red-suit wearer, and especially the dynamic between him and his father. Kyle Higgins weaves in a character arc for this issue for Nathan that feels like a natural next step for him to deal with. Hopefully the rest of the series keeps this up with other issue-by-issue story arcs for the characters whether it’s Nathan or the others.
So, when Nathan finally catches up to the red suit-wearer who robbed a bank in the end of the previous issue, it’s illustrated pretty well by Marcelo Costa. The suits’ colors, the angles, the overall fight is well-drawn and colored. Obviously, the situation goes about as well as you can expect. They fight, there’s some jabs here and there. But the mystery of the black holes and the suits isn’t really explored here whatsoever. Higgins doesn’t use the fight to build a cool dynamic between the two characters or even broaden the mystery of the suits. Which is a big shame.
It just feels like the villain is made to be more enigmatic than they need to be from their personality to their motives. But the fight does help establish Nathan as a hero as he’s given a Spider-Man like choice to do something selfish without consequence or do something selfless and heroic. And the result is pretty surprising. What’s even more surprising is the way this comic handles Nathan’s relationship with his father.
From start to finish, this comic manages to make his father stern and authoritative but also very understanding who’s just looking out for his son and actually respects his life choices. And we even see Nathan really become more responsible and have a genuine character growth throughout this comic. Either way, this reviewer felt like this comic is doing something special.
The comic could work on Marshall and its pop-culture references. Admittedly, some of them are funny and get a chuckle out of me. But the majority of them just feel like they don’t need to be here and tend to come from Marshall. Thankfully, he’s not a bad comic relief or the worst supporting character. He actually does care about Nathan and is very supportive in trying to help him out. I just think the comic can do more than give him jokes and one-liners, that’s all.
Also, I hope the red suit-wearer is given a better character going forward. I wouldn’t want them to be the worst element in this comic series. More often than not, a lot of villains in independent comics tend to get overlooked and artificially built up as big villains but they end up becoming the weakest link in the story. As if the writer almost forgot that they had a villain and needed to find a way to make them relevant. Hopefully Higgins has bigger plans for the crimson villain here in the next issues.
Radiant Black #2 is starting to find its footing as it really starts to build this new superhero. The blend of grounded elements with the superhero action feels pretty good here and the art and colors from Marcelo Costa look great. There are a few hiccups in the comic but nothing too bad. The story ends up being surprisingly wholesome and mature with the main character and shows there are great things in store for this series and its hero.