by Zachary Whittaker
If you haven’t checked it out already, we reviewed Radiant Black #1 in the February Comics Round-Up episode of the Bigger Than Capes podcast!
The first issue left off with our protagonist Nathan coming into possession of a mysterious suit and equally mysterious abilities, like lifting things and flying! We also had the reveal that Nathan wasn’t the only one with such a suit, as we see a final page featuring someone in a red version robbing a bank.
Issue #2 opens with Nathan catching up with his father, Henry, asking some difficult questions about what the 30-something is planning to do now that he’s moved back home and is out of work. It’s another reminder that, as Matt mentioned in last month’s podcast, Nathan’s story is “unfortunately relatable”, the conversation here is definitely going to hit home with some readers. It’s also worth noting that this scene takes up the first six pages of the book, which is quite a significant chunk of a single issue, but that dedication of precious pages does a lot to highlight the importance of Nathan’s situation upon the story, it’s not just a throwaway detail.
I’m a sucker for a bad guy Power Ranger, so I’m a big fan of the main plot of this issue being Nathan attempting to track down and confront Radiant Red(?) and while there’s a bit of a common trend of villains in comics mirroring the hero, I like that Red appears to have slightly different powers to Nathan and has clearly taken a different path when granted a lil great power.
Between the reintroduction of Marshall and the two cops from the first issue, the opening scene with Nathan’s father and the confrontation with Red there’s a well balanced combination of comedy, relatable emotion and action. It’s undeniable that Kyle Higgins’ time writing Power Rangers has had a huge influence on the story and characters we’re seeing in Radiant Black and it’s refreshing to see similar concepts taken in a different direction.
Marcelo Costa’s artwork is great throughout the issue, showing a great range of emotion and facial expressions – there’s a page with a 16 panel grid that really shows this – there’s also great energy and movement in the fight scenes. Moreover, the art reaches a new level of cool in the page focusing on Nathan’s transformation, there’s just some great classic Power Rangers or even Sailor Moon-esque energy there, and I’m all for it.
I still think the greatest weakness is the lack of female characters. Nathan’s mother, Mrs. Burnett is the only female character we’ve been presented with so far; in this issue she only makes a one page appearance and still hasn’t been given a first name. There’s a lot to like about Radiant Black and I’m going to be sticking with the series, but this is definitely a gripe that I think needs to be resolved soon.