Aspen is biologically the daughter of Eilah of The Blue and Rahger of The Black. In order to save his race Rahger, leader of The Black, decided that his people needed to breed with the newer race of waterkin. To accomplish this, Rahger seduced Eilah of The Blue—the only successful mating of the two races. Aspen as the only being of her kind is the most powerful of all The Blue and The Black; it is this power that causes others try to manipulate or destroy her, or seek her as a savior.
Fathom was created by Michael Turner in 1998 for Top Cow at Image. This initial series (volume 1) comprised 14 issues, before 2002, when Turner was diagnosed with Cancer and severed his contract with Top Cow/Image. Talent Caldwell took over the penciling duties for the remainder of the Top Cow run of the Fathom universe.
Turner's cancer eventually went into remission for a while. This resulted in him leaving Top Cow and creating his own company, Aspen MLT. However, after Turner left Top Cow, he was forced into a legal battle for the rights to the Fathom universe, which he eventually won. Aspen MLT relaunched the series in 2004 with interior art by a team, however he did work with the writers in the story plannings and special cover art.
Major Story Arcs
Aspen was born of The Blue, a race of aquatic beings that could mentally control water (and sometimes ice). Being a Blue, Aspen lived underwater with the rest of her people. Her parents were leaders of a group that believed that their people should stay underwater and away from humans. There were others who disagreed, but they couldn't do anything about it since Aspen's parents had the love of the people. When Aspen was eleven years old (Year 1988 in the comics), she and her older brother, Finn, came home from a late night swim to discover their parents being murdered by a group of dissidents led by Killian. They fled, stealing a ship and heading away as fast as possible. Killian's people followed them but their ship exploded and they were presumed dead.
Aspen's latent powers activated and she survived. Her brother, on the other hand, was hit by a beam and disappeared (It was later revealed that the beam caused his body to become permanently water-based). Aspen somehow wound up on a ship called Paradise. She was found by the crew of the ship who alerted Captain Matthews, who was a passenger on the ship, because their Captain was busy with the other passengers. Aspen had no memory of her previous life, so she was adopted and raised by Captain Matthews. Though she didn't remember what she was, she never forgot her love for the water. Aspen never called Captain Matthews "dad" or "father", she always referred to him as " Captain Matthews," even though it was too formal, she just became used to it. Captain Matthews was mostly away due to his service to the U.S. Navy. She was an excellent swimmer and even made it to the 1988 Olympics in Korea at the age of fifteen. After winning a gold medal and breaking the world record by thirty seconds, the committee forced her to take a drug test. She tested negative for performance enhancing drugs, but an analysis of her blood showed that she induced Erythrocythemia (also known as blood doping), an illegal form of performance enhancing in which a person injects themselves with their own blood, increasing their red blood cells, endurance, and oxygen capacity (It is most likely due to her being a Blue). This ended her career as a professional swimmer. Aspen was disqualified from the 1988 competition, banned from the 1992 and 1996 Olympic games, and "disgraced her country." After this tragedy, she became a Marine Biologist in order to have a job that kept her in the water most of the time.
Aspen is now a marine biologist and was at San Diego, California swimming around. Aspen was getting ready to go to the airport because she was invited to join a team that was investigating a strange ship they had found at the bottom of the sea as well as its occupant, Killian. The ship couldn't be moved, so the team was set up at a DMD base (Deep Marine Discovery) beneath the sea near the ship. She didn't know it at the time, but the ship belonged to her people and they were watching the human scientists. Unfortunately for Aspen, she was forced to travel to the DMD base with her ex-boyfriend from her first research job, Jack. Upon arriving at the DMD base, she was introduced to the Director of DMD, Alexander Jarvis, who took Aspen and Jack on a tour. After Director Jarvis showed Aspen the Blue’s ship, she catches her first glimpse of Cannon Hawke. She later began doing her job and started analyzing the ship trying to figure out its origin. Afterwards, Director Jarvis would take Aspen to the laboratory, where he shows her Killian. Aspen was shocked to discover that this is the same species that she encountered when she was young. At the same time, a pilot of the US Navy named Chance was testing out a prototype plane that could fly underwater. He encountered some of the Blue and fired a torpedo at them. However, they avoided it and the missile headed straight for the DMD base instead. The missile then locked on to the heat signature of the power generators and headed straight for it. It destroys the generator and things seemed to calm at first. However, rocks broke apart and fell on to the DMD. Eventually, the crew would all be killed when water begun flooding the base. Director Jarvis took a Blue armor and left while everyone else was fending for their lives. Aspen and Jack were locked in the laboratory as it was the only thing keeping the water out. Eventually, the water would break through and begin flooding the lab. Jack tries to reconcile with Aspen, but Aspen decides to free Killian in the tank hoping he could save them, but was not able to break the tube and free Killian. the water began to fill up quickly and Aspen found herself engulfed in water. As she stood there underwater, she eventually passed out. Killian was able to break out of the tube, he then grabs Aspen and pulls her out of the base. As Killian continues to pull her, he is attacked by a stranger that made of water. The two battle, but Killian has back-up arrive. Fortunately for the water stranger, humans arrived. The water stranger then touched Aspen and activated her powers. Chance is able to recover Aspen and takes her to the Oahu General Hospital at Honolulu, Hawaii. At the hospital, the doctors do some tests on Aspen and discover abnormality in her body. She has something that looks similar to a tumor in her brain, but it's actually just brain tissue. They also discover that she had four to five times the lung capacity of an Olympic swimmer.
