Review - Fathom Kiani Volume 4 #1

"My dealings with them have been few, but I know enough to understand that they are dangerous. And reckless."

Americans have a reputation for being what some would call bullies. There's a sentiment around the world that our military might makes right and we can essentially take on any and all opponent with relative ease. Sometimes those opponents put up a fight, yet no matter how prepared we are we're still not ready to deal with forces beyond our control. In Fathom Kiani Volume 4 #1 from Aspen Comics, the might of the American military is tested by a hero from under the ocean. The issue is written by Vince Hernandez, illustrated by Giuseppe Cafaro, colored by Wes Hartman and lettered by Josh Reed.

Kiani has finally reunited with her sister, Anika. Following the catastrophic destruction of the Volna, the Russian government's secret Blue research facility, the United States has decided to take action against the rising threat of the Blue. However, in Africa, Kiani and Anika discover that their family bond is stronger than any one army-as their fight to survive above the surface will lead to a revolution amongst the people that will change the landscape of the human race forever.

Being an individual with powers that makes you stand out doesn't make your daily routine any easier and it's something Aspen Comics has really hit home with its Fathom series. Aspen Matthews manages to successfully mingle with humans--despite her immense powers--yet Kiani has never been as fortunate. In Fathom Kiani Volume 4 #1, Hernandez gives Kiani a chance to use her abilities for the betterment of mankind, but it turns out that even then she still can't catch a break. And while she's spent much of her life fighting against her own kind, it only makes sense that Hernandez would throw humankind her way and give her yet another opponent to deal with. A rote life for Kiani doesn't make for very fascinating reading and Hernandez does a good job presenting her as someone is trying to be good, but keeps getting prodded to fight back.

The linework in Fathom Kiani Volume 4 #1 is actually very strong, courtesy of Cafaro's very clean approach. Every panel that features Kiani and her sister Anika has them standing out, ensuring they have the reader's full attention. Their appearance is further bolstered by the bold, thick black gutters that gives each panel a sense that it's a single piece of art. The characters feels alive as well, with Cafaro giving each of them very expressive faces that effectively reinforce the sentiment of the dialogue. Hartman's colors are very fitting as well, reflecting a scene reminiscent of a sunset on the beach, which work well as a foil to the darker colors later on when the proverbial storm hits.

Fathom Kiani Volume 4 #1 is a return to a familiar world that manages to feel somewhat fresh in its perspective. Kiani just wants to live, but it seems that she can't really catch a break and is constantly keeping her guard up. Hernandez knows the world of Fathom and Kiani extraordinarily well and his creation of that mythos is on full display in the book. Cafaro's illustrations are well-detailed and impress upon the reader a world where individuals such as Kiani are viewed as gods. Fathom Kiani Volume 4 #1 is another entry in a recognizable series, but the direction of the issue feels a little bit different and new.

Fathom Kiani Volume 4 #1 is in stores now.