CATALYST PRIME: SEVEN DAYS #1 / Writer: Gail Simone / Pencils: Jose Luis / Inks: Jonas Trinidade / Colors: Michelle Madsen / Letters: Saida Temofonte / Publisher: Lion Forge comics / Publish date: October 2, 2019
Seven Days Left
Two years ago, an asteroid was in line to destroy the earth. Five heroes went to stop the asteroid and those who survived were infected or enhanced, as were others on Earth. Now, Lorena Payan, the CEO of the largest tech company on the planet, has brought Dr. Scarlet to her office to field one question, what would be the psychological damage if this event were to happen again.
A vlogger, Camilla, and her roommate, Tori, run to the scene of a mysterious landing and come upon the enhanced humans looking over what seems like an alien entity. When all hell breaks loose, the enhanced individuals try to protect the world as they did last time. Tori catches it all on film, hope and then devastation of the human spirit. The alien entities are swift: they give the Earth’s population seven days.
This story by Gail Simone is gripping. Although the beginning has a lot of backstory, it is crucial to create a sense of urgency and tension. The focus on the human psyche is an interesting topic that many superhero books overlook. We see how powered people get through the day but forget the people they are saving. People in traumatic situations react in a multitude of ways. Simone looks at how these powered beings, Noble in particular, can motivate the average human to act as a hero. She also shows what it looks like when that motivation ends.
Readers will connect with Tori, an average human, as she is like one of us taking in these superpowered humans. We also feel the stress of Dr. Scarlet when she recognizes the catastrophe that could happen again and the impact it would have on humanity’s psyche, including her own. Simone also makes her superheroes accessible and likable. They were everyday humans who were “infected” and took it upon themselves to protect others, even treat others as family. The characters feel well rounded, connected, and deserving of admiration. The interactions with each other as well as with ordinary people give the reader a great look at the personalities encompassed.
The art team of Jose Luis and Jonas Trinidade makes Seven Days gorgeous to behold. Each character’s face is expressive, diverse, and interesting. They create movement within their panels that is engaging and fun, particularly the enhanced human Accell’s fast speed reads well from panel to panel. Even the media taking pictures of our heroes is well depicted and can be easily connected to our reality. The real strength is showing that pain and psychological break of humanity through the action sequence. They make you feel the pain of death, high stakes, and fear that only their shiny villains can bring.
Michelle Madsen does a great job of coloring the book. The villains seem sleek, smooth, and shiny until they are activated. I did find it interesting that these alien entities were the same color as Noble’s fists, but maybe that was a link she was trying to make. Other than that, the characters are shaded in a diverse color pallet. The color of the backdrop of certain panels accentuates the emotions of the characters well. Saida Temofonte’s letters are well done, especially the hero introductions. Not only are they pretty in their golden shade, they let the reader know the character is special, even if they are not powered.
Seven Days and Seven Issues
Overall, Catalyst Prime: Seven Days is an exciting new book of which this team should be very proud. The perspective feels fresh and necessary in today’s world. An afterword by David Steward II tells us that Lion Forge is about diversity, and they have absolutely achieved that in this book. Having Gail Simone write this book furthers that mission, as she has a knack for creating diverse characters without drawing attention to it. It’s natural, as it should be. Although the art is great, Simone’s story and world building capacity are the appeal here. She tells a story like very few can, and I feel that this story is not to be missed. Seven issues to represent Seven Days. I won’t be missing any!
Verdict: 5 out of 5