Free Comic Book Day this year put over 50 free issues out into the public sphere. From publisher Lion Forge came Catalyst Prime: The Event, a one-shot prequel to each #1 in their new Catalyst Prime universe.
Earlier this week, the universe started with #1 of Noble, which I also reviewed with great praise. That said, I’m even more excited by this issue! Introducing us to the other people caught up in ‘the Event’ — the destruction of a giant meteor headed for Earth — Catalyst Prime: The Event builds up the world hinted at in Noble #1.
As a reader who mostly tends to keep to the Big Two, I loved the wide-ranging ideas of diversity put forward here by Lion Forge. In an early scene in the issue, two characters are talking about the space ship they’re on. One of them says, “You’re sitting in the most advanced flying machine ever built by the hand of man.” Another interjects, “Or woman. Or nonbinary.”
I have never seen the word nonbinary in a ‘mainstream’ comic before.
This commitment to diversity reflects throughout the story, with the most powerful woman in the world being a Mexican woman whose father immigrated to the U.S. to build a better life for their family, and three of the five astronauts sent to blow up the meteor being people of color.
Artistically, Marco Turini, Will Rosado, and colorist Jessica Kholinne, create a warm, comfortable visual tone for the story. Lorena Payan, the Mexican woman I mentioned before, wears a striking green suit during the final scene in the issue, but she also wears sweats in another scene. That final scene, visually, actually is probably the most impressive, though rather violent.
I really enjoyed the way this comic makes no apologies for what it is: it’s a classic superhero setup story, populated by people that maybe don’t usually get to be in those stories. The villain, especially, has all of my favorite villainous qualities, while being from a demographic that doesn’t usually get to be that kind of villain. I won’t spoil it for you — the villain reveal was my favorite part of the comic, and I’d hate to ruin it for you.
Overall, my verdict for this is the same as my verdict for Noble #1 — get in on the ground floor! Catalyst Prime looks like it will be exactly the kind of superhero line that the genre needs desperately right now. I personally can’t wait to see where this goes, and what other kinds of choices Priest, Illidge and the rest of the Catalyst Prime writers will make in the coming months.