Review of “Summit” from Lion Forge Comic’s Catalyst Prime line.

This is the the Experience some. . .call Jason. Today I’ll be concluding my series on the Catalyst Prime universe. We’ll be talking about the first three issues of Summit. It’s the Seventh title in the line and launched in December.

The talent working on the book is Amy Chu and Jan Duursema on writing and art respectively.

Our story starts with Valentina Resnick-Baker sixty seconds before the event. In the cockpit of her ship she hears one of the other astronauts say they’ve lost Chess and it’s game over. Val asks for a minute and starts working on some paper. She comes up with a plan but as they approach the asteroid she looks up and says “that’s impossible” and we see an explosion.

A year later we find her in Tanzania climbing a mountain. The entire climb she’s having a conversation with voices in her head. Once she reaches the top we see two craters one rather large one and one more…person sized. This is where she landed after the event. Nude and unconscious without any sign of craft or chute. Men in a helicopter pick her, we see her at a Foresight facility being tested by doctors. Physically she’s fine and tells the doctor that she’ll tell him if she sees anything unusual. A voice calls her a liar and we see another of the astronauts sitting on the foot of her bed. In full space suit and with a sort of blue “force ghost” glow to him. He lets her know she’s about to have company.

Lorena enters Val’s room asking how she’s doing and talking about how the public is just dying to see her. To the public she’s the only survivor of the mission to the asteroid. Val is in no way ready for that. Lorena brings up the loss of someone named Kay and religion. going through the list of impossibilities around Val’s survival, things like not capsule no crash debris and her not having a scratch on her, saying it’s what “we Catholics call a miracle”. Her bodyguard/assistant tells her he’s late for her three o’clock and after tell Val to rest they leave. Val asks her doc if she can go and he tells her she only has an appointment with the psychologist left. She doesn’t seem to think that’s necessary saying everything’s fine. As she say this though we now see three spacesuit ghost standing in front of her.

 

We come back to her a standing on the mountain top in Tanzania as one of the ghost voices tells her to “stop reminiscing, it’s time to go back.” A helicopter lands and Lorena’s employee from earlier (the same powered employee we’ve seen with her in Noble if i’m not mistaken) gets out at tells her Lorena’s worried about her and offers her a ride since he’s heard the climb down is harder than up.

We time jump again. This time to a month after the event as Val is packing up her office and trying to quit. Lorena talks her out of it by giving her a year of paid leave to think about it. A year later we see her in Bend Oregon in a small house in the woods going over some kind of calculations and telling her cat that something is off with the data, that her calculations where spot on. I’m curious to see long term if this is the beginning of her figuring out Lorena tampered with the data about the asteroid’s flight path as we were sown in the Event one shot. A UPS truck pulls up unexpectedly and we see Val literally put her hands over her ears as the driver knocks and says part of the old kids chant about making the rain go away. Pretty sure at this point that Val’s got some issues. You know other than seeing space ghosts after falling from orbit. The package is a cell phone and a note saying that Lorena is worried please call her.

She flies down to Mexico City and we see and are told about how hard North America was hit by the meteor shower. Mexico City was especially hard hit but Lorena and Foresight have done a lot to rebuild it. She’s come to see Lorena because she’s been told it’s an emergency but it’s just a building dedication. We see a large Ice sculpture of the Astronauts that went on the mission to the asteroid.

At this point as I’m rereading the issue to write this, it hits me that some of the people she’s seeing are already accounted for in other books. There were five astronauts that went out and we’ve seen her see at least three at a time. But David is running around in Noble and Meath is in KINO. So any theory I had about it actually being ghost or her powers pulling them into her mind or some such just got blown out of the water. Our heroine may just be bat doop crazy. Or some other thing/person is messing with her.

But back to the party! The crowd is eating her up! We see flashes going off all around her people are trying to get selfies with her and she looks like she’s in her own personal hell. She starts walking away and when asked tells Lorena it’s vertigo and she needs some air. We then see her flee the building. During all this the ghost voices have been asking her why she’s here and asking if it’s building up in her again. She takes a cab and while in it gets a message from someone named JB that she hasn’t heard from in a while. It’s a headline about the death of two scientists in a plane crash. The picture also shows a daughter. We end issue one with her being dropped off in the dessert and apologizing to Kay because she can’t hold it any any longer. A huge spark of energy is forming over her heart and energy erupts out of her up in to the sky while the rocks and plants and chucks or earth float up around her. One of the ghost voices just says “I told you so.”

