Review by Ian Keogh
There’s a lot going on in Radiant, and over two volumes Tony Valente has part-built a world we want to know more about, populated it with characters who have the capacity to surprise, and given those characters some interesting motivations. Reaching well above his capabilities is Seth, junior wizard by trade, determined to reach Radiant, apparent source of the monsters that plague his world. These monsters, Nemeses, are destructive and seemingly uncontrollable, except the ending to Radiant 2 showed someone controlling them. That’s the immediate problem. Performing well below her capabilities is Mélie, who could do with some of Seth’s unfounded confidence. It’s her turn for the cover, but as her more assertive transformed personality.
Rumble Town is in effect under siege from opposing forces with the innocent people in the middle. As well as the Nemeses the town’s protector is revealed as a wrong’un, and the Inquisitor Captain Dragunov, whom we know to be sinister, has his own reasons for wanting to keep the innocents safe. Seth and Mélie are clear cut in their service of right
While there are still pages where the detail of the previous volumes is shown, this time Valente’s working far more with the common manga of big figures, speed lines, no backgrounds and close-ups on faces. The sequence most resembling the earlier work is a prolonged flashback showing how the situation in Rumble Town came about. Coupled with how that plays out in the present, it drops into place that it’s not been coincidental that earlier items have reflected our world. Valente has views, and while exaggerated for entertainment, he puts them out there.
Explanations inserted between chapters show Valente has given far more thought to his world than we’ve realised, revealing the hidden meaning of insignia and clarifying why inquisitors see wizards as prey. More by way of homage, the spells used by the wizards are in forms of Latin.
By the end of the volume an accord has been reached, and the casualties have been few, although one person’s survival technique revealed near the end is simultaneously hilarious and gross. A great revelation leads us to Radiant 4, and this has continued the run of fun entertainment.