"Oblivion Song #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics / Skybound
Written by Robert Kirkman
Illustrated by Lorenzo De Felici
Colored by Annalisa Leoni
2018, 44 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on March 7th, 2018
If you’ve walked through some of the shadier parts of Philadelphia, you might think you’ve been transported to another world. In Oblivion Song, that really happened. A chunk of the city, along with everyone in it, was swept away to another dimension full of monsters. Nathan Cole is determined to rescue those trapped in Oblivion, even though the government has practically given up hope on finding them. Years have passed and Nathan is working on his own with limited budget and resources. He has a personal stake in this and nothing is going to stop him.
The world of Oblivion is absolutely terrifying. Strange, flesh-like growths are spread across what remains of the buildings and streets that were once part of one of America’s major metropolitan areas. It’s a cross between a dystopian landscape and Hell itself. Artist Lorenzo De Felici sets the mood of Oblivion Song with dynamite artwork from the beginning. The idea that someone could be stranded here for years, let alone a few hundred thousand people, is chilling.
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Then there are the monsters. Since this is another dimension, the creatures here don’t abide by the same rules and structures that exist in our world. The first one we see is a hulking mass of pale flesh and muscle, barreling down on some unsuspecting humans as they run for their lives. Its power is in its chest and arms, which are far larger than its legs. There are a handful of large eyes on its head that seem to loll around, like sacks of liquid stapled to its skull. It’s gross in every sense of the world.
What is clear is how deadly this entire place is. You can see the fear in the eyes of the runaways, which contrasts nicely with the cool swagger of Nathan as he leaps into action. We get the sense that this is far from his first trip and despite some mechanical failures, he’s fully capable of surviving in this environment. All of this that I’ve told you about so far? This is just the first few pages. It’s only getting started.
Oblivion Song expands from this gripping opener to establish the premise and tie you to Nathan and his drive to rescue people from this other dimension. Writer Robert Kirkman knows a thing or two about storytelling and drops some great character development beats throughout the entire issue. You’ll come for the stunning action sequences and you’ll stay for the otherworldly drama.
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One scene that really stands out is what Nathan does after he successfully rescues these people in the beginning of the book. He wordlessly walks to a monument that lists the names of those who were taken when this strange event happens and he chisels a line through their names. This is such a powerful scene, especially when we pull back to see just how many people are listed there and the handful he’s been able to cross out over the years.
Nathan’s personal reasons for pursuing this so much are revealed as the issue progresses. It isn’t immediately spelled out for us. Instead, pieces of the puzzle are dropped along the way until we can see the full picture. Suddenly, everything clicks and we get this clear understanding of who Nathan is and why he’s doing this. It elevates him from a badass post-apocalyptic warrior to a multi-layered interesting character.
This is a perfect example of how you create a #1 issue. Oblivion Song is the total package, delivering terrifying monsters, personal character development, stunning artwork, and a great story. Do not sleep on this series.