Lion Forge's Catalyst Prime universe is in the midst of immense change with the current event series Catalyst Prime: Seven Days. With the entire superhero line's titles on pause, writer Gail Simone and artist Jose Luis are re-forging their world with this seven-part series, with each issue recounting a day in Seven Days (get it?).
This week's Seven Days #3 leads the Lion Forge's heroes to the halfway point, and still reeling from the death of the line's flagship hero Noble.
With all this happening, Simone spoke with Newsarama about the series, the decision to kill Noble, new characters being brought to the fore, and the big picture goals for what's next with Catalyst Prime.
Newsarama: Gail, I’m going to start off with a heavy hitter - killing off Noble was a pretty major moment for Seven Days. What was the decision behind killing off his character?
Gail Simone: This is a far more complicated question than it seems… I can’t give away too much. But to me, in my head canon, Noble represents Lion Forge, and what they are trying to accomplish. He is all that’s good in us, even though he messes up and makes mistakes. And I love who he is… he’s a great husband and father, and we just don’t get to see that much in superheroes. I think it expresses how wonderful a truly great man can be, just selfless and kind and strong. He’s the best.
And I feel that him getting hit, it leaves the others without the breath in their lungs, it hits all the other characters, hero and villain alike, as if Neil Armstrong was killed by a hit and run driver or something. It stings.
There’s more to the story, but I feel his legacy is represented.
Nrama: Was this always the plan for the series?
Simone: Oh, yeah, I have never had a series worked out so much in advance, it’s vital with an event story. This isn’t a marketing gimmick, this is us trying to tell the best story we can, it’s all we care about. We didn’t follow any goofy ‘BIG EVENT’ checklist. I don’t care about that stuff, I care about a story’s engine, about its heart. And Lion Forge is amazing, they don’t have editorial meetings where they decide this stuff by committee, they just collaborate in the best way, with ideas and support.
Nrama: How will this continue to affect the heroes of this world, including Accell and Summit?
Simone: Those two more than almost any others. I see those three as the Trinity of our books, the big gun characters. And they were right there when it happened.
But everyone is affected.
Nrama: What ramifications can we expect with your third issue, which comes out this week?
Simone: The premise of Seven Days is, an invading force gives humanity seven days to say goodbye to Earth. Then they plan to obliterate all life on the planet and start over. Each issue is one day in the story.
So each day, life gets harder as reality sets in, and skepticism dissipates.
We have heroes. But eventually, what is the point of fighting when you are certain you are going to lose?
Nrama: There was a good amount of focus on Camila and her relationship with her roommate in the first two issues. I enjoyed that anchor, especially in a world with a lot of crazy. Is this going to be explored more?
Simone: Absolutely, Camila is key to the future, whatever it is going to be. She’s the perfect modern observer, she’s mostly watched life happen up to this point. But at some point, everyone has to decide if they’re going to commit to the world, or just curl up and die.
Nrama: What other interpersonal relationships can we expect?
Simone: Some love, some resentment, a betrayal, it’s a bit like classic theatre!
Nrama: Through Camila’s character you’ve focused on journalism as a different lens to see the world of superheroes. Why did you want to make this such a major element?
Simone: Oh, that’s probably just my bias. I love Superman, but I read his comics for Lois and Clark. Nothing is more important to the world right now than truth, and journalists, the good ones, they find it and print it, and that’s heroism to me. It should be on the same level as any other kind of heroism, really. It’s protecting a commodity that prevents the world from falling to shreds.
So yeah, I wanted a young Lois in our book, and that’s Camila.
Nrama: I'm told you have are introducing a few new characters in Seven Days #3. What can you tease about them?
Simone: One appears a bit before that but she’s absolutely, without question, my favorite superhero character I have ever created. I can’t wait for people to meet her.
Then we have a cop and the criminal he arrested, stuck together because of the invasion, that’s just my favorite kind of story, opposites stuck together!
We have new heroes, and some new bad guys, it’s all just a big epic.
Nrama: What will the events of Catalyst Prime: Seven Days mean for the wider universe?
Simone: This is the question. I don’t want to say very much, but this isn’t the typical comic universe crossover. No one is going to be forgetting these events happened. It changes things, in ways both small and massive.
Those that survive, it’s a new reality to learn.
Nrama: Is there a character you’d like to work on from the Catalyst Prime universe after this event?
Simone: I love Quincredible and Summit, possibly more than any of the rest. I love writing Noble. Accell is a blast. There’s a lot and I hope I get to, if they survive!
We’ve been blessed to have writers like Alex Paknadel, Amy Chu, and Rodney Barnes on the current books. They are my rocks. You have to write to their level with their characters, not always easy to do.
And there were lots of great writers who contributed previously, like David Walker and Christopher Priest and Alex DeCampi and lots more.
It’s a legacy. I can’t mess up at all.
Nrama: What fascinated you about the world of Catalyst Prime?
Simone: To me, it just feels like something created today. I will always, always love the older comics universes, I think they are among the most fascinating fictional creations in all media. But SO many stories are writers tripping over their own feet to try to make things make sense. From little continuity things, to bigger moral issues, like why is that for forty years, almost entirely, only white people got powers?
We don’t have to deal with that. If a character has a uniform, there’s a reason. And we started with great writers so we have a lot to build off.
It just feels modern to me. As it expands, I want more great creators to jump aboard and help us build.
Nrama: To wrap, is there anything else you’d like to share about the title?
Simone: I hope people try this series. The reviews have been phenomenal, it’s one of my favorite things I’ve done, ever. And it’s gorgeously drawn, with art by Jose Luis, Jonas Trindade, and covers by people like Bill Sienkiewicz and Ashley Witter. We are putting everything we have into it, and it’s not like any other comic out there, I don’t think.
Give it a try, folks!