DC Comics and Marvel aren’t the only publishers creating superhero content anymore. This is all thanks to independent publishers like Lion Forge’s Catalyst Prime. By creating a new outlet for the genre, readers can now walk into any comic book shop and have options.
Each independent publisher comes with different perspectives and redefines what it takes to be a hero. Some publishers go as far as adding real-world aspects to its characters, writing, and artwork.
Shifting Away From “The Big Two”
Superheroes have become a part of pop culture (thanks to the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe). Therefore, publishers find creating content based on superheroes as a surefire way to sell issues. Especially after a group of former DC and Marvel Comics writers/artists decided to form a publishing company of their own.
Known as Image Comics, this independent company gave creators freedom to create whatever their hearts desired. Including two successful superhero publications known as Spawn and Young Blood. For the first time, readers now had other options besides the “Big Two.” Other publishers noticed the shared-superhero-universe trend and decided to capitalize on it.
Catalyst Prime takes place in a world where a catastrophic event results in certain individuals gaining superpowers, launching the heroes’ age. Coined as “a superhero universe for everyone,” this universe expands into eight ongoing series full of solo epics, dynamic duos, and awe-inspiring team-ups. Each one well diverse, uniquely illustrated, and written to represent a real-world atmosphere.
It all begins with the discovery of an asteroid on a collision course straight for Earth. Upon this discovery, a company named “Foresight” decides to assemble a team of brave and intelligent individuals. These people are Valentina, David, Jamila, Alistair, & Xiao-Han. Their task is to carry out a suicide mission known as “Project Icarus.”
Their goal is to launch a nuclear missile at the giant space rock. In hopes, the asteroid will break into something the Earth can survive. The mission succeeds but comes at a cost. The resulting impacts of the (now) meteor shower cause millions of deaths. People assume even the Icarus crew died.
That is, until the CEO of Foresight, Lorena Payan, discovers the Icarus crew alive. Affected by the asteroid’s radiation, the crew, along with anyone with prolonged exposure to the fragments, gained unique abilities. These abilities ranged from kinetic manipulation to plasma fusion and much more. This leaves Lorena to capitalize on a new arms race.
She also performs recruitment missions for pilots and anyone affected. Eventually, readers find out that Foresight plays a bigger role in this world than one might think. Literally being the common link between every story in this universe.
The Must-Read Heroes Of This World
Of the eight ongoing series in the Catalyst Prime universe, three stand out the most. They help build this new shared world and create some new fan favorites along the way. These three heroes are Noble, Summit, and Accell.
Catalyst Prime Presents: Noble
David Powell is the first of the survivors recovered from the Icarus mission. His rescue stayed under wraps from the media, government, and his own family. Due to his amnesia, he cannot remember anything from his previous life. The only reason he survived in the first place was through his newfound ability.
David has the ability to manipulate the kinetic energy around him. This grants him enhanced strength, telekinesis, and flight. The only downside is his amnesia. His memories only return in waves when exposed to something familiar. If he gets a surge of too many memories at once, he suffers a mental breakdown.
These breakdowns cause him to lose complete control of his powers and mind. Without knowledge of this side effect, David manages to escape Foresight’s captivity in efforts to reclaim his identity. This is when David’s wife, Astrid, believes her husband is still alive. (Due to an altercation of an enhanced individual wearing a mask making the news.)
Believing the masked man is her husband, she takes off to reunite her family. Astrid tracks down the woman she worked side by side with at Foresight, the CEO Lorena Payan herself. She discovers Lorena’s plans for David, making him the symbol of hope in a world desperately needing one.
Confused as to why Lorena didn’t reunite the couple sooner, they discovered that David had an incident where he remembered too much. This resulted in him losing control and performing the least noble act possible. Now David must overcome the knowledge of this event, Foresight and his family’s expectations, and control his newfound limitless power. All this occurs in an epic origin story to become Noble: the hero this world so desperately needs.
Catalyst Prime Presents: Summit
Another survivor and chief strategist, Valentina Resnick-Baker, becomes the “only known” survivor of the Icarus mission. Lorena was a big supporter of Valentina’s rise to the spotlight. She helps her overcome the fame of being named a hero as Valentina feels guilty for being the “sole survivor.” She carries so much guilt that she sees ghosts of her former crew.
These ghosts haunted Valentina, causing her to build up emotions. They were pent-up until she could not hold them in any longer. However, instead of exploding with rage, she released a burst of energy unlike anything at that point.
This causes Valentina to return back to her alma mater, MIT, (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in search of answers. Little to her surprise, she ends up running into her ex J.B., who assembles a team to diagnose her. The short answer is that she has plasma fusion abilities. These abilities allow her to create and manipulate energy.
In light of this discovery, J.B. and his team convinced Valentina to stick around, claiming her abilities can be used for good. This leads to her accepting a full-time faculty position at MIT, all while moonlighting as a superhero named Summit. Eventually, she finds out Foresight is not as high and mighty a company as it claims to be.
Catalyst Prime Presents: Accell
Born on the streets of Los Angeles, the party boy/gamer Daniel DosSantos found and kept a piece of the asteroid as a souvenir. Little did he know that sleeping next to the strange rock would grant him super speed. As a result, Daniel created a super suit and named himself Accell. Now, as a kid with a lack of responsibility, he must learn quickly to underatand what it takes to be a hero.
To make matters worse, Daniel’s girlfriend’s father is out to end him. Due to Daniel’s lack of potential, her father believes she deserves better. He hires super-villains of his own to take Daniel out. Along with these obstacles, there are also other villains threatening Los Angeles. This creates Daniel’s need to protect his city and the ones he loves while avoiding going past his limits. Because when he does, he puts his own health at risk and even warps reality around him. He literally bends the laws of physics.
Furthermore, this series covers theoretical topics of what would happen if an individual became a speedster. The most noteworthy being Daniel moves so fast, the rest of the world slows down around him. This causes him to shift his perspective to a new reality. Also, when he runs fast enough, Daniel can literally warp reality around him, resulting in a distorted world. He does this to the point where he gets put into the hospital for pushing himself past his limits. Eventually, Foresight approaches Daniel with a proposal to train him to become a hero.
This Universe Is Still Fairly New
There are many other exciting series showcasing spectacular heroes in the Catalyst Prime Universe. Examples would include: Astonisher, Incidentals, Kino, Superb, and Quincredible (coming out soon). Each one helps build this incredible world in the age of heroes. Catalyst Prime could possibly give a better representation of our world than even DC and Marvel. This occurs through their diversity, writing, and unique illustration styles.
These heroes’ stories are all still relatively new, with each series under 15 issues out at the moment. There is no better time to dive into the intriguing world of Catalyst Prime. With a new series on the way and the hinting of a crossover on the horizon, Catalyst Prime may have what it takes to stick around for a long time.