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Catalyst Comix #1 is the Super-Punk, Pop-Art, Comic-Book Homage you've been looking for
By Dan Horn
June 24, 2013 - 12:24

Dark Horse Comics
Writer(s): Joe Casey
Penciller(s): Dan McDaid, Paul Maybury, and Ulises Farinas
Inker(s): Dan McDaid, Paul Maybury, and Ulises Farinas
Colourist(s): Brad Simpson
Letterer(s): Rus Wooton
Cover Artist(s): Rafael Grampa

If you ever get tired of cracking open a comic book and seeing rotoscoped photorealism passed off as art, chances are Dark Horse Comics' resurrection of its Catalyst Comix property will bring you some much-needed, surreal relief.

Written by Joe Casey, Catalyst Comix #1 features three vignettes, all of which are jumping-on points for a new saga and take place on 12-21-2012, a clever nod to obsolete apocalyptic fears and the incessant end-of-the-world cycle portrayed in comic books. The three installments feature gorgeous pencils and inks by Dan McDaid, Paul Maybury, and Ulises Farinas, with a brilliant technicolor palette by Brad Simpson.

Respectively, the three stories depict heroes past their primes, one overcoming his own personal demons to save the world, an act which comes to a slyly ambivalent conclusion, even as another's play as the world's savior goes sour. All the while, a mysterious liaison assembles a troupe of former superheroes to combat the end of all things.

Catalyst Comix
#1 is entirely over-written, but there's an encompassing nostalgia to Casey's verbosity. With Catalyst, one gets the feeling he's reading a jazz riff on a Tom DeFalco Thor comic, and Rus Wooton's superb lettering keeps the dense narrative from cluttering the book's artwork. Casey's narrative voice is a weird hybrid, exuding a Silver Age pretentiousness with a punk rock, revisionist acerbity. Somehow it all works perfectly.

And the interiors... Oh, the interiors! Catalyst Comix really is beautifully illustrated: McDaid's panels are crackling with energy; Maybury's portion goes masterfully from gravity to gobbledygook; Ulises Farinas' vignette looks like a restrained urban mural, on the verge of busting at the seams.

As a whole, Catalyst Comix #1 offers readers an incredibly unique experience, a fresh experiment in sequential storytelling, one that's sure to pique your interest, no matter your comic proclivities. As Casey says, "Ignore the physics. Enjoy the entropy."

Catalyst Comix #1 goes on sale July 3 with a cover price of $2.99.


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