Review: Fathom - Vol. 4 #3

I have to say that this issue wasn’t half bad. It had a lot of what I’ve come to expect from Scott Lobdell (Superboy, Red Hood and the Outlaws), but at the same time he managed to surprise me and really show the beautiful world that’s made Fathom stand out from its male counterparts in the comic world (looking at you Namor and Aquaman). Lobdell really allows penciller Alex Konat and colorist Beth Sotelo to showcase the beautiful world under the sea that I can only image was one of Michael Turner’s goals with the series. The issue opens with, well filler really. Its Lobdell’s typical attempts at humor, but really the dialog is just there. It doesn’t drive the story forward and really falls to the background compared to Aspen’sown narration. In reality the difference between the spoken dialog and the silent narration is worlds apart. Aspen and friends turn down a room full of supermodel men from around the globe as they settle in for the night. The Sheik’s welcoming present wasn’t a hit with Aspen, but she’s still there to find out what the Sheik is up to on the ocean floor.

FAV4-03a-AlexKONAT_1After more throwaway dialog and much better narrations, Aspen and crew begin diving through a huge hole in the ground that the Sheik has dug.They dive through lava until hitting water and finding the “life blood” of the earth. Once there they encounter an amphibious female swimming under the water.Aspen takes one look at her and knows that this is a man-made creation. She leaves the diving ship and heads out into the water to talk with this monstrosity of human science, only to find her attacked by the woman.

Aspen’s narration saves this book immensely. Without it this books dialog would be just terrible as every character on Aspen’s crew talks like a snarky jerk. Lobdell writes them all as if they had a huge chip on their shoulder, but doesn’t give any insight as to why with the exception of Aspen.It’s a strange book that suffers and yet excels due to the writing. Also I found it funny that Lobdell’s Executive Assistant series makes an appearance here. It’s not a crossover event since we know that’s not happening any time soon, but it was a cool fan service and a smart way to incorporate the two worlds.

The art is beautiful for the most part. There are times when it’s clear that Konat struggles with the human form, but mostly with the female form. He draws a room of ten male models perfectly, but two women looking a teach other through glass ends up with strange bends in their neck in order to make the scene work. Some of the finest work is complimented by Sotelo’s coloring though. The water panels are as breath taking as the characters say they are which is rarely if ever the response of the reader at the same time.

I didn’t go into this book expecting much to be honest. The cover really put me off as it looked like a bad scene from a horror movie. Instead I found a book that has its faults, but was actually very enjoyable. Lobdell may not be perfect, but this is leaps and bounds better than Superboy. Long time Fathom fans will be happy with this issue, but new readers shouldn't be afraid to check it out either.

Score: 3/5