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Michael Turner's Fathom: Blue Descent #3

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Michael Turner's Fathom: Blue Descent  #3

Credits

  • Words: David Schwartz
  • Art: Alex Sanchez
  • Colors: John Starr and Peter Steigerwald
  • Story Title: Gods and Monsters
  • Publisher: Aspen Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Aug 24, 2011

The true heritage of Aspen is revealed within the Citadel of the Black.

It’s hard to judge a series and story arc when one jumps right into the thick of it with absolutely no previous knowledge of the book.  It’s a testament to the skill of Michael Turner’s Fathom: Blue Descent writer, David Schwartz, that he is able to not only create a solid single issue within the greater arc, but is able to catch readers up on the history, characters, and plot threads of their story.

Fathom: Blue Descent focuses on the breaking down of Aspen’s family.  Her mother, Eilah, has been captured by the Black in an attempt to recreate the power of Aspen, by forcing Eilah to foster a new child of mixed Blue-Black heritage.  While the idea of a maniacal antagonist going to any length necessary to destroy mankind may seem tired, the familial history revealed as a result more than reconciles the plot device.  Aspen’s true heritage as a daughter of two underwater enemies, and therefore is in fact more powerful and a savior because of it, opens the floodgates on possible storylines and directions for the series.  What makes this new direction and reveal all the more interesting, moreover, is the begrudging acceptance by Aspen’s adoptive father that the Black may be speaking the truth.

Considering the dark and dank setting of the issue, artist Alex Sanchez does a great job of maintaining interest throughout the issue.  The drab color palette and limited variation of settings could have easily led to boredom, but between mixing small action scenes and character moments together, the issue succeeds on many levels.  The highlight of his art, moreover, is the high level of detail in the backgrounds, which keeps each setting interesting.  The Citadel of the Black is packed with giant cavernous walls and sprawling spires, while an unfamiliar language is etched into massive stone doors.  Sanchez’s character style, however, can be a little rough and inconsistent at times, but it never distracts from the overall storytelling.

A certain level of confusion is to be expected when jumping into a series halfway through.  David Schwartz and Alex Sanchez are able to acquaint new readers, however, to their story and characters both quickly and easily.  The story and art work well together to create an issue packed with intrigue and conflicted choices.  Aspen’s family soap opera is not only entertaining, but worth investing in.  

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