This time around, everything changes.  Your Major Spoilers review of Radiant Black #4 from Image Comics awaits!


Writer: Kyle Higgins
Artist: Marcelo Costa
Colorist: Rod Fernandes
Letterer: Becca Carey
Editor: Michael Busuttil
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 19, 2021

Previously in Radiant Black:  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.


This issue begins with Nathan in a strange inner space, surrounded by glowing emblems that he can’t quite understand… until he starts to.  He is greeted by a massive alien being whose head looks like his battle helmet, who asks him an important question: “Will you do all that is required to save your species?”  In the real world, Nathan sets out with his best friend Marshall to test his new powers, testing whether or not he can intentionally channel his energy powers.  A little needling leads to the reveal that they’re tied to his emotional state, a revelation that proves useful when Radiant Red returns to attack him.  Their battle quickly gets out of hand, destroying much of the downtown area, but when his foe threatens to hurt him by targeting Nathan’s friends and family, Radiant Black gets mad…

…and then things get fatal.


This issue’s ending is a massive shock, even for a long-term comic fan who tends to see swerves coming, and it actually does change everything about the book.  As this issue ends, we get an important answer to the alien’s question, as well as a truly shocking moment that comes from it.  The story also starts to expand the universe, revealing a little bit about where the Radiant powers come from and why they’ve been sent to an Earthling for use.  I really love the art in this issue, as Costa delivers on the wide-screen carnage of a huge superhero battle.  I also find the sequences of communication between Nathan and the alien to be just breathtaking, using an 80s-style pastel palette that reminds me a bit of the work of Ken Steacy.  The real-world segments are a bit dull for my tastes, though it’s probably intentional to really make the colorful sequences pop even more.  If I have any complaints about this issue, it’s that it is a bit hard to follow the transitions of time and place, making it unclear when and where scenes change, but even that isn’t a deal-breaker.


Radiant Black #4 is a comic that lives up to it’s solicitation copy, and I’m now psyched to see how next issue continues, as a new status quo is absolutely required, with art that really works for me in moments big and small, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars overall.I’ve compared this comic to Invincible more than once and this issue’s big twist makes the comparison both more appropriate and less so, depending on how you look at it.  Either way, I think this issue will guarantee that it gets to tell as much of the story as it wants, once readers get ahold of this one.

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Everything Changes

It's rare that solicitation copy is literally true, and this issue proves that rare and pleasant exception to the rule, with really great art and an ending that shook me up.

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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