I was in a weird place with superhero comics. After about 10 years of reading them I found myself more frequently going through dry spells. Before I was a Wednesday Warrior, reading comics as soon as they came out each week, but now I would go months without picking one up. I’d still read through 100s of issues a year between these dry spells but I was just consuming the stories, not really connecting with them. The funny part is that I didn’t even realize this until a recent Sunday morning.
The day before, my wife and I had stopped by the local Half Price Books, which definitely has more than just books based on my wife’s haul of $1 vinyls. We were very happy with the Barry Manilow Greatest Hits find. I personally had found my way to the comics section and found copies of the first volumes of Radiant Black and Radiant Red. I had heard of Radiant Black; if you’re reading this there’s no doubt that you’ve seen the hype surrounding the book. I feel like I heard “Invincible meets Power Rangers!” more times than I can count. Plus a good friend, hey Denham, had spoken highly of it.
Power Rangers is something I am supposed to love. I’m the perfect age for it to have been a hit for me as a kid but for whatever reason it completely missed me. Let’s just say I have more of a fondness for Toei Spider-Man than any of his Tokusatsu counterparts. Despite that I picked up Radiant Black and Radiant Red. The next morning I was so glad I did.
The thing I love about the Massive-Verse aren’t just the neon colored costumes that are dripping with coolness, even though that helps: it’s the characters. Behind each mask, each catchphrase, and each energy blast there’s a person. The people that make up the Massive-Verse feel like real people with complete lives before any powers get involved. They feel like me and the people I love. The blend of grounded human stories with larger than life sci-fi fantasy finds a balance that is just sublime. Radiant Red in particular is where I rediscovered that spark that made me fall in love with comics all those years ago. I hope you find that spark when you read them too.
*Note that the Supermassive crossover issues have yet to be collected in trade. I will note where they can be read. Worth hunting down!*
Collects: Radiant Black #1-6 (Note that the trade collections do not include back up stories)
Kyle Higgins and Marcelo Costa kicked things off with Radiant Black in 2021.
Collects: Radiant Black #7-12
Collects: Radiant Black #6, Radiant Red #1-5
Collects: Inferno Girl Red #1-3
Collects: Rogue Sun #1-6
Collects: Radiant Black #13-18
Collects: The Dead Lucky #1-6
Collects: Rogue Sun #7-12
Collects: Radiant Pink #1-5 (oddly does not include Radiant Black #12 but as long as you read Radiant Black Volume 2 before this you’ll be good!)
Collects: Radiant Black #19-24
Radiant Black #1-9
See the start of Radiant Black’s story, the introductions to the other Radiants, and a sneak peek at the universe at large.
Image! #1-4 – Shift
A collection of short stories where we learn the origins of Shift and his criminal empire. Shift plays a big factor in getting the tech villains of this universe set up with their gear. Has big payoffs in Radiant Black’s third arc.
Radiant Red #1-5
This spins directly out of Radiant Black #6 (even has the same great art by David LaFuente!) A great story that sees Radiant Red have to deal with the fallout of the events of the first Radiant Black arc.
Radiant Black #10-12
Girl Inferno Red #1-3
While this didn’t come out until 2023, I think having more context for Inferno Girl Red makes for a better reading experience for Supermassive and the things it teases.
The Massive-Verse’s first crossover that sees Inferno Girl Red, Rogue Sun, and Radiant Black team up. Fun team up story with some great teases about the future.
Rogue Sun #1-6
The second Massive-Verse ongoing that takes a look at the mystical side of the universe.
Radiant Black #13-18
Issue #18 is a particular favorite of mine that takes a look at Radiant Yellow’s past, present, and future all at the same time!
The Dead Lucky #1-6
The third Massive-Verse ongoing. It sets up the status quo for The Dead Lucky in Supermassive 2023.
Rogue Sun #7-12
Issue #7 is a fun choose your own adventure issue. It is a little difficult to navigate in digital so definitely worth hunting down the floppy.
Radiant Pink #1-5
Radiant Black #19-24
In classic comics style #24 has a QR code for a fan vote. The voting period has ended and we are now waiting to see the results!
At the time of writing this has not come out yet but be sure to check back for more updates. In the meantime, keep an eye out for the current on-goings; Radiant Black, Rogue Sun, and The Dead Lucky. There’s also a 10 issue mini series coming out called No/One. Once that is fully released I’ll come back to mark its spot here!
If you are still wanting some more Massive-Verse action you can check C.O.W.L.. When it was being released C.O.W.L. was its own thing but has since been retroactively added to the universe. Focusing on a Chicago superhero team in the 60’s it has a very different tone from the rest of the books. Mostly referenced via the in universe movie about the team. Rod Reis’ art is hard to turn down!
Collects: C.O.W.L. #1-6
Collects: C.O.W.L. #7-11