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Thursday, October 29, 2009

The first story arc of Fathom is utterly compelling. Aspen Matthews is a marine biologist who has always been drawn to the ocean-- she was an orphan who returned to land with an ocean liner that had been thought lost, and she doesn't remember beyond that, but she surfs, was an Olympic swimmer, and when she is invited to a deep sea research station, she is drawn into a bigger story of a war being instigated by a group of beings who live in the ocean, with involvement of Air Force pilots testing amphibious planes, and along the way Aspen discovers more about her own heritage and how powerful she is.
The story is told from many different perspectives, and the artwork portrays this beautifully. Often, when the story switches to another person's part of the story, half of their face is shown on the full height of the page, overlapping with the other artwork on the page that is telling the events in the story.
The idea of another race living in the waters that cover so much of our Earth is a fascinating one, and it's quite believable that high-ranking military, when confronted with this utterly alien race and their advanced technology, would attempt to ally with them them and keep the whole thing a secret, possibly even thinking that these "aliens" are extraterrestrial. The story has a rather natural environmental bent, as it is easy to imagine that if there were beings in the ocean advanced enough to fight back, they would not be happy with how humans are polluting their home.
The first story arc is well-written, well-drawn, and engaging, and takes up the bulk of this volume; after that are a couple of short interludes, and then the beginning of another story-- which I found a little annoying and disappointing.
This is a comic book, so Aspen is improbably tall, slender, and curvaceous. In fact, almost all of the women are similarly gorgeous, and nearly all the men have ripped muscles and chiseled, square-jawed faces. I liked reading a graphic novel where a woman was the main character, but it is a little strange to have the swimsuit gallery in the back.
Michael Turner's Fathom: The Definitive Edition
Michael Turner, Peter Steigerwald, and many others
Date published:
Graphic Novel
Number of pages:


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