Radiant Vol. 1 TP
Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: September 12, 2018
Price: $9.99
Creator: Tony Valente
Format: 184 pgs., B&W, 5"x7.5", Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-9747-0381-4
Age Rating: Teen
ICv2 Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Is it still manga if the creator is French?  Well, the format and art style are very much that of Japanese manga, and the story has the same strengths and weaknesses as traditional semi-serious fantasy manga from Japanese creators.  VIZ considered it to be manga enough to publish here in translation.

Radiant is a good fantasy story with a really annoying main character.  Too much of the time he comes across as powerful but a bit too much of a dim bulb.  He has supposedly been trained to fight monsters and to keep a low profile.  So, much of his introduction as a character is about showing the ways in which he can’t do either one of those correctly.

Most of the humans who can fight back against an infestation of monsters have survived being touched by one, something which is usually fatal.  The survival rates given in the story should lead to only a tiny number of survivors, which doesn’t match what is portrayed in the story.  These survivors are affected in various ways, often with physical alterations and magical powers, and even though they’re the last line of defense against the monsters, they’re feared and hated by at least some surviving normal humans.  So, they band together and try to fight on, but in their own odd ways.

There is really little new or groundbreaking in this story, and the humor in what seems like a life or death setting is jarring at times, but the artwork shines in portraying truly weird monsters.  Readers interested in a fantasy manga series whose central character makes little sense and has no judgment will love it.

For teens and up, due to lots of violence.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.