Are you ready for a puzzling spin-off? From the pages of “Radiant Black” comes “Radiant Red,” a series that holds as much promise as the original series, and is just as frustrating. The new series has a new protagonist, introduced in the parent comic, and a whole new creative team. There’s still time for “Radiant Red” to figure out its voice but so far, it’s mostly repeating mistakes of the past.
Written by Cherish Chen
Illustrated by David Lafuente
Colored by Miquel Muerto
Lettered by Diego Sanches
Fan-favourite creative team CHERISH CHEN, DAVID LAFUENTE & MIQUEL MUERTO return for a FIVE-ISSUE MINISERIES telling the next unmissable story from the world of RADIANT BLACK!To her students, Satomi Shen 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.
The bigger letdown is the artwork, with linework done by David Lafuente and colors by Miquel Muerto. Lafuente is a comic book legend, doing a prodigious amount of work since the early 2000s. Lafuente is known for his cover work, which often really works for me. But for whatever reason, “Radiant Red” is not up to his normal standards. A lot of panels feel sparse, like he was going to add details but ran out of time. Lafuente’s art style is pretty cartoony, which could work for a story inspired by a children’s television program, and occasionally you get a really dynamic panel that recalls the DC animated shows of the 90s. But that’s the exception, most of the comic is muddy and too hard to follow.Continued below
That muddiness isn’t helped by Miquel Muerto’s color work. The colors are a little fuzzy, and in some places, intentionally bleed. This deadens the effect of the linework, which could have used a bit of a boost. Instead we get a lot of monochrome backgrounds and faceless people. It’s a shame because with the story as marginal as it is, some gorgeous artwork could have pushed this book to the next level.
So to recap: “Radiant Red” is a good idea. All the creators are capable of good work, but this isn’t them at their best. But there are some intriguing mysteries at play, especially around the creation of the Sentai suits, and what their purpose is. If this comic continues to be paced like the previous volume, we won’t be getting answers for a while. I was hoping that “Radiant Red” could give some energy to the whole line of “Radiant” books, but it seems more determined to repeat mistakes.