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Lion Forge's Summit Shows Us That Rising Through Trauma Is Heroic

Lion Forge's 'Summit' Shows Us That Rising Through Trauma Is Heroic

Lion Forge's 'Summit' Shows Us That Rising Through Trauma Is Heroic

Seeing a superhero learn to process her emotions, control her powers, and start moving forward is powerful to watch.

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In the year since Lion Forge comics launched its Catalyst Prime superhero universe, they have been steadily putting out dynamic, grounded stories of superheroes from a variety of backgrounds. One of the newest heroes in the Catalyst Prime line is Summit, aka Dr. Valentina Resnick-Baker. Summit stands out from many superheroes stories in that this story has a queer, female superhero coming into her power by working through grief and trauma.

For those not familiar with Catalyst Prime, all the characters in this universe revolve around a cataclysmic incident known as The Event. Dr. Valentina Resnick-Baker is an astro-physicist and one of five astronauts who embarked on a mission to destroy an asteroid threatening the earth. After something goes horribly wrong, Valentina ends up the sole survivor of The Event and loses her girlfriend Kay in the process.

One of the most powerful aspects of Summit is Valentina's character arc. Writer Amy Chu does an amazing job at getting inside of Valentina's head and showing her fragile mental and emotional state. Enhancing that are letterers Deron Bennett and Tom Napolitano, whose hazy thought bubbles and text give voice to Valentina's literal ghosts that appear to her in the form of her dead crew mates and her girlfriend.

Credit: Jan Duursema, Paul Mounts

When most people think of superheroes, they think of epic battles between heroes and villains. For this first volume of Summit, Valentina's worst enemy is herself—specifically her emotions and trauma. These things are directly related to Valentina's emerging powers as a human plasma reactor. Seeing her learn to process her emotions, control her powers, and start moving forward from The Event is powerful to watch.

Although Dr. Valentina is an amazing character on her own, there are also other notable characters in Summit. One of these characters is J.T., a black MIT physics professor and Valentina's ex husband. A remarkable thing about J.T. is that despite any awkwardness that might still exist between him and Valentina, he still manages to be her closest friend.

In less than a dozen pages, Valentina trusts him enough to tell her about her powers and her ghosts and he ends up helping her figure out what makes her powers tick. In addition, Valentina's friendship with J.T. ultimately gives her her own MIT superhero pit crew in the form of a diverse group of plasma physics professors. Not only is this group pretty cool, but they are a striking contrast when compared to another notable character, Lorena Payan.

As the head of the global technology company Foresight, Lorena Payan was the person responsible for telling the five astronauts to go into space in the first place. As a result, there is tension between Valentina and Lorena because they both want different things. Although Lorena has an image as a smart, considerate humanitarian, Valentina is smart enough to not be mindless about it.

In addition to the storyline and the characters, the artwork is spectacular. Illustrator Jan Duursema and colorists Paul Mounts and Kelly Fitzpatrick have made dynamic images that are just as good as any comic from DC or Marvel comics. The most striking images are the ones that involve Valentina tapping into her powers, both accidentally and on purpose. In these images, Valentina's entire body or her hands are lit up in a vivid, electric blue that compliments the explosive quality of her powers.

Credit: Patrick Zircher

All in all, Summit, Vol. 1 is an excellent start to an excellent series, giving us a compelling lead who becomes a hero by rising through her trauma. Her origin story is supplemented by an interesting cast of characters and vivid artwork that enhance who she is. Summit, Vol. 1 shows that even though recovery may be long and hard, you can find the power to keep living!

Visit Lion Forge's website to purchase Summit, Vol. 1!

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Latonya Pennington

Latonya Pennington is a non-binary queer freelance writer. Their writing can be found in places like Wear Your Voice magazine, EFNIKS, and Black Girl Dangerous.

Latonya Pennington is a non-binary queer freelance writer. Their writing can be found in places like Wear Your Voice magazine, EFNIKS, and Black Girl Dangerous.