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

Greetings Geeks, Nerds and Comic lovers!

This is the the Experience some. . .call Jason. Today I’m continuing my series of reviews on Lion Forge’s Catalyst Prime universe. Today we’ll be covering the first four issues of Superb, the Third title in the line. It launched in July and as of this writing is on issue Six.

The talent behind Superb is Sheena C. Howard & David F. Walker on writing, Ray-Anthony Height is on penciling and Le Beau C. Underwood on ink. Issues three also featured Alitha Martinez helping on Pencils and ink and Eric Battle did the same in issue four.

Panel one of issue one we see one of our main heroes holding a car up with one hand and offering his other hand to a lady coming out of a wrecked car. He’s telling her “don’t worry I can save you.” The top of the panel has a banner identifying the place as Youngstown, Ohio one year after the Event. Next the scene pulls back and we see kids on the school bus are watching what happened on their phone and talking about it. Some don’t be believe it’s real. One, Chet starts making fun of the idea of someone dressing up like that. His mockery then turns to another student who’s been reading a comic. The girl sitting in front of him comes to his rescue and winds up pushing Chet into a second girl on the bus.

This introduces us to Jonah a High school student with downs syndrome, Kayla Jonah’s neighbor and best friend in elementary before she moved off and Corinna who… is wearing a green jacket and is a bit of a smart ass to Chet when he lands on her. She gets fleshed out later but in this opening scene she’s really just there so you’ll recognize her in the next bit. The bus driver yells at them, if their going to fight he want them doing it off the bus where it’ll be somebody else’s problem.

Walking through the door to the school involves what looks like a large metal detector but it’s manned by guys in S.W.A.T. team armor. Jonah and Karla have been having a conversation Jonah isn’t sure their really still friends since she moved back and she’s complaining about how bad the town and her life suck. Chet walks through the detector and the green light lights up. Corinna is following and the red light goes off and the Swat guys jump her and drag her off while she’s screaming about not being enhanced. The scene really makes you wonder where the ACLU is in this world.

Jonah’s not happy about it and while Kayla tells him it’s the law, she doesn’t look pleased either. Cut to them in class and you have a teacher rationalizing what happened and trying to make it sound like it’s good for everybody. Chet pipes up with the fact that he’s glad the freaks get locked up, causing Kayla to to call him a jerk. He responds with the fact that she hadn’t moved back to town when it happened and we have a flashback to a few months before the story opens to a student who’s powers startup out of control and basically explodes out of him. Wreaking part of the school and killing students.  I guess that does explain some of the over reaction.

We then see some of both Jonah and Kayla’s home life meet their parents. See what issues their dealing with at home before we’re introduced to a Mr. Gomez who works for Foresight the company owned by Lorena Payan. He’s talking to some doctors as they all watch Corinna strapped down to a bed. Their discussing the fact that Corinna hasn’t missed any screenings but somehow their equipment only just now detected her. Their also concerned that she was so close to “critical” when they did find her. He makes it clear he needs to find all the enhanced but doesn’t’ go into why.

Someone in what looks like a security outfit pulls him to the side. They go into a room where they have a pin board with sightings of “Cosmosis” a comic book hero in the setting but also what the hero from page one is calling himself and dressing up as. They believe it’s a high schooler and as they talk about him you see Cosmosis suiting up and even infiltrating their facility.

The issue end with a running fight between him and security. Mr. Gomez is actually happy about things as this means they don’t have to hunt him down he came to them. As they watch Cosmosis tear through the guards they note he seems to have some kind of Telekinetic ability. Not sure if that’s what he’s actually using or not. He does a lot of the same things we’ve seen Noble do such as super leaping, super strength but the beams coming from his eyes are sometimes different colors and seem to do different things. Of course this is just Gomez and his head of security spit-balling as they watch. After it’s noted that the security can’t get close to him Gomez orders a squad to be armed with tranqs to take him down at a distance. The last panel is Cosmosis rounding a corner and confronting the guards with tranquilizers.

So issue one introduces us to a fair number of characters who are all going to be important as the story progresses. Most of them are likable other than Chet who’s not suppose to be. We’re shown a slightly different setting and situation than we’ve seen so far from the world. In Accell nobody really freaks out about a super fast hero running around, not on a large scale at least. In this town though it’s like Foresight runs things and everything has a X-men the world’s out to get us vibe to it. In later issues we find out that an unusual amount of fragments from the event landed here and the town has a large percentage of people affected. Mostly young people.