Aspen eventually reawakens two days later and was greeted by Akiko ( Cannon Hawke’s assistant). The two begin to talk about how they were able to escape and that it was a sign to start a new life. Aspen was still confused at how she was able to escape and remembered the “ocean” was talking to her. Aspen would soon be released from the hospital and was allowed to return to her home in San Diego. Chance would eventually meet up with Aspen at her San Diego home. He talks to her about how he saw her dissolve into water just like the enemy that he was firing at. The next morning, Aspen went to buy some bagels where she was drugged and abducted by some government lackeys. Meanwhile, Cannon had been keeping an eye on Aspen from a distance and immediately followed her as soon as she was kidnapped. Aspen was soon turned over to Killian, however, Cannon was able to retrieve Aspen from Killian. Killian was able to retake Aspen from Cannon. Cannon then fought one of his men and was able to render him unconscious. Aspen was allowed to swim around for awhile as she continued to try and figure out some answers. However, her fun soon stopped as Killian and his army confronted her. Killian tells her the truth about her origins and also tells her of their plans to fight the humans, who endanger their way of life. Aspen became excited that she is now living a fantasy in reality, and Killian begins to teach her to control her powers. Aspen was soon ready and she would be put to the test. Off the shores of Costa Rica, Killian planned for Aspen to attack a Japanese Naval facility while he and others backed her up if she makes any mistakes. They would engage against a group of soldiers and Aspen makes her first kill.
The humans had tested a hydrogen bomb and had accidentally destroyed a Blue city, causing a lot of commotion among the Blue. Killian had always hated humans but with the destruction of a city, he was able to gather followers. At the time it wasn't known why, but Aspen had water controlling abilities far greater than other Blues. (This was because she was part Black, but that wasn't revealed until much later.) Killian planned to have Aspen use these abilities to power a massive energy source known as the Blue Sun which they would use as a weapon against the humans. Back at Easter Island, Killian had Aspen prepare herself to operate the Apparatus. Aspen is successful in activating it and shortly afterwards, she has a little chat with Kyla, who tells her not to let Killian push her around. Next, Kyla and Aspen headed near New Zealand, where the second installation of the Apparatus was located. Aspen meets Taras and then activated it easily. Next, they headed for another Apparatus installation at a place where a Blue army was gathering. As they readied Aspen to power the final installation, but Cannon Hawke and his team arrives just before she was to activate it. Kyla then revealed that she was working for Cannon undercover and a battle ensues. Aspen was pinned down by Taras, but was easily defeated. Cannon tries to reason with Aspen but she knocks him away from her. After Cannon talks to Chance on his ear piece, Aspen finally calms down. Meanwhile, Killian had allied himself with Director Jarvis, and without Aspen, he is forced to use the water stranger that saved Aspen earlier. Kyla reveals to Aspen that Killian has lied to Aspen and she tried to keep Aspen sane for the time being. Taras then kills Kyla while she was talking to Aspen. It quickly angered Aspen and she displays the potential of her power. They picked up Kyla and headed to rescue Chance, who was drowning in Cannon’s ship. They hide in a safe spot where Kyla told her that they weren't a warlike race and that most Blue didn't want to kill the humans. Kyla dies soon afterwards. Cannon then reveals her past to her, he tells Aspen that she was well loved as a child of the Blue, and that her parents were well respected. He reveals that she had a brother, and when she was eleven years old, she and her brother were swimming outside their parent’s place when an attack happened. Her parents were killed and Cannon was rendered useless. The perpetrator was Killian and his Dissidents. Aspen would unleash her latent ability and was able to escape. Aspen realized her mistake and went with Cannon to stop Killian.
