REVIEW: 'Radiant Black' #2 by Kyle Higgins, Marcelo Costa, and Becca Carey

 Yesterday: Nathan found an alien artifact that turned him into a superhero. Today? His dad says he has to get a job, so driving for rideshare company Drivr it is. Oh, and there's also someone else out there robbing banks with powers like his. That's probably important.


Writer: Kyle Higgins

Artist: Marcelo Costa, Becca Carey

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: March 17, 2021

Cover Price: $3.99


★★★★☆ (4/5)

One of the best things about heroes like Spider-Man, Blue Beetle, Ms. Marvel, and others is the relatability of their alter-egos. They're dealing with homework, family, friendships,  etc. while also learning about their extraordinary powers. There's an innate sense of wonder and comedy about it that's charming and endearing. Unlike those heroes, Nathan Burnett is not a teenager but he is adjusting to his newly acquired powers while balancing his personal life. He's moved back home after failing to secure a book deal (for a yet-to-be-written manuscript), facing major debt, and indifference about finding a job. All of which has his dad asking questions. Nothing's more relatable than chasing your dreams and finding setbacks along the way. 

But for Nathan, he's been given an incredible gift. This alien artifact that enabled his powers didn't leave any instructions so of course, this part of the superhero origin story is one of the most familiar but also one of the most fun tropes we get to witness. As much fun as that may be, Kyle Higgins makes sure Nathan is seen as a person first and an emerging hero second. It's these honest conversations with his dad that bring that message home. His dad is genuinely concerned about his son and what his plans are. It's completely believable and relatable even if Nathan is a bit of a dick about it. The fact he returns to driving for a ride-booking service serves him right and conveniently moves the plot forward. 

Having heard of another person with similar powers but in a red suit, Nathan has to find him to get some questions answered. This part of the issue is where the action takes off and how Higgins finds the balance between character work and superheroics. It's perfectly paced and choreographed with Marcelo Costa along with Becca Carey creating a vibrant and visceral back-and-forth confrontation with Nathan's red colleague.  As a testament to how well put together 'Radiant Black' is, we're just as eager for answers as Nathan is when he's chasing around the much more confident and capable red counterpart. 

'Radiant Black' #2 continues Nathan's growth as a superhero with some familiar and enjoyable to read growing pains. The existence of someone else with similar powers provides some fantastic visuals as Nathan looks for answers. This may be all-too-familiar for longtime comic book fans who've seen these kinds of origin stories before but frankly, it's still very entertaining. 'Radian Black' is comfort food for the nerd soul. 



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