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PopCultHQ Comic Book Review: ‘ALL NEW FATHOM’ #1 by Aspen Comics

From beneath the tides she was born…
Above the sea level she was raised…
On the surface, she is a marine biologist…
Yet, under the surface she is something far more.
She is something…ELITE.

PopCultHQ received a preview copy of All New Fathom #1 from Aspen Comics. Hitting retailers on New Comic Book Day, Wednesday, February 8th, this premiere issue of the sixth volume is written by Blake Northcott, pencils by Marco Renna, inks from Mark Roslan, colored by John Starr, and lettered by Zen of Hcmp.

Here’s PopCultHQ’s spoiler-free review of the one-shot of

All New Fathom #1 – Cover A by Marco Renna

ALL NEW FATHOM #1 (Vol.6)

Writer: Blake Northcott
Pencils: Marco Renna
Inks: Mark Roslan

Colors: John Starr
Letters: Zen of Hcmp
Covers: Marco Renna (A), Alex Konat (B), Jordan Gunderson (C), Talent Cladwell (12 copy), Michael Turner (24 copy)

Dive back into the world of MICHAEL TURNER’S FATHOM in this great jumping-on point for new readers! ASPEN MATTHEW’S role in the brand new ASPEN UNIVERSE, spawning out of last summer’s mega-event, Aspen Universe: Revelations, is larger than ever! Now, the preeminent heroine must navigate the treacherous divide between the humans and her ancestral people of The Blue-as well as the surprises in store for both races in this all-new FATHOM landscape where anything is possible! Nearly two decades of the best-selling series created by superstar artist, the late Michael Turner, have culminated in this all-new FATHOM adventure by Aspen’s newest up-and-coming talents! Please join newcomers, writer Blake Northcott and artist Marco Renna, as they bring readers back under the surface into the world of The Blue, and everything you loved about FATHOM!

COVERS AVAILABLE


PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
ALL NEW FATHOM #1 (Vol.6)

Aspen Matthews is back and better than ever! For those new to the Fathom title or unfamiliar with The Blue, this new volume is the perfect jumping-on point and a great entry into this world. The story is a retelling by Aspen to her roommate Ty of her encounter with a mysterious being with an intriguing past. This warrior of the Typhos is hell-bent on revenge on The Blue as a whole and is unleashing it upon Aspen. When the enraged man hurls his weapon of choice, a razor-sharp glaive with curious properties, it makes its way upon the shore and threatens the surface dwellers. Sensing imminent danger for a citizen, Matthews risks revealing herself in order to save the lives of the humans.

This is where the story becomes somewhat modernized but done right. I say “somewhat” because many comic book attempting to update a series by modernizing generally is done to excess or to the point that it’s off-putting. Not the case with ALL NEW FATHOM #1. There’s just the ideal amount interspersed where needed and done so in a way that not only establishes FATHOM as a modern tale, it also respects and maintains the integrity of Michael Turner’s long-established characters.

Writing:

The very first thing I recognized immediately was that Blake Northcott’s writing in the ALL NEW FATHOM is mind-blowing. Very descriptive and artistically delivered, like an accomplished best-selling author inspiring such vivid details into your imagination. This could very well be the title that takes her career to an even greater level. It certainly ups her value as her full talent is on display.

What impressed me was how well Northcott delivered her story, while staying true to these characters with such history and providing ample info to the new reader as if this were volume one. Nice choice to head up FATHOM, Aspen!

Art:

Artist Marco Renna’s penciling debut on an Aspen title is nothing short of stellar. You have to be of a certain caliber of artist, or possess a certain style/look, to be featured in an Aspen title. When you say Aspen Comics, you have a general idea visually what you can expect, regardless the title. Marco comes in and makes his presence known as what very well could be his new long-running gig with art like this. Renna does the characters in FATHOM justice by capturing such realistic-looking figures. He has an awesome grasp of human bodies and forms and showcases this through his exceptional layouts. For the duration of this ALL NEW FATHOM series, no matter how long it lasts, the illustrations need to continue to be that of Marco Renna. Fantastic addition to the Aspen family.

Mark Roslan has inking duties and performs admirably. Lately I’ve noticed some creators whose only credit on the issue is for inks (not pencils too, or colors) and they go overboard on it. As if to say, “Look at me!” Heavy shading, countless folds in clothing, excess darkness. What Roslan brings is more of a complimenting addition. Let me explain…imagine working with an artist who passes along to you their completed work. Your job is to provide inks and add depth, definition, and what have you. But instead of simply applying your work atop the illustrator’s drawings, you immediatley begin considering the colorist and recognizing their strong points before getting to it. Now you’re in this position where you want both your penciller and colorist to really shine so what do you do? You do what Roslan has done in FATHOM; you take the humble approach and consider what’s best for the comic rather than personal gain or recognition, even by lifting others up around you so they get noticed for their work. That’s the sign of a leader, folks.

The colors in FATHOM are as breathtaking as you’ve come to expect with an Aspen Matthews book. Colorist John Starr is a true representation of an Aspen colorist. He owns the color palette, highlights and accentuates with precision, and simply brings out some of the most beautiful and inviting colors known to man. Great look on Aspen Matthews and the right colorist for this environment.

Letters: 

Aspen newcomer Zen of Hcmp also knocks it out of the park for his debut, which isn’t too surprising to those familiar with his work. If I were to guess, I’d say that about 35-45% of Zen’s work in FATHOM was captioned dialog and it is some of the best I’ve ever seen. Great look, strategically placed (as always), nice size font, plenty of cushion around the text where it doesn’t feel crammed in, but at the same time doesn’t create an overly-huge caption box. And some really eye-appealing highlighting and occasional transparency in those boxes, but that could also be a credit to the work by Starr. Rest assured Aspen, Zen will be an asset to not only the FATHOM title, but to your label as a whole. Definite hot commodity.

PopCultHQ’s overall assessment:

Too often nowadays in the comic book world, series are short-lived and simply rebooted. Don’t get me wrong, if reboots are your thing, that’s cool. I know of a couple of big publishers who’ll have you covered in spades. But unlike bizarre mash-up characters (think Spider-Gwenpool) and struggling well-known properties, ALL NEW FATHOM #1 (Vol.6) is breathing new life into the franchise. The addition of Northcott, Renna, and Zen were bold moves that paid off handsomely. All three brought their “A” game and look to cement their way as to the new look and feel of the FATHOM series. Quite frankly, this entire creative team have some great synergy and it’s a thing to behold when it jumps off the pages. While writer Blake Northcott’s narrative and talent alone will have me back, bringing Renna on board simply added to my desire for more. Aspen Matthews has never looked better.

~~~~~~~

PopCultHQ’s Rating:

4.5 out of 5 Stars

ALL NEW FATHOM #1 can be pre-ordered NOW on ComiXology,
or at your local comic shop and various online retailers on March 1st!


Be sure to follow the creative team!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jason Bennett
Jason Bennett is PopCultHQ's senior editor, a contributing writer, and comic book reviewer/reporter. He is a big lover of coffee, cats, cooking and comics (plus all things Green Lantern). He is a strong supporter of indie comics, creators, and publishers and Chris Hardwick is his spirit animal (we don't know how to respond to that). Follow Jason on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @TahoeJBennett
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