The Radiant has chosen its permanent bearer, but was it Nathan? Or was it Marshall? The answer is… complicated. Your Major Spoilers review of Radiant Black #26 from Image Comics awaits!
RADIANT BLACK #26 (AND #26.5)
Writer: Kyle Higgins and Joe Clark
Artist: Eduardo Ferigato
Colorist: Raul Angulo
Letterer: Becca Carey
Editor: Michael Busuttil
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 15, 2023
Previously in Radiant Black: As the Catalyst War rages, the rules of engagement become clear, as the dual Radiants Black, Nathan and Marshall, face their first trial.
“THIS IS POST OFFICE JURISDICTION!”
Radiant Black #24 ended with the two hosts of the Radiant making a decision on who would permanently bond with the collapsar, with a link for readers to vote on the matter. When issue #25 came out, it was accompanied by #25.5, telling two versions of events, based on which Radiant Black was in play. As such, issue #26 also comes in two variants, which I don’t feel comfortable reviewing separately. In one reality, Marshall faces down with the alien sent to test his world, calling in help from Radiant Pink when the going gets tough, then calls for backup from Nathan in the final battle, using Nathan’s smarts along with his own boldness to take the battle… but there’s still the war. In another reality, Nathan goes it alone, using his powers creatively and handling the larger threat more easily, but is unable to cover all the necessary angles, ending with a great many casualties… but there’s still the war.
WHERE WILL IT END?
There is a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure feel to these two issues, with the same opening sequence, and similar events as Radiant Black faces off with The Premier. The action takes different routes, but the basics of the playing field are the same. Kieran of The Postal Service arrives at a key point in the narrative, and a particular young family caught in the crossfire. Perhaps the best part is that it’s not quite clear at this point which version of the story is the better one, or the correct one. Ferigato’s art conveys the (you should excuse the expression) massive scale of it all, with Radiant Black’s robot Colossal nose-to-nose with another giant mecha as the starting point, and explosive storytelling throughout. The combined effect of the two issues is that of two alternate realities, two possible paths forward, and each is fascinating in its own way.
BOTTOM LINE: PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES OF THE FORM
The Catalyst War storyline has once again transformed the rules of the Massive-Verse, and Radiant Black #26 and #26.5 are telling a classic comic book story in an entirely fresh and unprecedented way, keeping the well-executed storytelling that we’ve come to love and taking it to a new creative level, earning a dead-solid 5 out of 5 stars overall. The resolution of this war is now not just a question of “Can the hero win?” but one of “Which hero will it be?”, rejuvenating the shopworn parts of an alien invasion into something unexpected. You should be reading this book. You should have been reading this book all along.
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RADIANT BLACK #26 (AND #26.5)
The experiment that started last issue continues, as Radiant Black faces off with The Premier, after [Marshall was chosen] [Nathan was chosen] , but the hero manages to eke out a win [with a little help from his friends] [but not without consequences.]