Graphic Novel Review: Radiant Black Vol. 1 from Image Comics

I had to snap a picture of my copy of “Radiant Black,” published by Image Comics, because this cover art is exactly what I love about comics. For this comic exclusive variant covers were created for local comic book shops. This was the cover created for my local comic book shop, Things From Another World.

“Radiant Black” was written by Kyle Higgins, with artist Marcelo Costa, and guest writers and artists for various chapters. Fans of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers will love this but even if you don’t know a thing about them like me, you’ll appreciate the story.

Radiant Black follows failed novelist Nathan Burnett, who just turned thirty and moves back home from LA, saddled with impossible credit card debt and no published books to propel him to the fame and fortune of his dreams. Instead he’s back home with his parents, who tell him to be practical, to get a real job, like driving for a rideshare service.

He hangs out with his best friend from high school, Marshall; the two of them used to dream up story ideas together and plan for the future. One night after an evening at a bar, the buddies encounter a strange black orb floating around in the sky that suddenly envelopes around Nathan and encases him in a strange suit with superpowers.

In one of his first acts as a reluctant superhero, Nathan learns there are others with suits like his – only one’s a bank robber. He encounters them and they get in a fight. The bank robber leaves behind a bag of cash. Instead of taking it to pay off his debts, Nathan turns it into the police. Moments like that define a person’s character, and that’s just the kind of person Nathan is.

This was a wonderful, classic superhero tale, fresh and briskly paced. Nathan is the type of protagonist to whom everyone who’s ever had creative dreams can relate. The story isn’t predictable though, and through some dead ends and twists and turns, it takes you on a ride you won’t soon forget.

I really enjoyed the art as well, and its use of light and dark tones to set the atmosphere and mood. All in all, a lovely story and engaging book.

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