Pullbox Reviews Catalyst Prime: Seven Days #2

DAY TWO: Noble is dead and the world has lost it’s brightest hero. Mass panic and confusion are spreading throughout the globe like wildfire and Lorena’s left to make sense of it all. Astrid wants vengeance for Noble, while Val struggles to live up to his status as the hero people needed. It’s only DAY TWO since their foe sentenced humanity to one week to live, but it already feels like a lifetime.

One of these days, the question “are we alone in the universe?” is gonna be answered with “of course not, but it’s cool… they’re all super chill.” This, however, is not that day.

All over the globe, looming humanoids of some gleaming black substance crashed down. For a time, they stood immobile, waiting for their purpose to be called into play, and that purpose came with the delivery of a message:

Get your affairs in order. You’ve got seven days.

Ominous enough on its own, the meaning behind the message was made clear when one of the onyx men was confronted by Earth’s mightiest and most beloved hero, Noble. In the blink of an eye, Noble was killed in front of his wife, Astrid, eye-witnesses on the scene, and countless billions as the event was broadcast worldwide. Day One… end scene.

On Day Two, the world is still reeling in shocked disbelief. If Noble could be so casually swatted aside, what hope did any of Earth’s remaining heroes have? In his last statement, Noble himself may have answered that question when rallying bystanders: “The only way we get through this is if every damn person on this rock is your family.”

Together. United we stand.

Like that other group of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, but different.

So I’m gonna start this review off with a confession. This has NOT been an easy write up to put together. Generally, that’s not a good thing at all because it usually means that I’m having to dig to cover the Good in a comic (think about it, have my tens of readers ever read a Bad review from me?). In this case, it’s the complete opposite, for within the pages of Catalyst Prime: Seven Days, there’s a LOT to talk about.

Still relatively new to the superhero comicbook genre, Lion Forge has put together a cohesive world as densely packed as anything else on the stands today. Their characters run the gamut from an astronaut who is the pinnacle of what defines the “superhero”, to a young man with Down Syndrome who understands better than anyone else what it means to actually be a superhero. At its core, the world of Catalyst Prime has been all about opening up the title of hero to as broad a spectrum of people as could be hoped for. The characters shaping this world are a shining example of what a group of creators can accomplish when they put their minds to it and open themselves to all possibilities. With Seven Days, Lion Forge is “getting the band together”, tying their cast of characters together in all of their ideological shades of gray.

To handle that kind of heavy lifting, there would have to be a writer who understands the delicate balance involved in bringing credibility to the incredible. Maybe someone who took a certain Merc with a Mouth as his title was doomed to cancelation, and turned him into a multiple-personalitied force to be reckonned with. Or perhaps a writer who turned a character who has been too often treated as a two-dimensional gender-swapped Conan (the barbarian, not the talk show host) into much more than trollop in a chainmail bikini (Red Sonja). Or even someone who’s dipped into the world of horror with her very own title (Clean Room) and managed to unsettle the most jaded & difficult to impress of readers (um… that’d be me). By now, you’ve gotta know who it is I’m talking about… Anyone who’s read any number of comics over the last few years is going to be familiar with Gail Simone and her body of work. If you’ve spent any time at all on Twitter, there’s a chance that you’ve seen Gail gleefully & ruthlessly trolling herself. Whatever it is you’ve seen her doing, I don’t really think there’s any doubt at all that Gail Simone did it with style, grace, & skill. Which is exactly the kind of aggressive confidence required to tackle a story like Seven Days.

Simone takes the globe-spanning story of Seven Days and breaks it down into its component parts. It’s a huge narrative, and will be told over the course of seven issues- that’s one day per issue, if you’re doing the math. Parts of the story are told through the eyes of internet vlogger Camila C., others from the perspective of teenaged New Orleans hero Quinton West (aka: Quincredible… given that name and the lack of masks being worn, I’m guessing that secret identities aren’t really going to play a huge role in the world of Catalyst Prime). No matter who it is we’re experiencing the story through, Simone has taken the time and spent the effort to craft and utilize every individual’s unique voice. It’s the only thing that could have made a title with this kind of scope possible, and it had to have been a huge undertaking to pull off. I hate to go to this particular well, but Gail Simone kinda made it look easy. I know that it wasn’t, but the mark of the true professional is to trick us all into believing that walking on water is totally doable.

Rock on, Gail.

So, who could possibly take this grand epic, world-ending story and bring it to life in pictures? I’m not gonna lie, when I saw Stjepan Sejic’s gorgeous work on the covers, I got a little giddy. Opening the pages to the glory within, I can’t say that I was the least bit disappointed when I realized that I was wrong. The team of José Luís (pencils), Jonas Trinidade (inks), and Michelle Madsen (colors) handled their business. In a shining example of what would happen if the Wonder Twins (or Triplets) got together and combined their powers to create a visually outstanding comicbook, these three have redefined “A-Game”. Now and then there’s a bit of a disconnect going from pencils to inks to colors, particularly when you’ve got this kind of division of labor. That has not been the case so far in this series, and certainly not in this issue. From every day citizens, to high flying heroes and alien menaces, Seven Days has all of the polish and appeal of any high profile title… and more talent than I’ve seen on some. Characters are all handled with an eye toward the individual, and the environments they inhabit (Texas, Mexico, New Orleans, & London) are all given their due. I’ve been to New Orleans, and I think I’ve been on the street where Quincredible faces off against the onyx alien monstrosity.

I’ve been over this book three times now, trying to find my “in” for writing this review, and I’m having a hard time coming up with a summation that doesn’t sound like I’m on the Lion Forge payroll (I know… a little late, right?). This is an outstanding title that should lead readers into a growing comicbook universe. The talented team involved has done the improbable, taking a massive concept and boiling it down to unique individual perspectives through which a story can be told. Sure, we may not have gotten the Simone/Sejic team up I’m still hoping for (look alive there, DC & Dark Horse), but what I did get is a trade paperback that I’m already looking forward to, in a binge-worthy story that has a lot of repeat appeal.

Even though at this point it’s kinda moot…

Final Score: 10+++

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