By Joe Casey, Dan McDaid, Paul Maybury & Ulises Farinas
Catalyst Comix is one of the more interesting comics out on the racks right now. Every issue is telling three stories about an assorted group of super-beings. Each story is drawn by a different artist with their own unique style while Joe Casey writes the whole thing, who has the credentials to tell amazing stories. All of these factors come together to honestly make a very amusing yet bizarre read.
The book opens with Frank Wells’ story where we find Frank trying to find inner peace while traveling with Baba Lama. We are treated to a nice little fight scene between Frank and a giant stone guardian so they can get to a room filled with “mojo,” and lots of candles for some hardcore meditating. Dan McDaid has this great pulp style of art that complements Frank’s sad but gritty disposition. After some colorful and trippy pages we finally feel we know where Frank stands and things feel set up for the next issue quite well. There are areas that felt like a little too much narration bogged down the story a tad and also cluttered some pages. The ground has been laid before Frank Wells, so now what will Frank do next? We have to wait and see.
Amazing Grace, fresh out of her space-coma, is being tracked down by some sort of alien disguised as a douche bag in a white suit who goes by the name Seaver. Aside from referring to himself as, “not from around here,” and his ability to stop bullets, we know for sure that Seaver is not human by the constant sparkles that shimmer off his body at all times. Paul Maybury’s art was actually pretty tame this issue which came as a pretty big surprise since his art has been the stand out from the beginning of Catalyst. Aside from a standout panel of Seaver stopping a barrage of bullets, there were lots of flat colors and bare backgrounds. Build up to a greater story was a running theme this issue with Grace and Seaver basically in a face-off setting up the next issue to be an interesting confrontation.
As always we end Catalyst Comix with the Agents Of Change. Our super-group of burnt out heroes, recruited by the Mysterious Bert for unknown reasons, start to bond. We see a little teamwork between Ruby and Elvis Warmaker against an “anarchistic assassin to the stars.” Ulises Farinas’ detailed and bright art just pops off the page and there are some really in your face moments that just really demanded your attention. Watching this group go from hopeless downers to an actual working team has been the most fun storyline of Catalyst Comix. A small homage to Pulp Fiction with Warmaker’s overtly fancy watch on the kangaroo was also a fun moment.
All three stories have very similar problems and perks. The art on every book is fantastic, beautiful spreads, vibrant colors, eye candy from corner to corner. The only problem is all the stories are slow to reveal a plot or even much story. It is kind of frustrating to have so much narration to read and not have much revealed. Is it really fair to judge a series with only a handful of issues out? How many classic series started slow and ended up being cult classics? This is a problem many fans suffer from, patience. As a consumer we strive for instant satisfaction and it seems unfair to ask this of a monthly comic series. Catalyst might be one of those series that will read better once it’s complete and collected.
The issue ends with the lines, “Change Is Happening! Keep Reading!” Pretty safe bet anyone who made it this far certainly will. This series is fun and there is plenty in the story and characters to keep one interested. There is a strong feeling that there will be a payoff down the road.