REVIEW: Charismagic #0

“The Void”

Writer/Creator: Vince Hernandez | Illustrator/Character Designs: Khary Randolph | Colorist: Emilio Lopez | Letterer: Josh Reed | Cover Artists: Khary Randolph & Emilio Lopez (Cover A), Siya Oum (Cover B), Sana Takeda (Cover C) | Editor: Frank Mastromauro | Publisher: Aspen MLT

What’s It About?
This issue prepares readers for the new series, and introduces a new world of magic in modern day Las Vegas.

Thoughts?
There is nothing more in comics that I enjoy than sitting down and reading the first issue of a new series.  I don’t know if it’s the idea of a new story, new characters, the creative team, or that new comic book smell (much like the new car smell without the loan), but whatever it is – a first issue is my favorite comic to read.  Not all first issues are ones that grab you and put you in a choke hold and make you stick around for the next issue.  Some first issues are a little lack luster and don’t give a reader much to hold on to or that hook that readers look for to get them back for the next issue.

I think this first issue of Charismagic meets readers somewhere in the middle of all of that.  I got all of that “new” that I love so much with solid writing from Vince Hernandez and amazing artwork by Khary Randolph and Emilio Lopez.  I think the introduction to this world is good to see in a first issue, but I’m the kind of reader that doesn’t want it all spelled out for me so early on, and that’s a personal thing with me, so don’t view that as a negative on this issue.  I think how Hernandez handles this issue is really good and pushes readers head first into this world.  I think readers who are looking for something new and fresh are going to enjoy this because you’re able to come in at the ground floor and see things from the beginning.  I know there are a lot of readers who are looking for something new and entertaining and I think they’ll find it here with Charismagic.

The art in this issue is breath taking to say the least! Khary Randolph and Emilio Lopez lay it all out for readers to see in these pages.  I really like how the pages are laid out with the left page being a full page image and then that image bleeding over in to the background of the panels on the right page.  This technique isn’t used on every page, but when it is it looks great.

Randolph’s style is very expressive with a obvious American-manga style that I love so much.  If there’s a comparison for Randolph’s style I would say a mix between Jeff Matsuda and Randy Green, and I’m big fans of both of those artists.  I’m not sure what else Randolph has done in the past, but I’m definitely going to be looking for more and looking forward to seeing how it grows over this series.

The Verdict?
As I said before, I love first issues, and this issue is definitely one I really enjoyed.  I think there’s a lot of potential with this series and Hernandez, Randolph, and Lopez have something special on their hands with Charismagic.  If you’re looking for something new to jump in on at the ground floor, be sure to pick up this new series from Aspen.

REVIEW: Fathom: Blue Descent #2

Writer: David Schwartz | Pencils & Inks: Alex Sanchez | Colors: John Starr | Letters: Josh Reed | Editors: Vince Hernandez and Frank Mastromauro | Cover Art: Scott Clark, David Beaty, and Peter Steigerwald (Cover A); Billy Tan and Peter Steigerwald (Cover B); Michael Turner, Joe Weems, and J.D. Smith (Retailer Incentive) | Publisher: Aspen MLT | Fathom created by Michael Turner and The Black co-created by Michael Turner and Peter Steigerwald

What Is It About?
Aspen Matthew’s origins have slowly been revealed over, but her true connection to the Blue and the Black has not – until the revelations of this issue.

Thoughts?
When I read comics, I really seem pulled toward the types of comics that are enveloped in a world that allows for an untold amount of storytelling.  I think that is one of the reason I enjoy Fathom so much is because there are so many different stories that can be told with the present day material, but with the history behind the present day material as well.

David Schwartz really has a lot of open ground to work in as he looks back at how the Black became more active in the lives of the Blue and how Aspen Matthews ties them together.  The Fathom Universe has a large number of major players and it’s obvious that Aspen Matthews is the central figure in all of it, but she does not have to be the central figure in the storytelling and Blue Descent is a perfect example.  While this is a story about her parents, Aspen is not front and center in this story, and I think new readers who are curious about the Fathom Universe may see this series as something they can try out and get their toes wet.

Last issue we saw Eilah, Aspen’s mother, being taken from her bed in the middle of the night by a member of the Black.  New readers may be curious about who the Black are and what their ties are with the Blue, and David Schwartz gives you a lot of that information as you read the issue, and it works well within the context of the story.  There’s nothing worse than an insane amount of narration and explanation that is obviously shoehorned in to a story.  Schwartz lays out what the reader needs to know for this particular story and then leaves the rest alone allowing the reader to explore things further if they want more.

This story is pretty clear cut so far, and I’m curious if we’re going to get any curveball thrown our way.  The beginning of the first issue left me with quiet a few questions that I’m sure will be played out as the story moves forward, and I’m not entirely sure the conclusion is something I can really piece together right now, and that just pulls me in to the story all that much more.

The art in this issue provided by Alex Sanchez, John Starr, and Josh Reed is really good.  The story is very serious and has a dark tone to it, as well as being played out in the depths of the ocean and the art reflects that.  Aspen MLT has a lot of really talented artists that have a variety of styles amongst them and it always impresses me that the editors find the artists that fit the writer’s vision and storytelling.  I think the color palette is very moody and really adds to a sense of suspense.  This story doesn’t have a thriller-esque storyline, but the art almost adds that same feel and it works.  While I enjoy a bright and colorful color palette, it just wouldn’t work well with this story and I think it would really be distracting to the reader.

The Verdict?
Fathom: Blue Descent #2 is a strong book with a story that really pulls you in emotionally and artwork that continues to show the industry that Aspen MLT is one of the best publishers.  I recommend this series to new readers of the Fathom Universe who just want to get a taste of what they can expect.  I also recommend they grab everything else, but let’s start small and work ourselves up.  I also highly recommend this series to the regular Fathom Universe readers because I think you’re missing out if you’re not reading Blue Descent.