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review 2017-06-13 23:37
Liked one story, not so much the other one
FCBD: Worlds of Aspen 2015 - J.T. Krul,Alex Konat,Claudio Avella,Erick Arciniega,Federico Blee

I do like the Soulfire story - part of Eternal Soulfire - and I especially like the new character they introduce, a magic user who is in danger just because of that fact.   I do not care much for Miya, the old character who is apparently going to be in charge of guiding the newbie, so while I enjoyed the story in general, it wasn't great for me. 

 

Fathom Blue also uses new characters, and while Maylander is a huge part of getting this team together, he has very little page time.   I didn't like any of the new Blue characters here, so I'm going to give Fathom Blue a pass. 

 

I'll end up doing other Soulfire series first, and look into Eternal Soulfire more before making my decision on that story. 

 

 

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review 2017-06-11 19:07
FCBD
FCBD: Worlds of Aspen 2016 - Joshua Fialkov,J.T. Krul,Jordan Gunderson,Peter Steigerwald

From last year.  I'm catching up on the Aspen ones since I've gotten into the company recently and trying to clear out some old Comixology titles I own. 

 

This was fun: a quick peek at Fathom, Soulfire, and the first Aspen crossover event, called Revelations.   There were some designs, mostly sketches although one or two cover pieces.   There were also biographies of the main players, and I appreciated those. 

 

Then there were the inevitable ads.   I didn't mind these as much, because they were one page ads, a shot of the comic, and some descriptions.   It left more pages to preview the main event.   But this didn't feel like a great introduction to Revelations.  Or not the perfect one.   The way it ends, well, it felt a bit too abrupt.   It does make me excited about the comic which came in the Humble Bundle: I have Revelations Volume 1.   

 

So it was mostly successful.   The crossover looks tense and plausible, and I was wondering how they would accomplish that given how different the series are in this case. Onto the next comic, and then I'm trying to get more sun, but my poor arms are about to get toasted again.   I may stay inside until I go out: I've decided I want a burger for dinner, but I'm going to take it home so I can watch TV.   A burger, fries - inexpensive burger but you order fries on the side - and a milkshake for while I'm walking home, maybe.   

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review 2017-06-03 11:48
Love, love, love
Michael Turner Art Edition: The Aspen Extended Edition - Michael Turner,Michael Turner,Geoff Johns

Michael Turner's pencils are even more gorgeous and captivating to me than the colored works - and that's saying a lot, because the finished products are some of the most lush I've seen in comics.   I've been reading about Turner and reactions to his art, and a lot of people try to say his women are feminine - read hot - but also strong and powerful - true - but I really don't think that shows so much through the art as how they're written.   To Turner's credit, he created, and at least co-wrote, these stories, and I find Aspen a rich character full of inner strengths, conflicts, and a world that challenges her.   Each time she meets those challenges. 

 

I simply find his women idealized forms.   (The pencils emphasized how much his children look like small adults; at the end, I was unable to tell at first if Aspen was an adult or child since there are some flashback scenes and the only way to tell for me was her body.   Her face looks exactly the same.  It was slightly disturbing, to be honest, since he's obviously drawing hypersexualized adult women.)

 

Despite this, man, his pencils.  I was kinda prepared for the random 'X's peppered throughout this book.   I can't find confirmation online, so clearly I'm Googling it wrong, but I believe the Xs are pencilers shorthand for 'this should be black.'   A lot of times they pencil it in when the areas are smaller - pupils, light shading, etc - but if there's a silhouette or something that they intend to be inked/black, and it's large, there are Xs placed throughout those spots.   (One X for mid-spaces, but to avoid confusion, there can be multiple Xs for larger spaces that are meant to be black.)  I remember this from my Wizard reading days, I believe, and it was information that was in the back of my brain: the fact snuck out when I was surprised by the first X, and then I went, 'oh, right,' and just accepted it.   It could be distracting, in that I just wanted to enjoy the art without those interruptions to the visuals, but not enough so for me to even knock down half a star. 

