Lion Forge/Catalyst Prime 2018
Written by Rodney Barnes
Illustrated by Selina Espiritu
Coloured by Kelly Fitzpatrick
Lettered by AW’s Tom Napolitano
Quinton, a high school sophomore, is looking to live his best life by moonlighting as a superhero. The catch? His power is invulnerability--and that's the only power he has. Naturally, he does the thing any fifteen year old would do and sets out to save the day, but he's going to have to get creative if he's planning on taking on bad guys with only 120 pounds of power behind those fists.
I think that Lion Forge has literally struck gold with the Catalyst Prime line of books. They have managed to do something that no one had thought possible and created a superhero universe from the ground up full of interesting and diverse characters. There is no need for gender or race swapping. This is brilliantly done and it keeps expanding at a stellar rate. We aren’t bombarded with new books and characters, their releases are staggered and each one is able to stand on it’s own independently from the rest while still remaining a part of a larger universe.
I like Quinton he’s an affable fellow who is naturally too smart for his own good and has those awkward social skills that come with being an adolescent boy with raging hormones. From what I can determine he is freakishly smart and with his power I think it would be interesting to see him as this invulnerable Brainiac 5 character. He is working on a home security system for his house and at this age to be so well versed with computers, which isn’t exactly uncommon nowadays, he could with his intelligence create a suit that enhances his strength or just enough gadgets and gizmos to give him an edge in battle. Regardless the fact that my mind is running through scenarios here means that Rodney has introduced a character with unlimited potential.
The way the book is structured is well done and it’s nice to see that as the story meanders around we get this level of characterisation. It also introduces us to his home-town of New Orleans and those that could/will make up his supporting cast of characters and even a possible threat. Dr. King was an inspirational man who’s vision and dream of a better world was more universal. Dr. Davis on the other hand seems to talk to his followers urging them on through hatred and conspiracy theory which is what is all too common in today’s world, Rev. Sharpton is a great example. So I see so much here that can be expanded upon and educated with.
I do rather like the interiors here. The way that we see the linework here is fantastic as the varying weights are used to great very nice attention to detail and to fill up the panels extremely well. The way the linework is utilised to bring the characters to life with their faces, facial expressions and unique properties is exceptionally well done. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows off a lovely and solid eye for storytelling. The colours here as absolutely incredible as well, the way we see highlights and lowlights in the work, the gradation in places, like Dr. Davis hair with it’s black to white grey, makes moments stand out. Backgrounds are utilised well, I’d like to see fewer solid colour backgrounds but hey, to expand the story, moments and even show the size and scope of the city.
With brief interactions and guest cameo’s of other heroes that solidify this is a part of that universe it still manages to be more about influence than anything else. The dialogue throughout is stellar stuff that makes the reader think and try to expand their own mindset and accept that which we may not be fully familiar with. Quinton is an exceptional young man and his future is wide open to whatever he wants it to be. I look forward to seeing how this creative team navigates his life.