In March, Kiani is back.
For Fathom fans, Kiani's return not only brings back a fan-favorite character, but it also gives readers a peek at what's happening with the underwater residents of the universe while the main series concentrates on dry land.
The second volume of the Fathom: Kiani series begins in March with a #0 issue written by Aspen Editor-in-Chief Vince Hernandez. The four-issue volume that follows will feature art by Oliver Nome.
Of course, how Kiani returns is a mystery, since she was killed by Aspen at the end of Fathom Volume 3. But Hernandez promised that readers will get a full explanation, and will see that there were hints early on about how she is able to return.
To find out more about the character's return, we talked to Hernandez, who has a special connection with Kiani.
Newsarama: Vince, the return of Kiani is pretty exciting for Fathom fans. Is this something you've been intending to do for awhile?
Vince Hernandez: Yeah, we wanted to keep focusing on this character because people really love her. We did an original Fathom: Kiani volume 1 about three years ago, and it was well received. People love that character. She's kind of the antithesis to the main character, Aspen Matthews.
Aspen is very strong in her own right. She's been pulled by opposing forces this whole time. But Kiani's the opposite of that. She's very fierce and action-driven.
Those two are the most popular characters in Fathom, so it made sense to continue on with Kiani's journey.
Nrama: But last time we saw Kiani, she was dead, right?
Nrama: Is this set in the past?
Hernandez: No, it's not. The last time we saw Kiani, Aspen had actually killed her in the very last issue of Fathom: Volume 3. Our volume of Kiani doesn't start off right there. But there is an explanation of how she came back. I've always been a person who usually doesn't like seeing a character killed and then being brought back, but we had always planned for Kiani to have that encounter with Aspen then have this kind of rebirth. It plays exactly into the plans we had for her.
Once people read issue #0, they'll know exactly how she came back. Anybody who has read the original Kiani appearances in Dawn of War, in Volume 1 of Kiani, they'll be able to pick up on some of the reasons how she came back. But new readers will also get a full explanation. It's made very clear in the very first issue how she comes back.
Nrama: Fathom was getting a lot of attention for awhile because Megan Fox was attached to the property. But right now, the real news is all this comic material you're releasing. You guys have been producing a lot of Fathom material lately!
Hernandez: Yeah, we're currently in the fourth volume of the regular Fathom series and there have been other mini-series. A lot of people don't realize that, because we've been putting out a lot of Fathom minis and different volumes. We just kind of put our head down and kept putting them out.
We're deep into volume 4 now, and the Kiani storyline runs parallel with that.
While the stuff in Fathom: Volume 4 is very human-oriented with Aspen, this Kiani story is where Fathom fans can get their underwater fix with the characters from the Blue that they enjoy from the first three volumes.
Nrama: How does this volume of Kiani expand upon what we're seeing in Fathom right now? Is it because it's showing what's going on in the underwater world?
Hernandez: Yeah, that's a big part of it. This takes place at an interesting time in the Fathom universe, because the regular Fathom series is more focused on the above-the-surface world. Aspen has gone off on her own, and she's getting into adventures that don't happen under the surface right now. So this is our under-the-surface story that we can tell while the other one's going on.Kiani focuses more on what's going on with the Blue, which is the underwater race.
Nrama: How would you describe what's going on with the Blue?
Hernandez: Well, Fathom fans will know that Volume 3 ended with a huge war. But the human race and the Blue formed a truce. That sounds great, and sounds like a happy ending. But now we're getting past that and realizing that a lot of the underwater races didn't want this pact. And for them it's a very scary time.
This volume of Kiani is relevant to what's happening in the news today. She's a hero to them because of her resistance to this larger human race that wants to occupy their lands.
I think the themes we're seeing in Kiani are familiar to readers because of the terrorism that's been going on during the past decade in the world.
I hope Fathom fans and even new readers should pick up on that. This is definitely a darker story, and you're going to see a lot of reactions from these races to the wars in the two volumes past.
Nrama: You mentioned earlier that Kiani is very "fierce and action-driven." Is this Kiani volume really action-oriented?
Hernandez: It's got a lot of action, but it's also a character piece. The first volume was definitely character driven.
With Fathom, we tend to focus more on telling the story of the characters with these huge action set pieces built around that. And Kiani's no different.
Nrama: What can you tell me about this new artist?
Hernandez: It's Oliver Nome, who used to work with WildStorm. He's also done a few books with DC, including Mister Terrific.
He also worked for us on Executive Assistant: Lotus, which people loved. Readers just loved his art. And that was a book I wrote, so it naturally fit in my plans to just have Oliver jump onto this and work with me again.
I really wanted somebody on this series that had a love for the characters and the property. And I know, in speaking with Oliver in the past, he's expressed an interest in Fathom.
When I was looking for the artist who would take over for Marcus To after his volume, Oliver was one of the first names that came to mind. And after speaking to him, he was overly excited and really wanted to put in the effort.
A book like this, with underwater scenes and huge levels of details, I really wanted somebody who was going to give 110 percent. And Oliver was perfect.
Nrama: Will there be more Kiani after this four-issue volume?
Hernandez: Yeah, if all goes well, there will be a third volume. We have a trilogy planned for it.
Nrama: Vince, you've been doing a lot of writing. Is this fun for you to get to round out Fathom's world?
Hernandez: Absolutely! As the editor-in-chief, it's like each project's your baby. But Fathom was my original book. When I first started working in comics in 1998, Fathom #2 was the first book that I had ever been a part of. So this book has surrounded my life for the past decade.
I treasure these characters. Kiani especially, because that was the first series I ever wrote, in Kiani: Volume 1. So, yeah, I'm having a lot of fun. Expanding the universe.I think that's the biggest misconception people have with Fathom is that they think it's just some underwater girl, like a female Namor or something. And that's not what it's about. It's a huge tale set between humans and the Blue and there are multiple characters that haven't even been explored yet. It's a huge universe that hasn't been explored yet, and I'm having a blast expanding it for our readers.
Nrama: Then to finish up, Vince, as we go into 2012, can you give us a hint of the type of things Aspen is doing next year?
Hernandez: We have a big 2012 planned for the properties. I know a lot of fans have been waiting for news about Fathom outside the print world, and definitely, they should stay tuned because we have some exciting news planned.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!