I should note here that the writers have been consulting the NDSS (National Down Syndrome Society) to make sure they’re depicting Jonah’s condition accurately.

Issue two starts up with Cosmosis quickly taking out the tranq armed security that we saw in the first issue. He flees into a restricted area, seeing this Gomez orders “omega” be brought from the weapons vault. In the restricted area Cosmosis finds body’s and body parts in boxes. The room doesn’t seem to be refrigerated in anyway. Gomez confronts him their talking about how he wants to work with him, how the town is in imminent danger. When Cosmosis says “I’m not telling you anything” Gomez responds by pulling what looks like a large handgun “Alright then.  I’ll explain everything later.” He gets punched the guards with him get blasted and Cosmosis flees the facility but not before taking a dart to the shoulder. It doesn’t stop him from leaping the ten to fifteen foot fence again  and getting away.

From that action packed beginning we jump to Kayla recording a podcast about Cosmosis sightings and other conspiracy stuff. Her father steps in and tells her he and her mother have been called into work. They of course work for Foresight. She goes back to her recording until she hears a noise outside. She sees something out her window and rushes out. Cosmosis is flat on his back in the yard. He tells her to get him inside she says ok but seems less than that certain. When she kneels over him she pulls his goggles off and realizes it’s Jonah in the costume.

He tells her he was hit with a dart and that it’s not safe outside she needs to get him in. She says she’ll pick him up. When warned that he’s kind of heavy she tells him it’s ok she’s got this and proceeded to pick him up and carry him into his house up the stairs and in to his room with no noticeable effort. Nope nothing suspicious or foreshadowy there!

While questioning him in his room she sees Foresight troops searching the neighborhood. They stop at her house but when they scan the door they see that the house is off limits as it’s the home of high ranking Foresight employees. The issue ends with them barging in to Jonah’s house and telling his father they have to search because they believe an enhanced kid is housed in the vicinity.

Issue three starts with Foresight troops heading up stairs only to stop as Jonah’s father explains that his son can’t be enhance as he has downs syndrome. The foresight docs had checked Jonah out and said it was impossible for him to be enhanced because of “something to do with Chromosome 21”. Then plucks at their heart strings telling them about Jonah’s mother who was a first responder and died the day of the event. They check out his story with Central Command and leave. This is yet another time Foresight hasn’t known as much about the enhanced as they seem to think they know.

Going from Jonah’s house back to Foresight we see Gomez talking to the head of security and the two doctors from issue one. Corinna is being trained and it’s going well. They’ve also planted a tracker on her and the other kids their training. Gomez then starts discussing the fact that their boss (Lorena Payan) can not know that their training a militia force with the enhanced. Or they are “literally dead”. Seems Gomez has a good read on his boss. It also sounds like he’s possibly opposed to her. He’s mentioned some kind of imminent take over. Could be that he’s putting together a team to oppose her. Much like Lorena herself you not sure if Gomez is a good guy going about things in a questionable manner or if he’s the bad guy.

After everything has quieted down Jonah wants Kayla to take him to Abbie. She’s apparently his best friend since Kayla move away. On the way there he tells Kayla that Abbie makes him gadgets like Cosmosis uses in the comics. She also made his costume. He also refers to her as his crime fighting partner.

They meet up in Abbie’s shed behind her home. Abbie is glad to see Jonah since she’d heard they where looking for Cosmosis. She is not happy that he brought a stranger with him. They catch Abbie up on what’s going on she and Kayla don’t get along the best in the world. While Jonah and Abbie are all for heading right out to Foresight Kayla talks them in to waiting at least until they have a plan Abbie does some name calling and they argue until Jonah snaps and goes off. He declares that they’ll meet up again the next night.

The next morning Kayla’s parent are in deep discussion on what they should and shouldn’t tell Gomez. Gomez knows they’ve figured out why the bodies of people affected my the meteors don’t decompose. They are debating telling him that they can make Humans that don’t decompose. I’m not sure what the significance of not decomposing humans is but I bet it will be important later. Kayla comes down and talk switches to small talk she tells them she and Jonah are walking to school since bullies on the bus are bothering him.

