I’d Like to See More of Radiance, From the Invaders

I’ve decided to catch up on my Marvel reading. I have a 120-comic backlog, since I haven’t read any since March, which was before the launch of the new series people are recommending (such as Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk). (Before you ask, I just got busy with other things.)

All-New Invaders #7 cover by Mukesh Singh

All-New Invaders #7 cover by Mukesh Singh

Imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to discover, in my first batch (proceeding alphabetically), a cool new character I hope to see more of. Radiance first appeared in All-New Invaders #6, out last month, with a followup in last week’s All-New Invaders #7. That’s her on the cover. (Ignore the grimacing heads, which correspond to nothing in the issue. Also ignore the “Original Sin” tie-in banner, since it’s just a gimmick to provide a reason for her flashbacks.)

The setup is this: Jim Hammond is the original Human Torch, from the 1940s. After having his quiet small-town life interrupted by a giant monster, he became a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. He’s already the kind of character I have sympathy for, an everyday guy who’s drawn into doing the right thing. It wouldn’t be his first choice, but he feels an obligation to help because he can, and his motivation — to live happily, once he can retire — is an approachable and sympathetic one. All this was in prior issues, which mostly turned into a big bash-em-up, so I’m not talking more about that.

Back to Radiance, or as she is known in Japan, Supreme Radiant Friend (following the Grant Morrison-style “I don’t know if this is fond appropriation or borderline racist allusion” Asian naming structure). This is comics, so she has a martial-arts-style sash, a color scheme and icon vaguely reminiscent of her country’s flag, and weird patches of exposed skin, as shown here inside the issue.

Radiance panel by Mark Laming

This is all written by James Robinson and illustrated by Mark Laming, whose drawings of her, as seen above, are more typically superheroic than that kawaii cover. Her powers are light-based, and although she’s compared at one point to Dazzler, it’s clear that Radiance, Ryoko Sabuki, isn’t a mutant, and in power, she’s closer to Monica Rambeau, with energy blasts. It’s very visual, and not the typical “let the girl stand back and think at them” kind of ability.

Ryoko is also the granddaughter of Golden Girl, who (we’re told here) hung out with the Kid Commandos during World War II. I don’t know enough Marvel history to know if that’s a retcon or not, but I like the generational connection. That sparks (heh) this story, as the Original Sin Ryoko discovers has to do with the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan and the original Invaders’ possible connection. There are plenty of flashbacks as we learn what happened then and now with the teams. Plus, we get to see Spitfire, whom I’ve always liked. There’s something about a titled lady becoming a superhero for the good of the country that’s very British.

More significantly, although it’s hampered by being part of a superhero comic that requires big images and lots of action, there’s an interesting attempt to tackle the question of how to look at some actions during World War II. The US did some horrible things during that time, and retrospective analysis requires an understanding of good motives potentially leading to disaster, as plays out on a smaller scale here.

It looks like next issue, All-New Invaders #8, is back to all the boys fighting monsters, so I doubt I’ll follow this series, but I wanted to go public about wanting to see Radiance again.


5 Responses to “I’d Like to See More of Radiance, From the Invaders”

  1. ShadZ Says:

    The Japanese Golden Girl is a retcon, but she’s a retcon from the 1970s, so she has some history behind her…

  2. Johanna Says:

    Thanks for the info. That adds another layer to the time periods and flashbacks.

  3. Dwight Williams Says:

    Yep. The Nisei Golden Girl is another of Roy Thomas’ contributions to Marvel’s version of World War II. The “Golden Girl” name goes back even further, though, as an occasional part of the Captain America cast of the 1940’s.

  4. James Schee Says:

    This was my first exposure to the character as well and I really liked her and this Human Torch is a compelling character so far.

    I see you already have She-Hulk & Ms. Marvel as planned to read. Others you might could sample

    Black Widow which has been a good hard edged spy comic.

    Silver Surfer which Slott has turned into a compelling Dr. Who homage that still works on its own as well.

    All New Ultimates – I knew next to nothing about these characters before reading this series, since I hadn’t read the Ultimate line in years. But this series has really grabbed me from the word go. Plus the team is mostly female characters and the sales aren’t good. So you know that’s a book right up your alley Johanna. :)

  5. Johanna Says:

    Black Widow I couldn’t get into — I’m not a big fan of spy stories without some other factor, like humor. As for reading something else that doesn’t sell, ha. Yes, I have a talent that way.




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