Written by Joe Casey
Art by Damion Scott, Robert Campanella, Sigmund Torre
Lettering by Janice Chiang
Published by Lion Forge
‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
The Catalyst Prime universe gets a boost this week in today’s Accell #1, a speedster-centric addition to Lion Forge’s new shared superhero universe. While the world of Catalyst Prime hasn’t necessarily broken the mold on superhero stories so far, Accell #1 marks another solid introduction to an interesting character that marks a refreshing change of pace from the much older established universes of the likes of DC and Marvel. Though Accell #1, like its predecessor Noble, invokes familiar tropes and archetypes of cape comics past, the line’s commitment to introducing a more diverse line of heroes from day one of the Catalyst Prime launch certainly sets the line, and its titles, apart.
The world of Accell #1 introduces one of the first civilian lead characters of the series in Daniel Dos Santos, a 20-year-old Mexican-American gamer who enjoys a little vigilante do-gooding as much as he enjoys trash-talking folks from around the world in online play. In the aftermath of Catalyst Prime: The Event, Daniel discovers a chunk of radioactive meteorite that he wisely decides to take home and tuck away under his bed. Unsurprisingly, he wakes up a few days later with incredible reflexes and blinding speed.
The art of Accell #1 is what sets Daniel’s tale apart from speedsters gone by. The book shares some of the same bold, vibrant color choices with its predecessors, but artist Damion Scott gives the book a slightly cartoonish and distinctly animated feel that makes all of Daniel’s actions both as Accell and a normal young man seem a little unreal. Body proportions are just slightly off - enough to make the big bad Barrage look particularly villainous, or to emphasize Daniel’s lanky youthfulness, but never so stylized as to make it unrecognizable as part of the Catalyst Prime line.
Robert Campanella’s strong inks make the hectic super-speed sequences easy to follow, and Sigmond Torre does exemplary color work in vibrant reds and blues that make the book feel youthful and incredibly fun. The climactic final fight sequence in this opening issue is fiery and kinetic but never frantic or over-worked, and the colors and stylized use of shadows and dark make the scene feel like it’s straight from an ‘80s action movie in a way that alleviates the occasionally strained nature of Casey’s somewhat quip-heavy dialogue.
There are more shared superhero universes than ever before, these days, and Lion Forge is certainly holding their own against more established events with Catalyst Prime. The artistic team of Accell has created a world with enough visual markers to make it distinctly Lion Forge in its colors and lettering choices while giving Daniel Dos Santos and Accell their own distinct style and tone both artistically and through the strong voice Joe Casey has given its titular hero. If Noble brings the government intrigue, Accell #1 brings a healthy dose of humor and youthfulness to the line that is a delight to read, and serves as an excellent counterpoint to the somewhat grim tenor of Free Comic Book Day’s The Event introductory issue.