In Tony Valente’s action-adventure manga, Radiant is a fantastical world where Seth is a wizard apprentice to Alma, a freelance tracking wizard. It is their job to track down and destroy Nemeses, evil creatures that will destroy the world.

Wizards are people who have been infected by the Nemesis’s corruption and survived. The corruption for each person manifests differently. Some wizard’s infections are cosmetic while others are more of a destructive nature. For example, Seth has horns, while Alma gets frequent headaches. Along with the corruption comes the ability to wield magic. Despite wizards tracking down and destroying Nemesis, common, uninfected people fear wizards for being different. Not all wizards are good either, which could lead to people informing the Inquisition that rogue wizards are up to no good.

The story is broken up into four chapters with a clear plot line. When we first meet Seth, we learn that while he is very enthusiastic about destroying Nemeses, he is not the smartest. He mistakes a herd of cows for Nemeses which just enrages the village people. Alma defuses the situation and reams Seth about acting rashly.

A common theme that pops up in this book is that no matter how good your intentions are, you need to think through those intentions before acting. Seth is full of good intentions, but he is too quick to act, resulting in situations like the cows. These good intentions lead him to sneak off the airship they live on and onto land where a Nemesis’s egg has landed. Seth meets a group of wizards called The Bravery Quartet who are not good people. They plan on stealing all the village’s money while the Nemesis runs rampant, then getting out of town. Seth’s enthusiasm cracks the Nemesis egg, setting the monster free. Through a series of events he finds out The Bravery Quartet’s nefarious intentions. Seth steps up and destroys the monster, and we learn that Seth is special because he doesn’t need special gauntlets to control his magic. He is so powerful he can channel the magic without the help of tools that focus the magic.

This discovery leads Seth to his quest; he is going to find the Nemesis’s nest and destroy them all. First, he needs serious magical training at the Artemis Institute. Alma sends him on his way with sage advice that Seth promptly ignores. Along the short journey to the Artemis Institute, Seth runs into the Inquisition and narrowly escapes while rescuing another wizard. Alma told him the best person to train him is Yaga who he searches out. Of course, Yaga doesn’t want to train him, but after testing Seth he decides that Seth is abnormal, and agrees to train him. The book ends with the last pages focusing on the Inquisition’s nefarious plans to capture Seth.

Radiant is an awesome manga for readers who are also into One Piece and/or Black Clover. It is fast paced with slapstick humor. Seth is a sweet idiot that you laugh at and cheer for. Imagine Andy Dwyer from Parks and Recreation as a manga hero. The narrative is clear and the characterizations build nicely. The art style is clean and flows well.

Sometimes manga can be confusing with panel order, but this series is clear and direct. Each character has a unique look and fashion that tells you about their personality. The design for the Nemesis is reminiscent of No Face from Spirited Away in that it is adorably terrifying. There is some toilet humor, mild swearing, and minimal nudity. Alma hexes The Bravery Quartet into believing they are chickens so they end up naked and clucking. The reader sees their bare bottoms and nothing more. This a definitely a series for middle school and up and will be a hit at the library. Also, it’s only ten volumes so it won’t break the budget.

Radiant, Volume 1
By Tony Valente
ISBN: 9781974703814
Viz Media 2018
Publisher Range: Rated Teen

  • Mary N.S. Richardson

    Past Reviewer

    Mary N.S. Richardson is the Adult Services Librarian at the Cragin Memorial Library in Connecticut where she is building an awesome graphic novel collection! She holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Georgia and an M.L.I.S. from Kent State University. Mary is the chair of the Graphic Novel Roundtable for the Connecticut Library Consortium. She has been reading comics since she was a kid and is a huge X-Men and Batfamily fan.

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