OBLIVION SONG, VOL. 1
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Illustrator: Lorenzo De Felici
Publisher: Image Comics
WHAT IS IT?
A highly localized post-apocalyptic tale of two worlds, the damage left in their wake, and one man who won't stop until he fixes what's broken.
Imagine Annihilation meets The Leftovers, or a horrific, sci-fi Peter Pan.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Awhile back, people in this town and its surrounding area just sort of disappeared while strange landscapes and monsters took their place. No one knew why it happened, but it did, and society is still reeling from it, 10 years later.
Nathan Cole is a brilliant man who has found a way to jump over to this other world of beasts and danger. Little by little, he's able to rescue survivors from the monster-filled wreck of the dimension they were pulled into. But he can only save a few at a time and, after a decade and few funds, his equipment is wearing down. Though he's happy to save others' lives, he’s really looking for his brother. And he’s grown obsessed, determined to find him, one way or another.
But what happens when people don’t want to be found? When this has been their life for so long, they can’t trust a strange man flitting in and out of their reality? What if his brother, Ed, is long-dead and gone, and Nathan just spends the rest of his life searching for him, spending more and more time in this other world and being less and less able to live a normal life in his own?
Robert Kirkman is a master comics writer. He knows when silence is golden and knows how to advance character and plot naturally while keeping it interesting.
Kirkman captures normal humans and their imperfections remarkably, unable to properly cope or heal, uncertain how to move forward – it makes their heroism that much more impressive.
The B-plot is also interesting, thinking about a marriage made more complicated when someone is returned from the other side, and a love interest who has to choose between her career and her boyfriend.
Lorenzo De Felici's art is very lifelike. He brings an ethereal sense of horror to his otherworld environments.
The amount of visual world-building he's done for the other dimension is awe-inspiring, creating entirely new flora and fauna that's more detailed than the moon of Pandora in Avatar.
I also appreciate the real-people-not-Hollywood-starlet "casting" De Felici used in his character design, because actual people aren't all drop-dead-gorgeous.
His cover for this first volume not only does a superior job of showing how he draws the real world and the apocalyptic other world, but I loved how he makes Nathan Cole a stranger, out of place in either world.
Annalisa Leoni does a superb job of helping define the real world and its Oblivion counterpart with their own color palettes. Without Leoni's hard work and thoughtful colors, the shift between dimensions would be more jarring and harder to understand immediately.
I love how the other world's palette is sickly and yellow, giving a foreboding sense that you shouldn't be there, even without seeing the dangerous monsters and fallen city. Leoni also lets us know we're following different characters by switching the palette. Characters don't have specific palettes, but often, scenes change and it goes from daytime with one character to nighttime with another, helping guide the reader through the passage of time and the switch from one person to another.
Rus Wooton's lettering is always professional and thoughtful, which is why, for Oblivion Song, it works that it's so purposely messy. Hand-drawn word balloons and letters that don't always align to the same height are a reminder that life is messy and complicated, and getting even more so every minute for these characters.
Serious PTSD examination within is reminiscent of soldiers surviving war zones, unable to rejoin society, and re-enlisting.
Representation is strong, with people of color, strong women and characters of all different ages.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
A couple times, we miss an action because the panels don’t show what happens. For example, when Nathan’s cuffs come off in one scene, an "insert shot" panel could have shown this clearly and quickly.
The monsters can blend in with the environment sometimes. This might be intentional, thinking about the creatures' evolution, but sometimes, you don't know if you're looking at a monster or a landscape.
I don't know if any of the characters are likable, exactly, or if it's easy to identify with any of them. That being said, Oblivion Song is plenty interesting that it doesn't feel necessary.
Some characters’ faces are heavily lined, but not others. At first, I thought Oblivion ages them prematurely, but it wasn’t like that for all characters.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Oblivion Song is a strong examination of love and loss, trauma and moving on (or the inability to), the will to make it better against impossible odds, and the question on the value of life, both domestic and foreign, familiar and strange. It's beautiful, and emotional, and extremely well made. I highly recommend it, especially to fans of dystopian science fiction.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Invincible, Vol. 1 by Robert Kirkman & Cory Walker
Deep Roots by Dan Watters & Val Rodrigues
Arcadia by Alex Paknadel & Eric Scott Pfeiffer
If you like the art:
Drakka by Brrémaud & Lorenzo De Felici
4HOODS by Sergio Bonelli Editore & Riccardo Torti
X-Men: Inferno by various creators
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Robert Kirkman – Writer
Name Recognition: Perhaps most famous for writing The Walking Dead, but still a (relatively recent) titan of the comics creative industry
Multitalented: Sometimes letters his own comics, and he also started and runs the Skybound imprint at Image Comics, home to his titles and others
Recently signed a production deal with Amazon for future TV shows to be produced for Amazon Prime
Lorenzo De Felici – Illustrator
Outlander: Hails from Italy
His style tends to lean toward moody lighting, hooded figures and horror elements – perfect for this title!
Annalisa Leoni – Colorist
Multitalented: Also has experience illustrating, doing character design and storyboard/environment art
Outlander: Also lives in Italy
Rus Wooton – Letterer
Multitalented: Though an extremely talented letterer, Wooton is also a designer and artist
Test of Time: Has been lettering comics since 2003
Though he's been disabled since a surfing accident in 1990, he re-taught himself how to draw and letter and has been an outspoken voice for the disabled community
Arielle Basich – Associate Editor
Interned at Dark Horse Comics, then has worked as an editor at Skybound Entertainment since August, 2015
Sean Mackiewicz – Editor
Multitalented: Is also the writer on Image Comics series, Gasolina and the Senior Vice-President/Editor-in-Chief of Skybound Entertainment, an imprint of Image Comics
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