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Radiant Black's New Arc is Splitting Its Hero in Two

Image's sci-fi superhero saga is telling two stories at the same time for its Catalyst War arc.

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Combined covers of Radiant Black #25.
Image: Marcelo Costa/Image Comics

As Image Comics’ Massive-Verse comics line has grown out its world over the last few years with The Dead Lucky and No/One, its lead book Radiant Black has been making some interesting swings. Recently, writer Kyle Higgins literally put the choice of who will hold the titular Radiant Black mantle—co-leads Nathan and Marshall—in readers’ hands, encouraging them to vote for who would be the hero going forward.

But as it turns out, the future of who will be Radiant Black isn’t stopping at just a simple vote.

Image for article titled Radiant Black's New Arc is Splitting Its Hero in Two

In June, Higgins said that Radiant Black #25—by himself, Joe Clark, Marcelo Costa, and Eduardo Ferigato, and which recently released—would determine whether Nathan or Marshall would be the hero going forward. That’s sort of true, but up to a point. Depending on which of the two different covers readers received, eitehr of the two guys could be the one and only Radiant Black. That’s by design—the Massive-Verse’s first event miniseries, Catalyst War, is spread across two timelines, and both of those will feature one of them as its central hero. Upcoming issues with the “A” variant cover will star Marshall (with art from Fergiato and Raul Angulo), while “B” covers have Nathan as the lead (and art by Costa and Rod Fernandes).

Who’s the new Radiant Black? That depends on which cover you bought.
Who’s the new Radiant Black? That depends on which cover you bought.
Image: Image Comics

“For reasons that are central to the story… both timelines, coming out of issue 25, are still active,” wrote Higgins via his newsletter. He added that the two-timeline story will play out over “the next five months” that Catalyst War is happening. And in a very video game RPG-like fashion, he added that Nathan and Marshall’s choices and the ripple effects of those decisions “[are] at the center of what this event is about.” At time of writing, Higgins hasn’t disclosed how this will affect Radiant’s eventual trade collection for the arc, or how that will play out for digital readers.

An event comic playing out across two different timelines and with two leads isn’t something you see every day, and it’ll be interesting to see where things line up and split apart. But even with this hook as part of the central storytelling conceit, Higgins knows he’ll have to reveal the results of the vote when all is said and done. “By the end, you will learn who won the vote and who will be Radiant Black going forward,” he teased. “That is, if either one of them survives.”

Nathan and Marshall’s adventures continue in Radiant Black: The Catalyst War, which will continue in issue #26 on August 30, and issue #27 on September 20.


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