BLAKE NORTHCOTT

ALL-NEW FATHOM #8

So this is it, after seven spin-tingling issues this is the suspenseful conclusion. I went into this series blind, with no previous knowledge about any of the characters or the previous 5 volumes of Michael Turner’s Fathom, and I think the biggest compliment I can give to writer Blake Northcott is that it never mattered. I was able to get caught up and follow along with this series easily, never once feeling that there was some info that I was missing. Every time a character was introduced into the series, we were given just enough information about them to be able to continue enjoying the story. Any questions that were left open were not necessary for this series. So it is absolutely new reader friendly, and a great jumping on point for new readers, and based on the other mostly positive reviews that I’ve seen across the net, experienced readers of the title are enjoying it as well. Considering that this is Blake’s first solo-written comics work, that is quite an accomplishment.

One of the biggest areas in which Blake excels as a writer is in her dialog. The characters all “sound” real, whether it’s Aspen and her roommate Tyler discussing how Aspen’s being perceived on social media, or Cannon explaining his reasons for betraying MURIA and trying to start a World War, it all flows very well, her characters talk like real people, and not like stock comic-book characters (a common weakness among new writers). This is especially evident in the ways she has the characters make humorous comments, which never come off like cool one-liners.

I also love the way she utilizes social media in her story, as we often see civilians commenting on the events of the issues via stand-ins for Twitter and Youtube (the later of which becomes particularly useful in issues #4 and #5), slying making meta-commentary on the state of modern society, without being obvious. And as I said in my previous review, she managed to almost completely change course for these final two issues of the series, from an action story to an almost psychological thriller, with enough plot-turns to make Game of Thrones look amateurish. And yet, without even immediately realizing it, Blake draws astute parallels to real world events.

Cannon is a charismatic leader, who wins over the populace with carefully placed strategic events that are designed to get maximum media attention. He even stages fake attacks (dubbed “false flags”) to scare people enough into trusting him, and only him, to protect them, even if it means silencing opposition. Sound familiar? But it never gets preachy, as Blake realizes that the first job of a comic is to entertain, so just when things could start to get heavy handed, she breaks things up with an action sequence, or some more comedic dialog.

I realize that I haven’t commented much on the actual events of this issue, and that is deliberate, as I really want to encourage you (yes, YOU) to pick up this series and read it for yourself. I will say that there is still one more pretty big twist, which I absolutely did NOT see coming, before this series ends. At the end of this issue, it is stated that long-time comic-book writer Ron Marz will be writing the next Fathom series, and Blake Northcott leaves him with a steady new status quo to work from, but also some mighty big shoes to fill.

And I can’t think of a better art team for this series than Marco Renna on pencils, Mark Roslan on inks, and John Starr on colors. They knocked it out of the part with each issue, especially in the way they always portrayed the lead character as sexy, but not sexualized (a difference that many artists need to learn).

All New Fathom/Fathom Vol. 6 is highly recommended, with a Chacebook rating of 5 STARS

AVAILABLE ON COMIXOLOGY

And support Black Northcott on Patreon

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