As the newest book in Lion Forge’s Catalyst Prime shared universe, “Quincredible” #1 functions as a gateway into one of the coolest and most diverse self-contained mythos in comics or a standalone story. Either way, it’s a fresh and compelling take on superhero origin tropes. (Warning: contains minorspoilers.)
Written by Rodney Barnes
Illustrated by Selina Espiritu
Colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick
Lettered by AW’s Tom Napolitano
Quinton, a high school sophomore, is looking to live his best life by moonlighting as a superhero. The catch? His power is invulnerability . . . and that’s the only power he has. Naturally, he does the thing any fifteen year old would do and sets out to save the day, but he’s going to have to get creative if he’s planning on taking on bad guys with only 120 pounds of power behind those fists.
Setting aside for a moment that this often unintentional “insider” way of thinking is precisely the kind of barrier that makes it hard to attract new fans to comics, it was a quick reminder to me that this book is part of something bigger. I’d totally forgotten about that. Personally, I just read the solicit and thought it sounded cool. In any case, no worries. Whether you come to the book as a fan of all things Catalyst Prime or you’ve never even heard of Lion Forge before, the book works either way. There’s nothing you need to know to fully enjoy this debut issue and it’s a great addition to an already exciting lineup.
But back to that solicit and the book’s intriguing premise….
After a worldwide meteor shower, Quinton, an otherwise unremarkable high school sophomore who lives in post-Katrina New Orleans, somehow ended up with the power of invulnerability. Unfortunately, that’s the only superpower he got. No super strength, no super speed, no ability to fly. Nothing. In fact, “All it does is make me a better bully punching bag,” the teen explains. “We can beat Quin up, and he’ll bounce right back.”
Rather than tell the story of a superhero’s journey to self-awareness and acceptance of their own limitations and failings, writer Rodney Barnes flips the script. As the self-described “punching bag of St. Bernard Parish,” Quin’s journey begins with the tacit acknowledgement that his lone superpower hasn’t exactly helped him to fight – much less overcome – the world’s glaring injustices.
Ironically, even though he maintains, “Nothing means more to me than making the community better,” his invulnerability has caused him to be utterly passive and myopic, wallowing in self-pity and feeling powerless. Enter superhero Glow, who tells him straight-up, “Dude, this isn’t about what you get. It’s about what you give.” Barely one issue into the series and the overall thesis is clear: possessing even a single superpower is a gift, what you do with that gift is your choice.
Like Barnes’s overall script and clear, concise dialogue, illustrator Selina Espiritu and colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick’s artwork is also clean and straightforward. There are some definite “larger than life” moments and one killer splash page that beautifully capsulizes Quinton’s backstory, but the overall tone is realistic and largely unadorned. Even the color palette, aside from the distinct bright yellow of Glow’s long, flowing hood, is pretty unassuming and subtle.
Luckily, for the most part this style works well. With simple paneling and uncrowded compositions, it’s breezy, succinct and easy to follow, with just enough place-based details to kept things grounded in a clearly urban setting. My only gripe is that textually, the setting of New Orleans features prominently throughout the book. Visually, not so much. I’m certainly no expert, but to me, few of the details that I see specifically evoke New Orleans. It’s not crucial to the story, but feels like an opportunity lost.
Ultimately, this a very solid first issue. At it’s heart, it’s definitely an origin story, but it doesn’t belabor the point with clunky extended flashbacks or unwieldy deeps dives into the character’s psychological make-up and Motivation, with a capital M. The creators also tread lightly on the shared universe aspect, situating the story within that larger context – and definitely leaving open some interesting possibilities – but keeping the storyline separate, so that it stands on its own.Continued below
Final Verdict: 8.2 Whether you come to the book as a pre-existing fan of the Catalyst Prime shared universe or not, “Quincredible” #1 is a great start to what promises to be an interesting, accessible series.