Catalyst-Prime: Seven Days #1 Review
Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: Jose Luis
Inker: Jonas Trinidade
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Saida Temofonte
Cover Artist: Stjepan Sejic
Variant Cover Artists: Ashley Witter, Bill Sienkiewicz
Summary with limited spoilers
The comic opens in Chiapas, Mexico, with renowned businesswoman Lorena Payan consulting a psychologist specializing in mass proximity psychosis, as her company, Foresight, has found something disturbing. Crashed nearby is a strange, smooth metal man. Payan chooses to refer to this being an “Obsidian Man”, Payan believes the man comes from the same place as the asteroid which nearly destroyed the planet two years prior, the remnants giving certain individuals superpowers. She is predicting that whoever or whatever is responsible for the man and the asteroid, is coming back, and needs to know how the entire world will handle post-traumatic stress disorder…
Opinions on story and art
This is an absolutely GORGEOUS first issue of what is Catalyst-Prime’s first event comic. And writer Gail Simone absolutely delivers on beginning a truly unique, enthralling crisis. Taking the concept of the asteroid strike that began this superhero line (Catalyst Prime: The Event #1), ane expanding upon it to such a bigger scope is a stroke of brilliance, as is putting the entire Earth in a week-long near-death state.
Gail Simone captures the charm and depths of a lot of the pre-existing characters of the Catalyst-Prime universe very effectively. Such as the loving, quirky relationship between superhero Noble, aka David Powell, and his equally heroic wife, Astrid. Or the more youthful, eager attitude of superspeedster Accell (Daniel Dos Santos), and the cool, calculated confidence of Lorena Payan. All while introducing a few new characters, such as vlogger/would-be reporter Camila C. The cast is full of relatable, complex characters that feel so real they almost breathe. The plot itself is very effective, especially with the use of the opening with Lorena and the psychologist, capturing the impending terror the whole planet will soon face in miniature, with the doctor’s slow breakdown and despair over learning about the pending invasion. It’s masterfully done.
Jose Luis, Jonas Trinidade, Michelle Madsen together craft some of the best visuals of any Catalyst-Prime title published thus far (with only Jan Duurasema’s art in The Summit being its equal in my mind)! The art captures all three key aspects of comic storytelling, varied, distinct foreground and background characters, clear diverse expressions, and backgrounds & props all near flawlessly. Once again I must highlight how effective the opening of this comic is, with the art-team perfectly capturing the psychologist’s complete breakdown over the news of what’s to come, all done almost panel-to-panel, all while Lorena retains her outward confident poise. It’s truly remarkable to behold. The wide array of body types in crowd shots is also something I commend, as the people panicking as more Obsidian men arrive all look like unique individuals and not just a large vaguely people-shaped blob or the same three people traced & copped several times over. Special credit must go to Trinidade’s wonderful inks, capturing the layers of Lorena’s hair, the smoothness of the Obsidian men, and Astrid’s jeans, all very clearly and precisely. If I have any minor nitpicks, it’s that in close-ups, a lot of the women look similarly well-endowed.