Forging the Future with Catalyst Prime

Superhero universes seem to be what is popular these days. Marvel and DC started that tradition in the golden and silver age, but I’ve found more and more that fans are receptive to worlds of characters over multiple comic titles interacting, rather than closing everyone off. Valiant is doing amazing things right now. IDW does Hasbro properties. Dark Horse has all things Mignola and BPRD. Chapterhouse. Archie. Zenescope. Danger Zone. There is clearly a market for it because people are buying it.
.
Well you better find room in your budget and your pull list because Lion Forge’s series of Catalyst Prime titles deserve a spot in this evolving comic atmosphere.
.
They did something brilliant this year by premiering Catalyst Prime on Free Comic Book Day 2017 with only one title available on shelves that debuted the same week. This way, there was zero commitment from readers to invest money in a new property, yet the quality of the work speaks for itself in gaining fans. In short, the premise begins with “The Event”, written by Priest and Senior Editor Joseph P. Illidge, in which a meteor hurtling toward Earth is shattered by a group of astronauts who seemingly die in the process. Meteorites shower the planet, some of which cause some serious damage while others don’t do much at all. However, the cosmic impact has created a variety of superpowered human beings who are now seen as a threat to mankind. That was a year ago and times, they are a changin’.
.
Now, there are three titles in this world of Catalyst Prime and there is fourth premiering this week. All are unique and exciting and aim to appeal to a broad range of interests thanks to its diversity in characters and style.
.
First, we are introduced to David Powell in NOBLE which is now on issue #4. He was one of the five-member crew sent into space by the Foresight Corporation that stopped the destruction of the planet, but now he has awoken with no memory and powerful telekinetic abilities. He’s alone and on the run from those trying to stop him while his wife is on a mission to find him, even though the world believes him dead. It’s a cool story by Brandon Thomas accompanied by the art stylings of Roger Robinson that I think was the right choice to kick things off. If you are up to date, you will see that the flashes shown in “The Event” have now caught up in the main title and we can finally move forward. Oh, and I forgot to mention… David Powell is a black man. Lion Forge made a statement by placing a person of color as the tent pole of a comic universe and shows their dedication to appealing to all people, not just white men.
.
Next, there is ACCELL a.k.a. Daniel Dos Santos, a 20-year-old latino living in Los Angeles who retrieved a marble-sized chunk of meteor that gives him incredible abilities that include super speed, accelerated healing and temporary invulnerability. He confides in his girlfriend who thinks it is exciting yet dangerous, but her rich father is out to destroy Daniel for reasons that extend beyond just dating his daughter. This title has a hyper-stylized look to it, especially in issues two and three, in which he fights monsters in the desert and must use his speed in new ways. The art by Damion Scott and Robert Campanella, as well as the colors of Sigmund Torre, make this the most visually stunning of the titles because it deals with bending the laws of physics in ways the other titles do not. Plus, Joe Casey writes this, so huge thumbs up from me since I’ve already read some of his work on X-Men.
.
Then, readers are treated to one of the first superheroes with Down Syndrome in SUPERB. Jonah is a high school student near a prominent blast area in Ohio who dresses up as “Cosmosis” to fight crime and save people with his multi-purpose laser vision and enhanced physical abilities. When a girl is abducted from school by the Foresight Company, he takes it upon himself to rescue her, even though there is very little in terms of planning ahead. He’s in over his head and must depend on his former best friend whose family moved back to Youngstown for their work with Foresight. She is an average black girl who has a strong sense of justice and whole-heartedly protects Jonah from her family’s employer, and some would argue she exhibits her own superhuman qualities. While the intent of having Jonah be affected by Down Syndrome is clear, it is not explicitly mentioned by writers David Walker and Sheena Howard, nor do artists Ray-Anthony Height and LeBeau Underwood make a joke out of it, instead allowing Jonah’s characteristics to be subtle. His intelligence and love of comics fall under attack by school bullies, which is an important situation to discuss despite its upsetting nature. Jonah is a great character that is long overdue. I love SUPERB!
.
And now, today, you can pick up the first issue of INCIDENTALS which is the first team book of Catalyst Prime. Another comic by Joe Casey, this story gathers several people (who were visiting the beach when they were affected by the Event) in an effort to help those hunted by Foresight. “Nuke” can psionically emit microwaves, Vanessa is a ninja, and Taylor opens up portals in an attempt to recruit others. This issue has them trying to find a girl who projects light offensively, but to no avail. There are several more characters that see some development, but their identities aren’t entirely fleshed out in this issue so I look forward to clarity in the near future. Why does Alex seek revenge? What can Shannon “see”? How do Mister Chen’s dreams work and why does he share his findings with Marko the teleporter? There are many moving parts in this comic drawn by Larry Stroman and I am unsure how to interpret them all right now, but at least the world-building is immersive and leaves the reader wanting more.
 .
When asked for a statement by Joseph Illidge, he had this to say regarding his approach to Catalyst Prime: “Diversity and inclusion are part of the true variety of our world, so having a group of creators from different backgrounds and lifestyles create a superhero science fiction universe of characters and stories reflecting that variety is natural, and quite frankly, makes perfect sense.”
.
So, to recap: Catalyst Prime includes a team of diverse beach goers with abilities, a costumed kid with DS and his upstanding friend, a Hispanic speedster leaving the competition in his dust, and an African-American with mental powers on the run in Mexico. And it all gets caused by a cosmic event that centers around the Foresight Company. Now, I don’t know about you, but this looks like a recipe for some serious superheroics by the time October rolls out Phase Two with titles like Astonisher, Kino, and Summit. Age, ethnicity, and gender is all varied for the equal enjoyment of all and I’d bet the LGBT community will be addressed directly in upcoming issues, if not already and I just missed it. If inclusivity is the benchmark, then Lion Forge is exceeding expectations with Catalyst Prime. Either way, these books provide the next big thing in superhero comics with action, story, and personality that I highly recommend!
 .
Be sure to pick up INCIDENTALS #1 on 8/23/17, as well as the newest issues of NOBLE, ACCELL, and SUPERB! If you don’t, you are missing out!
107 More posts in Columns category
Recommended for you
Microsoft, Disney, and Asian Games Get In On eSports Action

The world of eSports is quickly dominating the world and big names like Microsoft and...