 

Much of this felt new: it was an expanded issue one, and was still surprised by how much new storyline was in this book.   In fact, some of this was referenced in one of the volume notes - meaning that the information was only in this edition.   I really love having this whole story, and I appreciate the information about Aspen, and her father.   (I feel like that's most of the new storyline, but it feels important since we see so little of Aspen's biological father in the Fathom stories up to this point.)

 

I wasn't sure if this would be a retread or if I'd be bored by that, but it wasn't and I wasn't.  Instead, I found myself thrilled by this gem of a comic.  Highly recommended.

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text 2017-06-03 01:56
Reading progress update: I've read 6 out of 31 pages.
The Fathom Sourcebook #1 - Hannibal Tabu,Michael Turner

I really want to read this to get a fuller understanding of this world.   I'm tired, though, and I can't focus enough on the mostly text format of this book.  

 

I'll get back to this eventually, but right now I want more comics before I fall asleep.  I think I'll read the Aspen extended edition, at least until I fall asleep.   Maybe get started on something else. 

 

For now, the pencil drawings in the extended edition are just doing it for me.   Turner's art looks fantastic when in graphite grays or full colors.   Just beautiful work.

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review 2017-06-03 01:36
Aspen titles seem to be four stars from me
Fathom: The Elite Saga - Kyle Ritter,Vince Hernandez,Marion V. Williams,J.T. Krul,David Wohl

So, still a favorite company, still great comics, but they don't really have the nostalgia factor that Marvel does and do notice a couple errors so it doesn't hit quite the high that Marvel does for me.  That being said, this is still great, and I'm still loving the storylines.   Kiani volumes three and four would have been easy five stars on their own, but this reverts back: slightly less nuanced, and the art is just not quite at the same level as those volumes.

 

Still, it filled in some backstory on what happened to Anika, and I was happy to read it after the Kiani omnibus.  I'd been hoping this would tell that story as it's the last Fathom volume I have to get through, and it was!  

 

I could feel Anya's desperation to get her child back, and the fact that she would try to get Aspen and Kiani to work together?   Yeah, that's desperate.   I was glad to see both of them let go of their anger and their past, and work together for the good of a child.   I also had some questions about why Kiani turned her back on The Blue: I was told, but I wanted to know what happened to Anika, and how, to get Kiani to this point.  I understand so much more after reading this volume.

 

A couple of shocking twists, like the return of characters, and what they choose to do when they come back.   I recently read that comics book were basically soap operas and I've been thinking about this: they are.   Unlike most soaps that I've seen, though, these also talk about politics and explore the nature of good and evil.   There's something satisfying about reading a good comic, or graphic novel, when the good guys win.   There's a little more intellectual content to most of the good comics that I've read. 

 

Still, the tropes - amnesia, long lost characters coming back to life, surprise twins/clones/whatever - are often shared amongst the two mediums, as are the cliffhangers.   Still, the intent is the same: to get us emotionally involved in the lives of these characters.   If we don't care about them and their worlds, it's all pointless.   I obviously care a great deal for many comic book worlds, so there's that.  I also, as I've said before, enjoy the visual aspect of comics.   I do enjoy TV and pop culture, but I don't personally enjoy soap operas.   If I'm going to involve myself in a world long term, I need more than twists and cliffhangers: I need the intellectual aspect comics book bring with them.   (And don't get me wrong, I have brain candy that is at least as insipid as the most insipid of soap operas, if not more.   I just can't sustain the interest in those things long term, so I'd fall behind on soap operas.  I may sneer down at soap operas on some level, but not at the people who watch them.   Everyone needs their brain candy and I know people sneer down at mine - which is fine - but I'd hope they'd be kind enough not to sneer down at me.   Everyone needs the brain candy, and I don't doubt that the soap opera aspects of comics play into my need for brain candy, which makes me understand why the mainstream has sneered at comics for so long.)

 

Tangent, but it ties into this graphic novel.   The twists, the stolen baby, the resurrection, the evil twin vibe, it all played into the connection that comics have with soap operas.   And I didn't even mind.   I loved it all.   Because deep down, Fathom is a sprawling world that includes the complexities of the real world, and feeds my need for something smart along with my visual reading, along with my need for the soap opera aspects.   

 

Aspen Comics is a world I've come to care about deeply in a short time, and one that I hope to care about for a long, long time to come!

 

 

 

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