I'm a well read grad student who's bluntly honest about all things, although I try to be most honest about myself.
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!