She goes to Jonah’s talks to his dad and they start to walk to school. Only to wind up in the middle of a high speed chase as a family is trying to leave town and being chased by Foresight in some sort of armored vehicle. The family car swerves to miss them but the armored vehicle is headed straight for Jonah. Kayla pushes him out of the way and braces up as the vehicle plows into her. Plows in to her and folds around her like a speeding sports car around a tree. The issue ends with her standing in front of the ruined vehicle unharmed but also not surprised. Her only response is “well crap”.

Issue four is titled “No More Secrets” but could just as easily been called “$#@& Hits the Fan”. We pick up back in Kayla’s kitchen with her parents still fussing about what to tell Gomez and the mom a little salty at her husband that their in this town still working for Foresight. She feels they’ve endangered themselves and Kayla. They talk a bit and we see Abbie working in her lab she doesn’t say anything but we see her react strongly to something coming from a radio.

Cutting back to Kayla and Jonah, Jonah has slipped off to suit up while Kayla tries to talk her way out of what just happened. The Foresight troops aren’t having it they don’t just start to immediately shoot her but guns are out.

They get her cuffed they get the family that was trying to escape. He cuffs last for about two seconds. She’s decided enough’s enough snaps the cuffs like they’re dollar store toy cuffs and her and Jonah who jumps into the fray now as Cosmosis start putting heads to bed. Switching to Abbie we see her suiting up and listening to the Foresight radio chatter.

Cosmosis and Kayla are doing well in their fight but the troops just keep coming when they see the family loaded into a helicopter they realize they need to get away.Enter Abbie in a souped up muscle car! Kayla is hesitant to get in at first, since she doesn’t recognize Abbie in the skullish looking mask. At Jonah’s urging thought they jump in and make a get away.  

Now we see Gomez has been watching the fight and they’ve I.D. Kayla. We also see one of the troops finding Jonah’s backpack. Next page is the parents being picked up by Foresight troops. Gomez isn’t as concerned with tracking and catching them now convinced they’ll come to him. In this conversation we know he’s still interested in getting them on his side. He clearly sees himself as the good guy and these kids as misguided.

The issue wraps with them in an abandoned amusement park where Abbie has another base set up. Ther girls fight some more as Jonah tries to play peacemaker. Abbie is not the least bit pleased at Kayla for keep secrets from them. It all ends with Kayla admitting Abbie’s right and she has step up and stop Foresights domination of the town. She’d put on most of a suit in the car and the last shot is her in with the mask on swearing to get there parents back.

Noble’s my favorite in the line but Superb is nipping at his heels in a very close second place. I love the story so far plenty of characters with multidimensional motivations a main antagonist who may not be a bad guy. He’s at least got a better shot than Lorena. He’s heavy handed and authoritarian but unlike Lorena we haven’t seen him kill anybody. He always wants people taken alive. I look forward to finding out what his goals are. He’s clearly opposed to Lorena and scared of her but what does he know? What’s caused this?

I also look forward to a good fight between our heroes and the team Gomez is training. Kind of hoping for a New Mutants/Hellions kind of rivalry. I also want to know who Abbie is and exactly what Jonah’s powers are. He mentions that Abbie makes gadgets for him but I haven’t seen him use any obvious equipment.

There’s a lot her story wise that I look forward to seeing unfold. The crew working on the book has also been good about giving us some action every issue as well.

I’m digging Height’s art but I have to lodge a complaint here. Everytime in issue four that they switch to Kayla’s parents or Abbie or Gomez the art takes a nosedive. It’s a little distracting that it keeps switching back and forth in style but the fact that the quality dips so bad really makes it hard to ignore. The fight scene with Kayla and Jonah looks like the art in the rest of the series I’m assuming it’s Height’s work. I believe the same thing was going on in issue three but it wasn’t as noticeable there for some reason. The style seemed to change slightly but the quality didn’t dip so bad. If you want a guest artist for and issue then do it but personally I don’t like the switching back and forth.

All in all I’d say catalyst’s third was another home run. If you’re into supers vs conspiracy or teen hero books you’ll want the give this one a read!

Come back next week, I’ll be taking a look at  Incidentals the lines fourth book and first Team book! (Technical Superb isn’t a team book yet)  Hope to see you then!

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