Overview

Fathom: Blue Descent #1

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Fathom: Blue Descent #1

Credits

  • Words: David Schwartz
  • Art: Alex Sanchez
  • Inks: Alex Sanchez
  • Colors: Jeff Chang, John Starr
  • Story Title: Dreams and Disappearances
  • Publisher: Aspen Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Sep 1, 2010

Fathom: Blue Descent brings readers the long-awaited secret origin of Aspen Matthews!  As Aspen Comics’ oldest and (arguably) most popular property, Aspen has become a very familiar character for long time readers, but her past has always been shrouded in mystery.  Now, for the first time, we’re able to see what her home life was like before she lost her memory and washed up on dry land.

This issue jumps right into the action.  As the great Michael Scott once said, the most exciting thing that can happen in a scene is somebody has a gun.  This book starts with Aspen’s father being held at gunpoint with his best friend’s finger on the trigger.  While the story comes down a little after that, it is a good start.  It captures the reader’s attention while driving the less action-driven plot points towards an action-filled scene.  

This probably isn’t the first time most readers have come across the best-friend-turned-mortal-enemy plotline, but I believe most readers would agree that it is an exciting plotline to follow.  Though the two generally start as really close friends and then grow to be distant acquaintances and then eventually enemies, in Blue Descent #1, writer David Schwartz starts the two off under hostile conditions.  It is very clearly a story about Aspen’s family and the Blue, and not the story of her father, even though the story is told from the father’s perspective.  

Part of the story’s intrigue is the apparent maturity of this new title.  The nature of the debates and discussions are much more real and relevant to the prevailing attitudes of today.  While the previous Fathom titles have explored the surface of the arguments present here, the general feeling with past titles has leaned more towards action than the actual intellectual debate.  The difference with this title is that we already know the war is coming, so the writer has the ability to explore the circumstances and thought behind getting to that point.  

Alex Sanchez’ art also lends to the maturity of the book.  His forms and designs are dazzling; especially the early parts involving Aspen’s father, mother, and Zo as children.  His lines and inks have a gritty quality to them that makes the book seem more real to the reader.  Overall, the emotion of the characters is conveyed really well, but there’s a strange disjointed quality to his panels.  It’s as if they’re snapshots taken from a person’s memories rather than a single flowing story.  While this is usually a bad thing, it somehow works well for the story.  It is a bit of a flashback story in the sense that it is a prequel, and it’s told from a backward-looking narrator.  This lens and style of storytelling allows for a more dramatic telling, which definitely helps keep the drive of the story up.

Fathom: Blue Descent promises to be an interesting read.  First off, it seems that at the time of this telling, the person telling the story doesn’t seem to know that he’s not Aspen’s biological father, which will undoubtedly lead to some interesting twists later on.  

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