Fathom Volume 6 is a trade paperback collection of Fathom issues 1-8 of the new Aspen Universe books. The story arc is written by Blake Northcott with art by Marco Renna, and starts off the new tales of Aspen Matthews with a bang. The story pits Aspen against her own people to protect humans against the machinations of a usurper among the Blue, the undersea race she is a part of. We see betrayal and loyalty, heroism and the darkness of hate. Aspen is exposed in the human world after accidentally releasing an ancient enemy of the Blue, and becoming involved in a coup to overthrow the rulers of her people.
Blake’s story is wonderful. Her characters feel like real people. Political and social issues are handled realistically, and as part of the characters and their story rather than just being the author’s pulpit. The twists and turns of the plot were fun to follow, and quite a few I never saw coming. There’s a scene at a comic-type convention that’s hilarious, and timely. The story touches on the worst of what people are capable of, but also the best of us and handles it all with balance and smart writing.
Something to note is there is some meta in the book, and references to topical issues. YooToob characters in the book with recognizable names, and events that are very familiar pepper the pages. Most of it is delivered in a tongue-in-cheek manner that is humorous if you aren’t taking it too seriously. It could be a turn off to readers who don’t like that sort of thing, but it’s not a major part of the story. We get a good intro to the world of Fathom quickly so you don’t feel like you have to have read a ton of back issues to know what’s going on. I haven’t read a single issue of Fathom before this and I wasn’t lost at all.
Marco’s art is beautiful, and made even more so by John Starr’s colors. Every page of the book was a treat to look at. Action in the panels is easy to read and there’s a lot of variety in the character design and execution. It’s a beautiful world that Marco has crafted to go with Blake’s writing. He is more than worthy to carry Michael Turner’s legacy forward. He’s relatively new to the comic scene but I think he’ll be going far.
This is a great read, and well worth picking up. It’s a good jumping in point if you’re looking for a new series with some history, but without the need to pick up past issues to understand what’s going on. Volume 7 is currently running so this would be a good place to start, then pick up the current run.