Review – Radiant Black #4
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Artist: Marcelo Costa
Colourist: Rod Fernandes
Letterer: Becca Carey
Editor: Michael Busuttil
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: May 19, 2021
It was always going to come to this: Radiant Black vs Radiant Red in a knock-down drag-out fight across the city of Lockport! And believe us when we say that after this fight, nothing will ever be the same again. For Lockport or for Radiant Black. We actually mean it.
WRITER: KYLE HIGGINS (SPOILERS…)
On the last Radiant Black…
After the stunning last issue where Nathan spent most of the time procrastinating about writing it’s back to the action. Nathan is creaming, and the alien voice from the past few issues is getting stronger and louder until he is surrounded and meets Existence the voice of the armour. Existence warns of coming danger and asks Nathan to complete the joining process by confirming he will kill the threat (Radiant?) who will kill us all. Nathan is confused and hesitates.
Later Marshall catches up with Nathan and, before heading to a movie marathon, they test the Radiant Black powers. Marshall works out that emotion is linked to the powers and after mentioning an old girlfriend Nathan seems to get the hang of energy blasts.
On the way to the theatre they about what would Marshall be like if he’d taken the black hole rather than Nathan. Within seconds of this emotional scene, Red attacks out of nowhere and Nathan suits up to protect his friend and his town. Their battle quickly gets out of hand, destroying much of the town centre.
An Arrogant Red threatens Nathan’s town, friends and family and this pushes him over the edge activating his powers and easily defeating Red. As he walks away, Red cowardly tries to shoot him in the back, but Nathan is able to react causing their blasts to meet and bring down a building. Nathan’s new powers help him prop up the foundations while Red and others flee but can’t escape himself.
Higgins, you are a horrible, horrible man. I’ve invested three whole issues (count them three!) in this series laughing at Nathan, empathising with his disastrous life and you…you….killed him. He was human, relatable and the classic reluctant hero. Now I need to go as there’s some dust in my eyes.
ART: MARCELLO COSTA/BECCA CAREY/ROD FERNANDES
Usually, the letterer in a comic is the background hero, blending art and script without much credit or recognition, but in the issue Carey raises the game her use of lettering colour, size and shape add everything needed to the stunning artwork of Costa and Fernandes. The lettering of Existence, the robot mind of the black hole but here she adds a voice, tone and volume to a disembodied voice with perfection.
I’ve already celebrated the artwork of Costa and Fernandes in my previous reviews but again the scenes inside the minds of Nathan and Marshall are stunning with Neon and pastel shades over a black background creating a Tron like feel to the dream. The final battle between Red and Black, cross-sectioned through a four-story building adds a perfect pretext to the collapsing building and Nathan’s redemption and death.
It’s a brave creative team that changes the whole direction of their series after only four issues. I will say Higgins is now on my naughty list, that ending was not at all what I was expecting and part of me thinks they’re doing the old comic book death bait and switch.
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