Back in the 1990s, Fathom represented the new wave of comics: bold digital colors, facile storylines, and a soft porn approach to the illustrations. It was the Top Cow generation and Fathom was the flag bearer. We’re used to all of that these days so it is appropriate we are now delving further into the mythos by being given a backstory about Fathom main character Aspen’s parentage and unusual abilities. But be warned this book is excessively wordy with enough monologues to out pace a Shakespeare play. And as with all Fathom storylines, the writing is serviceable but never going to aspire to fine art prose.
Story: Aspen finally comes to understand her past from a memoir written by her father. She will learn of her unique heritage, her mother’s sacrifice, her father’s regrets, and the loss of a civilization.
Interestingly enough, the story is both excessively long and overly short. That has mostly to do with the drearily endless musings of her father, each paragraph pretty much stating the same thing over and over ad nauseum. Perhaps in irony, the father felt he drained her mother of life – but seriously, if I had to listen to him endlessly focusing on himself, I’d feel my life draining away as well. After awhile (and after reading the same theme over and over), I started to skip the dialogue. I don’t feel like I missed much as a result.
The artwork is, as always, colorful and catching. There’s enough eye candy to keep readers happy but nicely enough, not so much that it feels like pandering to tittering 14 year old boys who can’t get access to daddy’s Playboy stash. Granted, Fathom has always been an equal opportunity type of fan service guilty pleasure but for once, the graphics didn’t completely distract from the somewhat simple storyline.
As a plot, it’s not very original and certainly not going to set any awards for great storytelling. But it’s a nice time waster and a nice gift to Fathom fans to find out more of Aspen’s history and how she came to be who she is. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the pub