By Courtney Ryan. Lion Forge enters the world of superheroes swinging this Free Comic Book Day with Catalyst Prime: The Event. This one-off launches the publisher’s first superhero imprint, which is a tale of five astronauts who gain freakish powers after saving the planet from a near-asteroid collision. The inaugural issue will be followed by seven monthly releases, each forged by members of an elite cast of writers and artists, such as Joe Casey and Alex de Campi, who have made names at Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image, and other bright corners of the superheroverse.
For this introductory issue, Catalyst Prime’s senior editor Joe Illidge takes the reigns along with comic veteran Christopher Priest. It’s clear the two are angling for a broader story and they succeed in directing our attention to the heroes’ backstories as they sprinkle slices of information throughout the present action. It’s quite a hefty order to deliver so much content in under 30 pages, and the duo mostly pulls it off, but the vast amount of central characters and onslaught of crucial info does create some confusion.
Still, the heroes’ vignettes have potential to lead to great arcs once their narratives land on more pages. Throw in one hell of a cliffhanger and you’ve got yourself a strong series kick-off, plus a nice deal on Free Comic Book Day to boot.
Artists Marco Turini and Will Rosado help ease the rapid barrage of new characters by drawing uniquely expressive and relatable individuals. As with any maiden issue for a large series, we can only glimpse now at who will be developed in greater detail later, but there are enough core traits revealed here to be recognized when carried out by other artists. Meanwhile, Jessica Kholinne’s colors add a slightly overexposed, nostalgic feel that welcomes a mysterious and timeless aura to the panels.
Catalyst Prime: The Event is a captivating introduction to one of the most anticipated superhero imprints in years. Even when it stumbles slightly by being a bit overcrowded, it still generates intrigue and sets a heartening pace.
Written by Christopher Priest and Joseph Phillip Illidge.
Illustrated by Marco Turini and Will Rosado.
Colored by Jessica Kholinne.
Lettered by Andworld Design.
8 out of 10