REVIEW: Fathom Blue #4

Publisher: ASPEN
(W) Vince Hernandez (A) Claudio Avella (CA) Koi Turnbull

Fathom is one of the non DC characters created by art maestro Michael Turner.  Looking at this book, its easy to see how Turner’s work has been turned into a sort of blue (no pun intended) print.

There is a lot going in the issue and new readers may need to look for the previous chapters to avoid being all at sea. Aspen Comics are similar in approach to Zenescopes Grimm books, in that they do include a small “previously on…” paragraph.  The comparison to Grimm also works for the art style, both the cover and interior art.

Reading the book, it’s clear that writer Vince Hernadez is gearing for a battle royale kind of finale, with various factions plotting and planning, trying to gain the upper hand.  With the various groups, comes some choppy water which Hernandez skilfully charts.  Each group has to have their time to shine in order to let the reader understand each point of view.  This is a somewhat brave move to make in a comic, which at times can fall into a “good guy equals right” type of trap.  That’s not to say every script element works; there is a definite Batman vibe in play, what with a direct quote form The Dark Knight and the Damian-esque attitude of one of the characters.

Art is supplied by Claudio Avella, who applies the Michael Turner effect throughout the book.  On first glance, the book looks great.  Along with the Turner-isms, there is a definite manga feel to the pages.  It is only with close inspection you notice that sometimes, the angle of the faces look slightly off.  This wouldn’t normally be to much of a problem, but it happens with enough repetition to become a distraction.  Mark Roslan’s ink seem to change throughout the book, starting out with a medium line before moving to thinner lines, especially when one group land on the island.  Colors are supplied by the team of Justice, Wes Hartman and John Starr and between them, the book has a quality look to it.

This is the kind of book that I see in the “specials” bin at my Local Comic Book Shop, which is a shame as there is nothing inherently wrong it; it reads well, looks ok and this may be the problem.  With the gluttony of books out there, there is not enough here to differentiate Fathom from any number of  independent hero books, especially at $3.99 an issue.

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