Satomi has a lot on her plate, what with her job, her breakup, the 2.5 million stolen dollars in the vents, her new superhuman powers… Your Major Spoilers review of Radiant Red #1 from Image Comics awaits!
RADIANT RED #1
Writer: Cherish Chen
Artist: David Lafuente
Colorist: Miquel Muerto
Letterer: Diego Sanches
Editor: Michael Busuttil
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: March 9, 2022
Previously in Radiant Red: To her students, Satomi Sone is a diligent middle school teacher. To her fiancé and parents, she’s the rock of their family. To the world, she’s Radiant Red, a criminal-turned-matter-absorbing superhero. But with a mysterious stranger in her classroom, a nosy reporter on her doorstep, and $2.5 million hidden in the air vents of her house, she’s going to have to decide who she is, and quickly…
…before the world chooses for her.
“I THOUGHT I WAS SAVING US”
In the small town of Romeoville, Illinois, Satomi Sone watches herself on the news, in pitched battle as Radiant Red. it’s a scene we’ve seen in Radiant Black, but this time we get to see her response. Her ex, Owen, wants to know what she’s going to do about all the money she has stolen, which is currently stashed in the air vents, but she insists that they have to leave it alone for now. A visit to see her sister reveals that Satomi is getting ready to go to Japan and see all the sights of the country their mother was born in. Sister Yuki isn’t sure about the plan, worrying that she’s just overreacting to her breakup, but Satomi insists that it’s time to live her life. The next day at work, she is confronted by a very sleazy man who makes her an offer he thinks she can’t refuse: Work for his employers, or be outed as notorious armored bank robber Radiant Red. She tells him she isn’t interested, but when he threatens her family and texts her an address, Satomi decides to pay her would-be blackmailers a visit.
THE SLOW BURN
First and foremost, I’m a little bit bugged that, save for a flashback and the news broadcast, the powered-up form of Radiant Red doesn’t appear in this issue. I understand the intention here is to fill in the gaps about Satomi’s actions in her previous appearances, especially since her interactions with Nathan and Marshall have been a little bit explodey. Sadly, knowing that this is a limited series makes the slow burn in these pages frustrating rather than satisfying, and by the end of the issue, I really wanted to see her just DO something, rather than have another conversation. I really enjoyed the interactions between sisters, but the overall pacing of the issue just felt off, especially given that the extortionist’s conversation took four pages, followed by Satomi being bothered by an investigative reporter for another two. Lafuente’s art differs from what we’ve seen in Radiant Black, but it is really good at conveying emotion and atmosphere, with softer outlines. Seeing Satomi going through her old notebooks is an effective and engaging artistic sequence, even with the pacing issues, and although there are a couple of points in the story where it’s hard to catch transitions, overall, it works. I also enjoy seeing a more subtle, shaded color palette in these pages, which helps to convey that we’re getting a spinoff, not a carbon copy.
BOTTOM LINE: PRETTY GOOD STUFF
In the final analysis, Radiant Red #1 is a book that does several things well, including art that is attractive, if occasionally unclear, an interesting main character, and a clear intention to differentiate itself from the other titles in the publishing line, but with just enough wobbles in pacing and story-telling to concern me, leaving the book with a better-than-average 3 out of 5 stars overall. As someone who enjoyed Radiant Black from issue one, I had hoped that we’d get a debut just as strong here, but even though this issue isn’t quite that stellar, it’s still a good comic book.
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RADIANT RED #1
This issue gives us our first real look in to Satomi/Radiant Red's life, which is lovely, but feels a little bit slighter than a first issue should.