Riding Waves & Catching Trains: Jason’s Comic Reviews

Welcome back to my ever-evolving comic reviews. Each week I will review a few new releases you may have missed on new comic Wednesday. As things change, mostly my mood, so will this column. Some weeks may be several new comics from various publishers or sometimes just one. There might be a time when it’s a longer review for a book I’m really excited about, and every now and then I may throw in a review of a retro book from years past. You never know!

This week a hero looks to the future, while another looks to the past, and another to their dreams.

Michael Turner’s Fathom vol. 8 #1

  • Aspen 
  • Written by Vince Hernandez
  • Art by Mauricio Camptella

Aspen’s popular series returns for its 8th volume. Aspen Matthew’s returns to restore balance to humans and the Blue. However, the villainous Killian has other plans. Killian wreaks havoc on the Blue and unleashes his powerful daughter on the unsuspecting human race. Meanwhile, Aspen faces a possibly high-level threat at her underwater lab.

This is my first foray into the world of Fathom. I’ve been aware of it for years but never flipped through an issue. We are now at volume 8 of this series. Fortunately, for readers like me, there are editors notes for a few points reference back to past volumes. Some references go all the way back to volume 1. This is truly a lived in and developed the world. The story is easy enough to follow but 8 volumes, it may be hard for newcomers to get invested. The artwork is stunning and each character is distinctive. The villain, Killian, in his speedo does not look at all intimating. However, he makes up for it in his words and actions.

Fathom #1 may not be the best jumping on point for new readers. This series is 20 years old, so I’m sure there has been a lot of development and changes to these characters over the years. I admire the dedication to carry on Michael Turner’s vision but I don’t feel this series is for me. This does have a feel of an episodic sci-fi drama, which I’m not always a fan of. However, I’d love to hear from Fathom fans on what they thought of this kick-off to volume 8.

 

Last Stop on the Red Line #1

  • Dark Horse
  • Written by Paul Maybury
  • Art By John Rauch

Last Stop on the Red Line is the new horror, mystery, thriller from Dark Horse. Weird stuff is happening on the subway in Boston. Specifically weird creatures are murdering passengers. A detective is called in on the case but has no leads so far. Later we follow the detective and her children befriending a homeless man who had previously saved her daughter. The gentleman, Yusef, suffers from strange dreams among other anxiety issues. Yusef returns to the shelter and reunites with some of the more colorful residents. Meanwhile, the creatures claim another victim.

There’s a lot going on here in a short amount of time. Yusef could be a compelling character. However, though he’s featured heavily we don’t know much about him. His dreams are surreal and could be a link to the murderous train creatures. The rest of the characters are general stereotypes we’ve seen before. Not a lot to grab on to in this first issue. While it’s an interesting premise I feel we’ve seen this before. Also, Yusef rescuing the detective’s daughter happens off panel. That was a bit confusing because we see the detective on the case telling her boss she doesn’t need a new partner then we see her picking up the kids and talking to Yusef. There’s no transition and at first, I thought he was her new partner. The art is very fluid and pairs well with the bright colors. So the book is nice to look at.

As I stated before, a lot happens in a short amount of time. The story passing felt rushed. Not a whole lot of time to really get to know the characters or see more murders on the train. I enjoyed the art style but there’s not much else that entices me to pick up issue 2.

Naomi #5

  • DC Comics
  • Written by Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker
  • Art by Jamal Campbell

Issue five of DCs smoking hot new series is out. Naomi has followed, well, Naomi on her journey of self-discovery. Over the past issues, we’ve followed the Superman obsessed teen as she figures out where she came from. We’ve known that she’s adopted, her adopted father is an alien, and she may be one too. This issue mostly all is revealed. Naomi, upon finally knowing her origins and recounts them to her best friend. Naomi was born on earth, but not our earth. On her earth, the Crisis struck (not specified which Crisis) and as a result, 29 people were given superpowers. Naomi’s parents were two of those people and Naomi was the first child born with powers. To save their daughter from a tyrant also gifted with powers, Naomi was sent across the multiverse. The issue ends with the tyrant, Zumbado, arriving to claim Naomi.

After four issues of build-up, we finally know Naomi’s origins. She even gets her own costume, it’s not clear (at least to me) what her powers are though. Having come to the series late in the game, I enjoyed the reveal of Naomi’s origins. The idea that she is from the multiverse has a lot of story possibilities, we’ll see how they pay off. The art was nice and shiny. We get several two-page spreads depicting scenes from Naomi’s past. My complaint is after four issues of slow burn we get everything dropped in one issue and at times it’s a lot to digest. Also, Naomi’s friend hasn’t been developed so I didn’t feel the emotional impact of her being the one to hear Naomi’s story.

Naomi has been a fun, out of the blue series from DC. As I already mentioned, this series is hot. There’s a lot of potential for it to impact the DC universe. This issue was what we were waiting for but not quite as good as the lead-up. Part of the fun was Naomi’s interactions with her adopted parents which we didn’t get any of here in this issue. However, if you’re following this series, this issue should satisfy. If you are not reading the series, what are you waiting for?

 

I’ll be back with a new crop of reviews. For more comic reviews, insight, and commentary on comics old and new check out the Drawn & Paneled podcast wherever you get podcasts!

 

 

 

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About The Author

Jason Jason is a "not quite GenX'er." He's a self proclaimed comics expert, film buff and beer aficionado. All of which are true in his own mind. Jason has also been accused of being a pizza snob. Those accusations are not without merit.

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