By the time they reached him, Killian had already activated the Blue Sun and a beam of energy was blasting from space and making a hole in the ocean, and the energy was getting stronger every second. Aspen, Chance, and Cannon headed for a place called the Chanarnay, which translates to “Valley of Stairs” and is a historical place for the Blue. Cannon then tells Aspen that if Killian succeeds in drilling a hole there, it would become a big catastrophe. Killian would fire a blast at Cannon, and then Cannon engages against Taras. Cannon eventually throws Taras into the Blue Light. The Blue beam would cause the ground to break, causing Aspen and Killian to fall below. Aspen was knocked out and Killian threw her in the beam, he then began battling Cannon. The beam had destroyed Aspen's body, but she reformed herself out of a mixture of energy and water. She came back out just as Killian was beating Cannon. She took Killian apart molecule by molecule and told Cannon to run while she stopped the Blue Sun. Turning fully into energy, she flew up to the Sun and destroyed it, causing a chain reaction which destroyed the three Apparatus. The hole in the ocean closed up and just when Cannon had given up on the thought that Aspen had survived, she came up out of the water looking completely normal.
Baha and Big Moe
After the events of Blue Sun, a monster appeared at Sea World during one of Shamu’s shows. Meanwhile, Aspen had been staying at her place near the beach while Chance laid low, as he was still U.A. (Unauthorized Absence). While Aspen was surfing, she encounters the giant monster and decides to swim after it. A weird vehicle swims right by Aspen and she sees a man saluting her inside. Back at home, she tries to research the monster on the internet. Someone knocks on her door and Aspen opens it to see an old man who does not know who she is or why she is there. They talk for a while and it only confuses Aspen more. After the lights go out, she lights a candle he begins acting like he remembers what he was supposed to do. He puts his helmet on Aspen and tells her to go outside and in his self-made submarine to go after Big Moe. She somehow became part of his team and they both went after the sea monster together on his weird, self-made submarine. He tells her his name is Baha and proceeds to putting on armor for Aspen to protect her. They found the beast, however, there was more then one. Eventually, Aspen would have to leave the submarine and fight the three beasts. Aspen did not want to kill the creature, but was forced to kill two of them. However, she did let one of them go since the old man will never actually capture it. After a short fight in which Aspen and Baha (the old man) almost died, Big Moe escaped. Aspen didn't follow Baha as he left to continue the hunt, she had already had too much adventure in the short time they spent together.
The Arctic Blue
Aspen is taking a vacation in the mountains, snowboarding with her roommate Tyler Kincair. The duo are forced to return early from their trip as Tyler injures her ankle on the ski slopes. Meanwhile, after spending a night with Lara Croft, Cannon Hawke is kidnapped by agents of the Arctic Blue. Their leader Vana's son (Taras) was killed by Cannon during the events of Blue Sun and she wanted to fix that. She planned to use Cannon's body to remake her son, so she had Biranha, her other son, abduct him. Lara soon discovered him missing and contacted her friend Sara Pezzini to have her get Aspen, since Cannon had been talking about her and Lara knew what she was capable of. Aspen and Sara went to meet up with Lara but before they could, they too were attacked by the Arctic Blue. Sara uses her Witchblade but one of the Arctic Blue liquefied himself and disappeared. She went to check up on Aspen, who had been thrown through a window into a club. They were then confronted by the other Arctic Blues and were kidnapped and brought to their base. Lara watched from a distance and evaded capture, she eventually made her way to the base to bust everyone out. Meanwhile, after Sara and Aspen woke up, Aspen told her about the underwater race and Sara told her about the Witchblade. Lara infiltrated the Arctic Blue’s base and snuck around until she found Cannon, horribly disfigured. Lara confronts Biranha and Vana, then begins shooting at them. They attacked back and Lara was forced to retreat. Meanwhile, Sara would use the Witchblade to destroy the machine that was holding them. Lara then comes through the door to greet the two. Lara escorts the two out of the base as there would be more room to fight outside. Lara then reveals that Cannon had been altered and that she owed a debt to him, and also that he was one of her few friend. She then tells the two how she met Cannon. Lara had been offered a job to retrieve a jewel where one of her top competition failed. Lara arrived at the last know area where her competition was and grabbed the jewel. However, a boulder fell onto her and trapped her. She would reawaken to see that Cannon had rescued her. Cannon dives off her yacht and she turns the jewel over to the person who offered her a job. Cannon shows up as an acquaintance of the buyer, surprising Lara. Lara then tells the two that this place is like a military complex, and they headed for a vacant ship to retrieve the Arctic Blue’s weapons. The three of them went back for Cannon and would be discovered, Lara shoots and destroys their ship and causes the ground to break. Sara falls through the hole and finds herself in another level of the complex. Lara and Aspen headed for Cannon while Sara was captured by the Arctic Blue. The Arctic Blue then threw Sara in the water and proceeded to “practice” on her. Sara uses her Witchblade to defeat the Arctic Blues that were attacking her under water. Aspen ended up fighting Vana while the Lara got Cannon and Sara battle Biranha. Vana would overpower Aspen and began freezing her, however, Aspen would stab Vana with one of the icicles on her face. With Cannon free, Taras' body (which had been using Cannon's body to grow) died and Vana went mad with grief, destroying the entire mountain base in a blast of ice. Aspen and the others barely made it out in time with the help of the Witchblade.
