When considering what they would do if they had superpowers, almost everyone comes up with inspiring answers. The question becomes more difficult for a middle school teacher about to be homeless because of her fiancé’s gambling addiction, who suddenly receives the matter-absorbing powers of a black hole. When Satomi Sone receives her from her Radiant Red powers, she decides to rob banks to alleviate her financial situation from her. Emerging hero Radiant Black tries to stop her, but the altercation soon turns deadly. Written by Cherish Chen with artwork from David Lafuente and Miquel Muerto and lettering by Diego Sanches, Radiant Red #2 by Image Comics continues Satomi’s story as she reassesses her life choices.
A spinoff of the massively popular Radiant Black series, Radiant Red #2 gets into the thick of the action right from the start. Some unscrupulous yet powerful people want to meet Satomi in an abandoned steel plant. In typical bad guy fashion, Radiant Red walks right into an ambush. She quickly disposes of soon goons, who charge at her as soon as she enters. Suddenly, the creepy man she met at school in the morning appears out of the shadows, patronizingly applauding her on her battle skills. With a blinding flash, he changes into a high-tech suit and asks Satomi to call him Shift. Radiant Red clenches her fists and readily obliges.
Satomi has always led an uneventful life, never expecting anyone else, even her family, to exceed the limitations of her middle-class setting. When life finds a way to throw her world into disarray, Satomi goes down a darker path to claw back any semblance of control, inadvertently attracting the attention of the wrong crowd. Radiant Red #2 brings a grounded spin on the superhero genre while introducing a host of new characters that complicate things for the matter-absorbing protagonist. Writer Cherish Chen, who helped creator Kyle Higgins flesh out Satomi’s character back in Radiant Black #6, is back at the helm. Between an action-heavy start and a dialogue-heavy end, Chen strikes a fine balance, weaving a narrative laced with action, intrigue, and suspense.
The fan-favorite creative team of artists David Lafuente and Miquel Muerto return to broaden the horizons of the world of Radiant Red. The stylized artwork of the book infuses dynamic energy into the panels as Radiant Red jumps into action, punching villains left, right, and center. From graffiti-laden walls to the dirty, abandoned atmosphere, the anime-esque aesthetic of the character designs works in juxtaposition with its surroundings. Dead uses a vivid palette of colors that gives off a bright glow throughout the panels, with Radiant Red’s crimson radiance overpowering every other shade. The colorful characters in a darker background place focus on the moving elements and add vibrancy to the artwork.
Despite opening with a flurry of bombastic action, Radiant Red #2 does not contribute much in the way of progression of events as the issue concentrates on building the plot before the final launch. Satomi burrows herself deeper into criminal endeavors, a world she has just scratched the surface of using her radiant powers but it is absolutely out of depth. As the crime boss makes themselves known, they use Satomi’s desperation and predicament to their advantage, manipulating Radiant Red into committing one of the greatest heists of all time. Radiant Red #2 ends on a cliffhanger that not only brings new prospects for Satomi but also for the Radiant franchise as a whole.
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