Issue two opens with a young girl hiding in the jungle from some armed men. They are standing around a plane crash counting bodies and noting they are one short. Where’s the little girl, Fiona. One man is convinced the body got ejected and they should just burn everything and get out but says orders are orders, No survivors. Though he can’t see how she could have survived. It’s getting dark and they’ll camp for the night and find the body in the morning.

We see Val as a young child in a montage running through school and ending with her ship exploding during the event. Basically she’s always wanted to be an astronaut. Back to today she’s still in the dessert expelling energy and thinking about the event changing her so she now holds the power of the stars.

Moving to the memorial service for the scientists in the crash we see Val talking with a woman named Helen as JB walks up. They are all former colleges of one another and we find out JB is Vals ex. Though the get along fine and Val even tells Helen that JB and Kay meet and got along fine. There’s some teasing of JB since he’s in a hawaiian shirt at a memorial and everyone seems to get along. JB didn’t know about Kay’s death until Val tells him. She died pulling people out of a collapsing school. Someone says they lost a lot of people that day. So this was likely the result of the Event meteor shower. During the service  Val see’s all four of the other astronauts and ask JB if he sees them. He tells her he’s worried about her and she tells him she has a secret to tell him but after the service.

Meanwhile in Peru Fiona is running through the jungle to get away from those men. She has her phone but no service. Remembering something her dad told her she starts to follow a stream.

Back in America Val tells JB what’s been going on over dinner and JB wants to take her to his new office and introduce her to Vera. Val wants to know if he’s dating someone or trying to Hook her up. When they get to his office Val points out that it’s his old office but he tells her she hasn’t seen his extension. Opening a closet door there is a long stairway leading down and he ask if she’s ready for the “Snoopy’s dog house tour”. Turns out he’s built a new lab in the basement of the university and Vera is a fusion reactor prototype. There’s a long bit her where they figure out how Val can release energy willingly and study what she’s doing and begin designing a suit to help her control it. Meanwhile Fiona is moving through the rainforest, climbing a tree at sunset. Checking her phone the battery’s about dead.

The book ends with Val working on her suit design when she hears a ghost voice calling her name she looks over and sees Fiona’s parents just as a text message arrives. It’s Fiona asking for help.

The first half of issue three is Val, JB and a squad of other folks at the university talking about the Text and how they can’t get anyone to take it serious. They test the suit for bit and then Val heads down to Peru.

The second half is a bit more action than we’ve seen from the series so far. When she finds the airplane another ghost points out that the scorch marks on the the plane would indicate that it was shot down. She gets jumped by one of the mercs but makes short work of him. Only to get hit with a large rock and knocked down by Fiona. She’s apparently been “homealoneing” it in the woods.

 

She tells Val about the plane crash and what’s been going on since. She can’t understand what the men have been saying since their speaking Spanish but they do keep saying “Foresight” in English. The book ends with them being surprised by the rest of the mercs.

Overall I’d say Summit is in my top three for the series so far. The art is great the stories grabbing me and while the first two issues are kind of a slow burn three starts to make up for it with some action and four promises to continue that. As far as I know Summit is the last book of Catalyst’s “starting lineup”. I’m sure it the line does well more will be coming. I find it neat that they start with one of the astronauts in Noble and end with another in Summit. It’s a nice bookend effect.

 

I was a little concerned reading a comment from the writer about how much diversity was packed into this one character. Agnostic, Woman, Jewish, multiple PHD etc. I was afraid it was going to be message porn and beat the reader over the head with it’s message to the detriment of the story. Something I’ve run into reading Superhero and Sci/fi novels more than a few times. Chu doesn’t do this though she’s just telling a story and these are just some traits of the protagonist. You find them out in conversation and it’s all very natural and if I hadn’t seen that comment I wouldn’t have ever thought anything about it. It’s just here’s this person here’s what’s happened to her and look as she runs off on this adventure. Chu has created a very diverse character that will appeal to several groups of people marginalized in mainstream comics and does it in a way that feels completely organic. I’d highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a new superhero to read.

 

This wraps up my review series on the Catalyst Prime line from Lion Forge. Over all I think it’s a strong offering from an independent company and I really hope I’m reading about these characters for years to come.

 

Thanks for joining me and I hope you enjoyed this and give these books a try!

 

-Jason

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