Aspen Comics’ “10 for 10” promotion continues with the publisher’s most famous character taking the spotlight in “Michael Turner’s Fathom” #1. The fifth volume of Fathom’s adventures, this issue is constructed by the writing duo of David Wohl and Frank Mastromauro with Wohl getting credit for the script. Identified more as Aspen Matthews than Fathom throughout this tale, Mastromauro and Wohl are clearly pushing the humanity of the character forward for readers to connect with.
“Michael Turner’s Fathom” #1 opens with a mysterious phenomenon of a glacier erupting in ocean floor off the coast of Belize. While the structure of the opening is a by-the-numbers concept, Mastromauro, Wohl and artist Alex Konat fill that scene with excitement and strong visuals. Beth Sotelo’s colors certainly help that cause as Konat’s art tells the story of an enjoyable dive gone wrong. Letterer Josh Reed capably presents narrative captions as markedly different from other captions throughout this issue. Reed adds detail to the visual story without becoming oppressive. Konat and Sotelo continue to work well throughout the issue, with nicely detailed art that unfortunately appears flat quite often.
When Fathom first appears, she is wearing a wetsuit, which breaks the trend of presenting this character in as little clothing as possible. That’s a nice, realistic choice — especially since a string bikini wouldn’t offer much resistance in many of the conditions the titular character faces in “Michael Turner’s Fathom” #1. All the same, Konat manages to work in a shot of Aspen in a string bikini for no specific story purpose.
Although the story in “Michael Turner’s Fathom” #1 struggles against itself at one point as the story experiences a severe information dump seven pages in, the action resumes quickly thereafter and the comic book is able to get back on track. This issue is a nice addition to Aspen’s “10 for 10” promotion, but more importantly, a solid start for a series that is quite welcoming to new readers. Yes, there are bits and pieces reflective of previous volumes of “Fathom,” but those are nicely handled by the creative team and blended into the story. As the trademark character for this publisher, it is only appropriate that Fathom be given a strong start. “Fathom” fans should keep an eye on this book, eager to see if Mastromauro, Wohl, Konat, Sotelo and Reed can continue to improve and mesh together for a strong new direction.