|Publisher||Aspen MLT (2003-present)
Top Cow (1998-2002)
|First appearance||Fathom Preview (1998)|
|Created by||Michael Turner|
|Team affiliations||The Blue and The Black|
Fictional character biography
Aspen Matthews is caught between two worlds. During her early adolescence, she could remember nothing from her early childhood. In her earliest memories she is on the cruise ship Paradise, thought to have been lost for ten years. She was adopted by Captain Matthews, a US Navy captain, and soon developed a passion for water, running to the nearest beach every day to enjoy her favorite recreations of swimming and surfing. She actively pursued this passion and showing tremendous aptitude eventually joined the US Olympic Swimming Team. She trained hard and was chosen to compete in the Olympic Games. However she was eliminated as she tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs despite never having taken any (see Fathom: Prelude #1 for more details). This effectively ended Aspen's professional swimming career, so she chose to study marine biology.
Aspen eventually began to remember bits of her early childhood, including a memory with her mother talking to a member of the mysterious race known as the Black.
Killian and the Blue
Aspen continued to study marine biology, graduating as a marine biologist. Eventually, she was invited to participate in a deep underwater research station called Deep Marine Discovery (DMD). The primary goal of the DMD was to study a strange alien ship that seemed to have a symbiotic relationship with the surrounding water. Aspen also learns that the DMD was holding a strange alien man named Killian, who had voluntarily surrendered himself. However Aspen did not have much time to study him, as the DMD was suddenly torpedoed by mistake. Killian freed himself, and attempted to abduct Aspen. However, a strange figure intervened and saved Aspen.
After the event at the DMD, from which she was one of the few survivors, Aspen's life began to grow much more complicated. Admiral Maylander discovered that while her anatomy was somewhat similar is not human. Aspen also encountered Chance Calloway, a naval fighter pilot and shooter of the torpedo. Although she scorned him at first, they developed a mutual degree of respect. Later Aspen was abducted and seduced by Killian who told her that she was one of the Blue, a race of underwater people living in the ocean and have been around for longer than humans. Aspen was also an Elite Blue, meaning she could not only breathe underwater, but also manipulate it to her will. She was persuaded to help set up a number of battle stations in a plan to conquer the human race. The battle stations eventually activated the Blue Sun, a weapon-satellite capable of sending a massive energy beam. The beam was used to penetrate the ocean floor.
Eventually, the enigmatic Cannon Hawke rescued Aspen away from Killian and his dissidents, who were molding her into their weapon of hatred. He enlightened Aspen of the largely peaceful Blue culture, and the need of stopping Killian's plans. With the help of Cannon and Chance, she did thwart Killian's plan, and in the process tapped into her deeper powers, which were far more powerful than anyone could have imagined.
Enter the Black
Although Aspen did experience some well-deserved down time after the events surrounding the Blue Sun, she was soon abducted by yet another enigmatic race of underwater people, the Black. They took her to the bottom of the ocean, where she meets her biological father, Rahger, himself a Black. This explained her extraordinary ability to manipulate water. Rahger tried to sway Aspen towards the Black point of view and to use her in their own plans for Humanity. However, tired of being manipulated, Aspen rejects his efforts and leaves the Black. Choosing her own way she returns to the surface.
Love and War
Upon Aspen's return, she discovers that Humanity has learned of the Blue's existence, and the two are on the verge of war. Unsure what to do, she tracks down Chance Calloway, and the two outsmart the US government. The two also realize that they have feelings towards each other. Now, Aspen intends to rejoin Cannon Hawke and the rest of the Blue to end the war once and for all.
With her memories returning, Aspen becomes aware of and finds her biological brother, Finn. Finn was the water being who saved Aspen from the clutches of Killian back at the DMD. In the volume three series of Fathom, Finn was captured by Chris Calloway, brother of Chance and an associate to Admiral Maylander, the man that made some deals with Killian that aren't really cleared about. When Aspen found out where her brother was held captive, she and Chance rescued him in a well-hidden facility in the woods and defeats every enemy Chris hired them to do. After he was found, Finn and Aspen explained each other how long they had been missing and how their lives changed.
War against the Black and Battle with Kiani
Aspen's biological father, Rahger and the Black has plans to rewrite the history of the Blue, starting with the demise of the human race. It's up to the Blue to save the planet and all of mankind, while Aspen battles Rahger. After Aspen use her power to defeat him, the Black took the severely injured Rahger, plans not to continue on their destruction on earth and return to the deep. After the war ends, Aspen battles Kiani, an Elite Blue and Killian's daughter who was Aspen and Cannon's ally friend and now an enemy to them. She joined Killian (who is now resurrected) to get retribution on the humans. During the final stage of the Black invasion, Cannon tries to stop Kiani, but she refused and killed him with her own sword. Aspen becomes angered by Kiani and destroys her with her ultimate power.
New Enemies, Friends and Various Adventures
Aspen Matthews has gone in several adventures, join with new friends and allies and face new creatures including the parasitic Ceratonotus Steiningeri. Aspen fought these fiends when they try to kill the vice president and plan to wipe out the human race. Aspen also went on a dangerous adventure along with her friends, Judith, Colin and two other associates. They managed to survive from two warring factions in the deep along with a mysterious Church of Eternal Depths. Aspen saves Judith when she was possessed by a Blue-like power entity from a failed experiment and Aspen, Judith and others got out safely.
Aspen, still at a decisive crossroads in her life-with the memories of her past no longer weighing her down has joined Killian's wife, Anya on a mission to help her find her baby named Anika until Kiani, who came back from her death vows to get her revenge on Aspen. Aspen and Kiani battle it out for round two, but then they ended up teaming together to stop Taras, one of Killian's old member of his group from taking control of Anika. Aspen, Kiani and Anya failed to save Anika when Taras' secret weapon she's trap in explodes, but unfortunately she is still alive and she's held captive by the resurrected Vana, who was defeated by Aspen from the past since saving Cannon.
Powers and 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 Blue's. She can instantly form massive waves and tsunami's 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.