Review - Catalyst Prime Astonisher #1 (@lionforge)

Meteor hits are fairly inevitable considering Earth is in space and all. Most of those impacts are fairly innocuous, but there are the occasional few that land and imbue some of Earth's inhabitants with superpowers. That's the premise behind Catalyst Prime Astonisher #1 from Lion Forge Comics. The issue is written by Alex de Campi, illustrated by Pop Mhan, colored by Jessica Kholinne and lettered by Tom Napolitano.

The most dangerous corners of the universe live inside the nightmares of super-powered people. Magnus Atitarn, heir to the Atitarn Satellite Corp., tried to save the world with his experimental one-man spaceship -- and ended up a broken man. Now a celebrity joke suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Magnus has the power to travel inside the mind of super-powered people, where he discovers nightmares which threaten the entire human race.

The premise of Catalyst Prime Astonisher #1 affords de Campi a chance to really delve into some rather interesting issues. The lead character Magnus is pitched as something of an arrogant bro attempting to pick up the pieces after a very bad business decision. de Campi also manages to work in some deeper issues as well, most of which surround the concept of PTSD and its aftermath. The dialogue lends itself well to characterizing Magnus while at the same time setting the table for the plot as a whole and de Campi doesn't rush things. Admittedly, the first issue seems to start off somewhat slow and vague, but by the end of the issue the premise of the story comes more into focus.

Mhan's illustrations rely on pretty sharp linework. The characters are illustrated with looks that make them feel more realistic and helps to ground the work in a sense of reality. The way that Mhan renders the facial expressions of the character is very expressive, further bringing the reader into their world. Stacked panels make way for some that overlay one another and the black borders (and gutters in some places) really frame the action very well. Kholinne's colors are muted throughout the issue in a way that seems to embrace the darkness inherent in many of the players involved.

At its heart, Catalyst Prime Astonisher #1 is very much a superhero origin story. Magnus is a man struggling to find himself after a terrible incident and what he finds is that he can be more. de Campi's story is a slow-burn that builds up to an interesting premise by the end. The artwork by Mhan is a great fit for the tale as it does a great job of showcasing the action. Catalyst Prime Astonisher #1 is a pretty fun origin issue that offers a slight twist on the birth of a superhero.

Catalyst Prime Astonisher #1 is available now.