Review - Fathom Vol. 4 #3

Today sees the release of Fathom Vol. 4 #3, featuring a jetsetting Aspen Matthews traveling the world in the wake of the events at the UN in the prior issue. It's written by Scott Lobdell and features art by Alex Konat, colors by Beth Sotelo and letters by Josh Reed. While the first two issues seemed to move at something of a slower pace, Fathom Vol. 4 #3 really picks things up quite a bit.

Aspen is accompanied by Dr. Colin Woreth and personal assistant Judith Bantaski to the Royal House of Rytal in Saudi Arabia. She's brought here to assist in man's neverending quest to stay reliant on fossil fuels as the Sheik has stumbled upon what could be an endless supply of oil. Instead of going over the river and through the woods, Aspen and co. go through the magma to the water below, where Aspen encounters a brave new underwater world.

The issue features quite a surprise at the end, leaving the reader to ponder a few questions. Namely, where does Aspen go from here and what does she make of her encounter with Dr. Padma Singh. There's clearly some others interested in the endless supply of oil, which means Aspen will have to go into save the world mode again most likely.

As mentioned earlier, Lobdell's story has taken a turn for the dramatic with this issue. The first two issues felt a little vague and not really sure of where they were going, but this one sets Aspen on a very clear path. It even gives her an enemy to face off with and a tribulation or two to overcome.

I'm not completely sold on Konat's pencils in this one. A lot of the faces look identical to one another and in some panels you would swear there are two Aspens. There is something to be said though about the claustrophobic feel of the illustrations and I really like Sotelo's coloring. She manages to immerse the reader in the atmosphere using contextual color tones associated with that environment. It's a nice touch.

There's also a nice little bit that may or may not be a nod to Aspen Comics fans. The Sheik has an Executive Assistant by the name of Shethal. It's not clear whether she's "that" type of Executive Assistant, but it would be awesome if Aspen started to blend their universe together in little ways like this.

Where the series goes from here is anyone's guess, but the ending of Fathom Vol. 4 #3 will definitely lead to multiple guesses. This issue was great because it gave both Aspen and the reader a bit more direction and focus with the series. There are questions Aspen must answer and fallout from the end of the issue that readers will want to know about.

Fathom Vol. 4 #3 hits stores today and interiors are below. Check out the reviews for the previous two issues here and here.