Note: The original version is no longer "canon" as Turner parted ways with Top Cow (and Top Cow no longer has the license for Lara Croft). Turner remastered the final 3 issues.
Aspen and the Black
Aspen had been having dreams of her mother and a mysterious stranger. Later, she quietly stands above the ocean to gather her thoughts. Aspen then fell into the water and sees a ship emerge. She meets Kiani, Killian's daughter for the first time, who was with Cannon. Kiani tells Aspen if she wanted to learn about her parents, then to come with them. They realize that balls of water began forming near major cities. Aspen meets Casque for the first time and begun asking questions. However, they were interrupted by a group of dark dwellers, who had broken through their ship. A battle breaks out and Kiani was able to fend off some of the dwellers from Aspen. Aspen then gets abducted by one of the dwellers that emerge out of the ocean. They took Aspen down under the ocean to another underworld city inhabited by a race called "The Black". Aspen discovers Casque in one of the rooms. Casque tells Aspen that the only way for him to find her was to follow his brethren the Black. Casque tells her that he will answer all her questions and begins telling her the history of the Black and Blue. Casque reveals that the Black are regarded as “Gods” to the Blue and that Aspen is a hybrid of a “mortal” and a “God,” which is why Killian killed her parents and tried to manipulate her. Casque then offers to introduce Aspen to her biological father. Aspen meets her biological father, Ragher. Aspen learns that her mother, who was a Blue, was secretly in love with a Ragher, who was a Black. Therefore Aspen is half Blue and half Black and is the reason why she has such extraordinary control over water. Ragher tells her that the reason he decided to contact her now is that because their worlds are in peril. He reveals that he needs her to punish the humans for their wrong doings. Aspen, who had heard the same thing from Killian, uses her powers and pushes her father away. As Aspen attempts to leave the city, she discovers similar markings to the area where she killed Killian.
When Aspen returns to the surface, she heads back to her home. However, her roommate had a job overseas and there was a new and dirty roommate. She went to her room and grab a few stuff before she tried calling her father, Captain Matthews. Captain Matthews did not pick up and Aspen did not know what to do, eventually she stumbles across a magazine with a jet pilot on it, and remembers about Chance. Aspen uses her abilities to sneak into the men’s locker room while Chance was showering. Chance later tells Aspen that Admiral Maylander had attacked one of the underwater cities. Chance decides to help Aspen out searching for Captain Matthews. At a gas station, Aspen tells Chance about what had transpired recently and they would continue their search for Captain Matthews. They eventually arrived at Captain Matthew’s home in the desert to find no one there, but the door was unlocked. They enter the home and Aspen finds Captain Matthews in his room lying on his bed. They quickly find out that it was a trap and all three of them are locked in the house. Aspen uses her powers to bust out of the house, but she is shot down by the army. They hop into Chance’s car and drive away, Aspen had began to dehydrate. They eventually end up at Hoover Dam and tosses Aspen into the water. The army arrive shortly afterwards and subdued Captain Matthews and Chance. Luckily, Aspen regains her powers and unleashes her power on the army. A missile was launched at Aspen but ends up exploding on the dam, releasing tons of water. Aspen uses her powers to create a storm for the three of them to escape. She talks with Captain Matthews for a bit then talked with Chance, revealing her feelings for him and kisses him. A mysterious water figure emerges from the water and Aspen would reunite with her long lost brother, Finn, who mysteriously saved her during the Blue Sun. The army started to attack their underwater cities which nearly triggers a massive war. However, Aspen comes and helps fend off the army and since The Blue received so much damage, they could not retaliate.
