“Try Something New.” That challenge is the whole reason for this feature’s existence. Month in and month out we buy the comics we know and love, the ones we look forward to every time but there are countless series that travel under our radar, ones that we just don’t give a chance and get passed by. That’s why I made a vow: every week I’d pick up an issue for a series that wasn’t on my pull-list in the hopes of finding a hidden gem. Welcome to Off The Shelf where we’ll discover if my leap of faith paid dividends this week. Also, I should mention that there be SPOILERS in this review. You are warned! ________________________________________________________
All-New Fathom #1 Publisher
Frank Mastromauro, David Wohl, and Alex Konat
Prior Experience With Title
None. As for my knowledge of the character, that is pretty miniscule as well. An original creation of the late, great Michael Turner, all I know is that she is some kind of underwater heroine and that the entire comic publisher is named after her.
Why Did I Give It A Shot?
This series is Aspen’s longest running, flagship series. For a title to last 15 years there has to be something special about it. Since it was only $1 and a nice introductory jumping on point, what did I have to lose?
Our first introduction to the new volume of Fathom is by introducing Francis and Stacy Coletti who are on their honeymoon, diving in the open ocean, when a freak unnatural occurrence causes the seafloor to crack open and shoot out a large wall of ice. This ice subsequently forms into a giant iceberg in the middle of a tropical climate. The husband and wife witness everything going down and are then swallowed by some mysterious smoke to end our time with them and to whet our appetite of what we can expect next. We then shift over to an oil disaster on the water which is being handled by our hero, Aspen Matthews. I have to say that I admire the technique the writer used in order to help the uninitiated reader try to get up to speed on the character and her world through the use of a television broadcast. Aspen effortlessly gathers up the oil into a ball and levitates the massive sphere out of the water showing us that her power-set is indeed immense. We’re then introduced to her roommate/assistant, she has a meeting with a shady Russian businessman who looks to figure into a future plot down the road, and then she heads off to the earlier incident involving the iceberg which has grown exponentially. She dives into the water to investigate and meets these strange-looking humanoid creatures to end the issue. She knows what they are but I’m unsure if us the reader is supposed to know them as well as the all too familiar “To Be Continued” pops into view.
Narrator: For them this…was freedom. Freedom from the distractions of the world above. Freedom from the chaos of everyday life.
Narrator: For a moment they were petrified…but fear gave way to awe.
Narrator: One day he would tell his grandchildren about this moment…
Aspen Matthews: I know, maybe a little over the top. But what can I say? I like to make an entrance.
Final Verdict: Overall, I look at the cover and then look inside and can’t believe that they are done by the same artist. The cover is beautiful but the interior art is really lackluster and lacking pop. The environmental slant and generic story did nothing to grab my attention so for the first time in this short feature’s life I’m going to have to Pass On This Series Going Forward.