Michael Turner's Fathom: Blue Descent #0


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Michael Turner's Fathom: Blue Descent #0


  • Words: David Schultz
  • Art: Scott Clark
  • Colors: Jeff Chang
  • Story Title: Opening the Floodgates
  • Publisher: Aspen Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: May 26, 2010

I missed the boat on Fathom, when it first debuted in 1998 under Top Cow Productions. To be honest, aside from creator Michael Turner’s fluid, detailed pencils and the undersea setting, there didn’t seem much to distinguish Fathom from say Witchblade or any of a veritable host of sleek, impossibly gorgeous women wearing next to nothing, who suddenly discover their true destiny as savior/destroyer/princess of the realm/world.

Unfortunately, the zero issue of Aspen’s latest Fathom limited series, Blue Descent, hasn’t done anything to change my opinion of Turner’s most popular creation.

Intended as a primer of sorts for new and returning fans, Blue Descent #0 takes up approximately one year after the events of the last series. The audience first encounters Aspen in the wreckage of her childhood home, bemoaning the terrible fate that has been thrust upon her slender shoulders.

And that’s pretty much it for the plot. With a cover price of $3.99, I expected just a little more meat than a skinny, half-naked woman floating around a murky undersea realm. Writer David Schultz does a serviceable job moving Aspen from locale to locale but each scene looks so much like the last, it’s hard to be taken in by the vastness of her home.

In truth much of this has to do with the art. Working straight from what look like artist Scott Clark’s original sketches, colorist Jeff Chang fails to evoke any of the magic and wonder one presumes are staples of any undersea kingdom. Chang’s limited, muddy color palette and Clark’s shoddy pencils rob the Blue’s realm of whatever exotic flair it may have possessed in previous interpretations. Whereas Turner’s attention to detail at least lent some clarity of vision and weight to Aspen’s world, Clark and Chang’s lack of craftsmanship severely impair the audience’s ability to immerse itself in her story.

Even in today’s competitive and ever-changing marketplace, one of the hallmarks of a good zero issue is its ability to refresh a property by distilling its core qualities into a more potent artistic direction. Hampered by a sluggish script, imprecise visuals, and an overall lack of craftsmanship, Fathom: Blue Descent #0 reveals nothing new about the central character and only serves to further dilute an already feeble franchise.

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