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PREVIEW: 'Nuclear Family' #1 by Stephanie Phillips, Tony Shasteen, and JD Mettler

 America, 1957. Elvis dominates the airwaves and apple pie is served after every meal. But, with the dark cloud of nuclear holocaust looming, Korean War vet Tim McClean’s major concern is taking care of his family in the atomic age. When the first bomb does drop on an unexpecting Midwest city, Tim and his family find themselves plunged into a strange new world, where what’s left of the United States has gone underground while continuing to wage war on Russia with unthinkable tactics. Based on Philip K. Dick’s short story Breakfast at Twilight , NUCLEAR FAMILY is written by  Stephanie Phillips ( Butcher of Paris, Heavy Metal , ARTEMIS AND THE ASSASSIN, RED ATLANTIS) and illustrated by Tony Shasteen ( Star Trek ). It’s Cold War-era science fiction at its most timely and terrifying. As Phillips explained when interviewed about the series by The Hollywood Reporter at the end of last year, “[it’s] about a family that seems like the ideal nuclear family in the 1950s. But, when an unexpected

REVIEW: 'Radiant Black' #1 by Kyle Higgins and Marcelo Costa

For fans of INVINCIBLE and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers comes a brand-new ONGOING SERIES from acclaimed writer KYLE HIGGINS (Ultraman, C.O.W.L.) and artist MARCELO COSTA that reinvents superheroes for a new generation!

Nathan Burnett has just turned thirty, and things aren't great: He's working (and failing) at two jobs, his credit card debt is piling up, and his only move... is moving back home with his parents.

But when Nathan discovers and unlocks the ethereal, cosmic RADIANT, he's given the power to radically change his fortunes!

There's just one problem: The powers don't belong to him. And the COSMIC BEINGS who created them want them back... by any means necessary.  


Writer: Kyle Higgins

Artist: Marcello Costa

Letterer: Becca Carey

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: February 10, 2021

Cover Price: $3.99

Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)

Superhero origin stories are pretty common. We've seen it all at this point so what really makes a superhero special nowadays is who they are behind the cape. 'Radiant Black' #1 is the origin story of Nathan Burnett who comes across a cosmic force that enwraps him in a super-suit giving him immense powers. That's not the interesting part. Writer Kyle Higgins introduces us first and foremost to Nathan and spends most of the issue explaining who he is. It's a character-driven story that resonates because, for a lot of readers, Nathan is all of us. 

We're constantly reminded to "follow your dreams" and "fake it till you make it" or whatever inspirational meme makes its way onto your Instagram feed. You hear about the now A-lister movie star who came to Hollywood with $7 in his pockets and now commands $50 million a picture. Or the writer who wrote her first manuscript while working two jobs and raising a baby only to end up publishing a worldwide blockbuster fantasy series. These are the exceptions. The road to stardom is littered with everyone who tried to do the same and failed. The losers outnumber the winners. Nathan is one of those losers. He tried and failed only to end up back at home with his parents and up to his ears in debt. It happens. Nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say. 

Higgins presents Nathan as painfully human and perhaps not unlike himself or others who struggled at the beginning of their careers. Nathan's circumstances aren't too different from my own as someone who's tried to be a professional writer too. For us, comic book fans, writing our own or one of our favorite comics is something we've dreamed about once or twice. Nathan is profoundly relatable. You're empathetic to his situation despite his lack of follow-through. It's an interesting protagonist for Higgins to take from pathetic schlub to superpowered hero but it totally works because who wouldn't want to level up in life?  

Marcelo Costa's designs are sharp and colorful. Each panel is so clean and bold like animation stills. Costa's sequential storytelling is excellent in a dialogue-heavy issue. When there isn't much action, Costa keeps the reader engaged with different angles and concise pages that give each discussion just enough room to breathe as Becca Carey handles the lettering perfectly. We get a preview of what's to come when the action takes off because Costa shines at big moments near the end of the issue. 

'Radiant Black' #1 is off to a great start. As relatable as Peter Parker, Nathan Burnett is set to take off as Image's signature superhero. Higgins and Costa have conjured up some old-fashioned magic setting the stage for a fun series that's fantastic and human at the same time.