Over the past couple of months, I fell behind on a great deal of my review writing for the sake of the holidays and my own personal creative endeavors. Of course, during this time, Catalyst Prime kicked into high gear and threw us lots of good titles. Between Noble, Superb, Incidentals and others, the content has been even-paced, eclectic and entertaining. Fans in the industry have been asking for diversity. They've been asking for quality writers and artists on those diverse books. This is what Catalyst Prime is bringing us. And it's doing so in a massive way. But I would remiss if I didn’t come back and cover the last few issues of one of the best comics in stores today. Therefore, I’ll be conducting a multiple issue review of Noble #5 – Noble #8.
Its been a long while since I’ve read a comic series in which every issue is impactful as Noble has been. Story reveals come with every issue. New characters with new powers come with more than apt, robust stories that last only a page or two and have pack the same effectual punch that a full issue might have. All the while Noble continues to drive home truths about our main characters, David and Astrid. And still we are learning things about the motivations and ambitions of characters like Lorena and Dr. Mayes. Atop all of this, the story never lacks in pure, beautiful, well-paced, action.
There are a few scenes that I must note as being absolute genius on the panel work. The first is in Noble #6 during which, David has to face the classic superhero conundrum of a crashing plane. Opening up with a two-page spread of the giant plane coming towards Noble speaks volumes to the staggering gravity of this undertaking.
Of course, with him going through severe emotional trauma as memories combat the mental blocks placed on him by Foresight, it’s him that caused the plane to start going down in the first place. It’s from here that the there is an excellent break down of the strain that he’s going through to stop the plane from crashing while saving people, and marks his greatest super heroic undertaking yet. The entire scene is staggering and even still helps to drive the story forward as it explains how his power is affected by the knowledge of himself and his emotional state.
I’d also like to point out how compelling of a character Astrid is. We get the sense, in the first few issues that she’s not the kind of person you want to cross. As the story continues we get an even clearer glimpse of her combat capabilities. In the latest issues of Noble it looks like that in her past life she perhaps one of the most formidable agents that her secret company had working for them. She is absolute beast, and even puts the super powered people that continue to pop up throughout the book to the test of their own abilities.
Another moment that left me absolutely shook was in Noble #7, in another air scene, with Lorena and Astrid jumping from an exploding plane. The panel to panel actions are glorious. Before the scenes end I found myself clapping over the genius behind the use of page and panel real estate. Each action of import being given its own panel, and all executed with minimal dialogue. This is something that Thomas and Robinson excel at when it comes to showing action scenes on page, and there are very few comics where I can enjoy the action quite as much as I do here in Noble.
The reuniting of Astrid and her husband goes off with a bang, and Thomas handles their chemistry so well. Once she knows her husband has his memories back, there is no longer an air of uncertainty or awkwardness… they fall right back into their relationship with an adulterated trust, not only in each other’s feelings, but their capabilities as well. Husband and wife fight side by side in a quickly but well put together super enhanced battle between Foresight and Dr. Mayes metas. I love the way in just a few panels their relationship is clearly implicated for the readers.
The Noble series has also informed me of the genius art of Roger Robinson. I don’t think I’ve seen his work before reading this, and I have to say that he is one of the best in the industry. When it comes to precise action, splash action, human anatomy, expression, he is a master of it all. I love the hard-cut style of his work and the detail that gives each character a distinct look. I never find myself wondering if one character was actually someone else because their faces are so similar. Everyone looks like someone from the real world.
Add in the color work from Paul Mounts, or Juan Fernandez and the result is simply astonishing. I also noted the purposeful use of classic pantone dot work as well. It really brings a unique feel to the book. Furthermore, Saida Temofonte is not your normal letterer. Her work is life bringing. The dialogue-less action scenes are punctuated by fitting sound effects that aren’t simply written into the page, but worked in as a form of art in their own way. Her work is to be praised and noted as some of the best lettering in the industry as well.
I can’t talk enough about how great of a comic Noble is. I love all of the Catalyst Prime books. I really do. I find them all incredibly gripping from their own individual perspectives. But I would be telling a lie if I didn’t say that Noble is my favorite of them. Great characters, impactful art, page turning story, and really meticulous attention to detail. You can read the art between the lines. If you aren’t reading this book, then I implore you to fix that. I really mean it. Noble is one of the best comicbooks on the stands and it’s nearly criminal for comics fans to not be reading it.