Fathom: Sourcebook # 1 Review

FATHOM: SOURCEBOOK #1
Written by Hannibal Tabu
Art by Various
Aspen Comics

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This is going to be a little bit different since this is a sourcebook. So, I am going to break down the elements a little differently.

Art:
This is quick since these are only a few pictures, chose throughout the now extensive library of miniseries throughout Fathom’s 16 year history. Obviously, much of the art is work from the late, great Michael Turner, which is very fitting. It still looks amazing and holds up well.
We get great artistic renderings of different characters throughout Fathom’s long history by different artists and these pictures are fitting to the characters.

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Writing:
This is going to be longer because there are several different things when it comes to writing source books.

First, the amount of information spans the 16 years of Fathom’s existence and goes in to Aspen’s personal history, people she is closest to and certain antagonists and allies she’s had over the series existence. And while some of it can feel a bit weighty, Tabu makes sure that anyone who deserves weighty, long background histories are done with some style and accuracy.
Not everyone is created equal in this universe and Tabu reflects that based on their relationships to the stories and to Aspen herself. It was a very smart move by Tabu and Aspen to do so, allowing readers to take this all in one sitting if they choose to do so.

Next, we examine the information itself. We get a pretty complete history of Aspen through out all the various miniseries, maxiseries and more throughout the years; creating a nice and entertaining biography.
Aforementioned, longer histories are written with a certain amount of flare. Tabu makes the entries interesting with a style that feels like the history is being given orally. That makes the profiles not only easier to read and digest, but allows Tabu creative freedom in presentation. Nothing reads too wordy, too long or too dull. It’s exciting how the information is presented and only wants readers to want to learn more or actually relive these stories for themselves through the issues.

Finally, I appauld Tabu on the organization of the characters. We go through most of the major players of Fathom as we see Finn, Chance, Chris, Killian, Vana, Taras and more sprinkled throughout the book. While Finn is Aspen’s own brother, he’s background fits into only a page or so. Tabu is great at being concise when he needs to be. Tabu examines each of these characters and their impacts to the story and Aspen herself. The book doesn’t start with all the major players, nor does it end with them. They are woven in well so the sourcebook feels very balanced.

 

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Down Sides:
I only have two gripes that do not count much against the Sourcebook. First, Kiani is mentioned a few times, but is not featured. The character and Aspen do have significant history. At the same time, she has had quite a few miniseries herself at this point. Perhaps, she will show up in a second sourcebook or a sourcebook of her own.
The only other gripe is how the Blue’s entry is fairly small. It is definitely true and concise. Yet, I felt a bit more on the classes and the Blue society would have been interesting.

Final Verdict:

Barring the two downsides I mentioned, this sourcebook was a fun, informative read. Tabu makes the sourcebook entertaining with great presentation of the history, concise look at the characters and a great display of knowledge of the subject on his side. The profiles are interesting and do feel as it this massive universe has so much to offer.
Fathom’s history is rich and varied and Tabu swings that ball across the field to present a flourish look at it.
I give Fathom: Sourcebook a 4 out of 5.