Finn asks Aspen to take him to Saba, the underwater city. However, once they arrived all they found were ruins. The humans were still there and began attacking Finn. Aspen catches Finn and protects him from incoming fire, long enough for Cannon to arrive with a ship and rescue the two. Finn reveals to Aspen that when they were escaping from Killian, he was shot by a beam transforming him to the water form, while Aspen was lost on the Paradise ship. They finally arrive at Muria where the ensuing battle between the Blue and the humans were taking place. Aspen jumps right in to help the Blue. After all the destruction, Aspen could not take it anymore and decides to unleash her full potential. She knocks the human ships out of the water and began attacking the Navy. Aspen eventually destroys most of the ships, ending the war. Aspen then met up with Captain Matthews and Chance at a house in Mexico.
A few months after the war ends, the Black has planned on destroying the humans and the Blue, while Cannon found out about their movement. He also discover that Aspen's brother wasn't really him at all, it was Killian who was portraying as Finn all along and he told Aspen the truth about Killian. Kiani, now has her hatred on the humans joins her father to attack the humans while the Black destroys Rio de Janiero with great power of water. Aspen and Chance go on a rescue mission to save Finn from Chance's brother, Chris Calloway. The three finally reached Muria and Aspen confront Killian, but Killian wants to help her and her friends to defeat the Black, but Kiani has her ways by not joining with her father and she still wants revenge on the humans. Killian joins Aspen, Cannon and the rest of the Blue to fight the Black in Turkey where Maylander and his soldiers preparing to fight and allied with the Blue. As the Black prepare to attack the human surface for a final showdown with the Blue and the humans, Aspen confronts her father, Ragher once again. She fights back using her powers of the Black to defeat him, but Ragher's powers managed to electrocute her until Chance fires him with a experimental weapon that dries him up. While trying to help him get back in the water to recover, Ragher shows Aspen's true birthmark that she's still one of the Black. Aspen uses her power to stop the rest of the Black, but Casque who was on Ragher's side reveals to Aspen and told her the war is over and they took Ragher back to the deep for recovery. Aspen and Killian returned to the surface and Aspen found out that Kiani has killed Cannon. Aspen and Kiani fight against each other for the first time, but Aspen manages to destroy Kiani with the same power that she used against Killian. Back in Muria, Aspen and allies mourn Cannon's death and Killian and his wife mourn their daughter. Aspen says goodbye to Chance and Finn and promise she'll return to see them. Aspen goes for a swim to continue her life and adventure.
Powers & Abilities
Aspen's unique heritage provides her with amazing powers. Like all Blue, she can manipulate water, but since she is also a Black she can do this to a much greater degree than other Blues. She can instantly form massive waves and tsunamis without even thinking about it, as well as control the oceans if storms or other things cause them to become destructive. Her powers don't only work on a large scale though; she can form water into solid shapes or even make it sturdy enough to walk on. Aspen can control all liquid, allowing her to even change the flow of blood in someone's body or rip it out to kill them. She can change her physical body into water, letting it disperse and being able to pull herself back together. She also has the potential for massive amounts of ice control, though it hasn't been shown yet. As a Black she is capable of healing wounds (even fatal ones), shooting blasts of energy from her hands and becoming energy herself. She has been shown to have had her body destroyed and to remake it out of energy and water. She also has telepathy, but she's only used it with the Blacks, who are telepaths themselves.
Aside from her powers, Aspen is physically in great condition. Even before she knew about her powers, she was an Olympic swimmer and always kept in shape. Her basic biology is slightly different than other humans in that she has some additional brain tissue, her red-cell density is twice the average, she has the more flexible bone structure of someone still growing, and she naturally has 5 times the lung capacity of an Olympic swimmer. Aspen is also very intelligent and extremely knowledgeable about things involving water and the ocean thanks to her extensive education and experience as a marine biologist.
- Height: 5' 6"
- Weight: 120 lbs
- Eyes: Blue
- Hair: Blackish Blue
Aspen Matthews was ranked #46 in Comic Buyer's Guide's 100 Sexiest Women in Comics list.