** WARNING** **

CONTAINS SPOILERS**

RADIANT BLACK #1
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Artist: Marcelo Costa
Letters: Becca Carey
Publisher: Image Comics

I went into this book expecting to see particular groundwork that we can sometimes see in an origin story. Something I did not expect was to see was such a relatable character. Many of us have found ourselves in situations that truly test our will, it’s a climb that many of us will always look up at in defeat. That is Nathan Burnett, our protagonist. He followed his dream, and it remained nothing but a dream. From the first few pages, we see that the pursuit of writing has left him broken. I’m not talking about Anakin Skywalker turning to the dark side broke, but more-so, Eeyore with a rain cloud hanging over his head broken. On the brink of financial ruin, Nathan asks the million-dollar question. Why will banks only lend us money when we have money? Higgins does a spectacular job of writing a character we can instantly feel empathetic for. Costa follows this up with a series of panels that encapsulates Nathan’s slow defeat through his facial expressions.

RADIANT BLACK #1

Fast forward to a week later and we are introduced to his overbearingly supportive mother and the father, a realist who does his best to support a son who’s very clearly going through a life-altering personal struggle. Higgins continues to drive the constant reminder of feeling aimless and lacking purpose. I’m not sure if this is fueled by personal experience on Higgins’s behalf or just the natural understanding of how constantly the business of writing is evolving. It can sometimes be infeasible.

In comes Marshall, the friend any of us would be lucky to have. I’m a firm believer that the best friend one can have is an honest friend. Mind you, there’s a grey area there somewhere, but, you can instantly tell there are history and a friendship that hasn’t faded regardless of what life has taken them.

I will spare you some of the details for you to read on your own but, Nathan is overtaken by a small black hole, yes, A BLACK HOLE. This is no event horizon, like what we’ve grown accustomed to in the sci-fi genre. This miniature orb of a black hole gives Nathan the abilities and “armor” although there’s more to this that I’m sure Higgins will touch on later. This is where the title really earns its mark because of the art and colors that we are treated to radiates off the page. Something I appreciated here was that we are pulled into the sense of the unknown and we feel just as anxious and confused as Nathan and Marshall. This is something that I feel can’t be easily done in a way that we feel the writer is just holding out on us but Higgins really nails it.

RADIANT BLACK #1

We get a glimpse of Nathan’s new powers and a taste of the predicament he finds himself in. I will say this, Nathan’s origin story and alter ego is not your typical secret identity. He immediately catches himself in a very open and public situation in which to me seems to be a pretty small town, not really the easiest place to remain inconspicuous in my opinion.

Overall, this premiere issue gives us everything I feel the reader is expecting and still manages to set itself apart by turning the formula of an origin story into its own original take and grounding us with the real modern problems many of us have faced. I find myself not only wanting to understand what comes next for Nathan in regards to his newfound abilities but also what this means for him as a person. He’s not in the most stable mental and emotional situation. I applaud Higgins for finding a way for us to appeal to Nathan in such a way that he can take a story to new heights with this Ranger-Esque Sentai approach and still managing to lure us into general concern for Nathan’s future as a person.

RADIANT BLACK #1

Be sure to head to your local comic shop and pick up a copy of this new series that gives you everything you wanted and everything you didn’t know you needed in a sci-fi series, and then some…

To find a local comic book shop near you, head to Comic Shop Locator! As always, embrace your inner geek.

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