In the past, Tony Valente snuck in some modern-day issues within the fantasy realm of RADIANT. With its seventh volume, the problems of today are shoved right into the face of its readers, with no sugar-coating whatsoever. The biggest surprise: it legit pushes the story onwards towards something far grander than your run-of-the-mill adventure fable.

Seth continues with his training in the Camille Forest, as Myr teaches him how to control the Fantasia around him. Within the magical realm, he learns of the existence of imps, as well as why there aren’t many of them roaming the outside world. Meanwhile, Mélie and Ocoho continue to battle various Nemeses throughout the land, with the dangers reaching critical areas. However, after the battle, one ally has a secret that not even they are aware of.

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What sets this volume of RADIANT apart from the rest is its ebb and flow. The mixture of battles, training, and deep conversations here feel more akin to bringing the narrative around rather than just waste any reader’s time. More importantly, this particular set of chapters seems to set something up far bigger than Seth reaching Radiant. Rather, it’s placing the overall fate of the environment into the hands of Seth.

I’d be lying if I said I expected an environmental message to come out of the bearded perv’s mouth. And yet, we are given a full-blown lecture on the importance of certain creatures, plants, and mystical beings straight from the panty-beard’s lips. How it’s presented is very much akin to Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax, where Myr reveals that — while he may be the last imp remaining — there is still hope for more of them to arrive in the future. As such, a great challenge & task rests on the shoulders of Seth, one that could help bring a species back from the brink of near-extinction. (Sounding a little familiar in this day and age, huh?)

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Of course, things really pick up when Seth leaves Camille Forest and reunites with Mélie & Doc. Though I can’t spoil it here, the pieces of the apparition puzzle are finally put together, with everyone diving in deeply to find the cause and the solution to this dire problem. And with certain other players entering the plot to deal with the issue at hand, it’s becoming apparent that we’re about to head into one hell of an epic climax for this arc. For the first in awhile, I’m legit excited to see what’s on the horizon here.

Needless to say, I walked away from the seventh volume of RADIANT surprisingly impressed. With its mixture of great action, true-to-life philosophy, and even a couple of twists for good measure, Seth’s adventure is smartening up without blowing a lot of hot air. While we have seen the quality of RADIANT fluctuate throughout its run, this is the highest the series has gotten since it first began. Here’s hoping Valente has learned to not drown its characters in dialogue and get to the meat of the story from here on out!

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FINAL GRADE:

Promotional consideration provided by Erik Jansen of MediaLab PR

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