Image Comics’ sci-fi thriller, Radiant Black #1, just gave fans the most millennial superhero on the market right now.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Radiant Black #1 by Kyle Higgins, Marcelo Costa and Becca Carey, on sale now.
Image Comics’ Radiant Black is a new offering from Kyle Higgins, Marcelo Costa and Becca Carey, which focuses on a failed writer, Nathan, becoming imbued with superpowers. It’s in the vein of Invincible, as Nathan’s really trying to find his place in the world, and it seems like being a hero might be it.
However, as the first issue unravels we discover Nathan’s going to have a tough time of it. His status and mindset end up making him the most millennial superhero ever, facing an uphill yet relatable struggle.
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In Radiant‘s first issue, Nathan returns home to Lockport, Illinois as his writing career’s circling the drain. His editor’s lost faith in him and he’s racked with debt. He can’t even get a bank loan and with no chance of earning a higher income, he’s forced to move back in with his parents. Nathan feels ashamed, especially when his mom babies him, glad her boy’s back; meanwhile, he can also feel the condescension and disappointment from his dad. There’s no respect there, only adding more pressure on Nathan’s back that creates anxiety and a dark pall over him.
It’s reminiscent of so many young people today who are up to their necks in debt and can’t catch a break. Banks aren’t letting up on foreclosure or the debt payments, fewer millennials own cars or their own homes, and many who are renting end up moving back home. In fact, quite a few now live with their parents for much longer than before to save money as living expenses are pretty high. It’s a far cry from previous eras where young adults left the nest early.
Interestingly, as Nathan meets his old buddy, Marshall, and they go drinking, it feels like a college conversation once again. Marshall doesn’t seem to grasp his friend’s financial woes fully, but he does at least show compassion. Still, seeing them in the bar really speaks to how some millennials react when the going gets tough as there just doesn’t seem to be a solution in sight.
It culminates with them leaving, as Marshall’s drunk, and ends with Nathan finding a black orb by the train tracks that grants him superpowers. So far, he has flight and telekinesis, able to levitate train cars that almost crash into them — as well as the cops that almost assault the duo. But as they escape Marshall notes the powers are tied to Nathan’s emotions.
In that sense, if he’s enduring all this millennial despair and angst, Nathan’s superhero career might be as short-lived as his writing one in Radiant Black. He just can’t balance his life properly and Marshall isn’t a good influence — well, not yet, so Nathan could become a liability. Plus, he’s yet to create a stable home with his parents. It seems that if Nathan doesn’t fix his personal life, the ripple effects could see him become a ticking time bomb and maybe even, a villain.
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