OBLIVION SONG #1 by Robert Kirkman and Lorenzo De Felici
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
OBLIVION SONG #1 builds the foundation for what will undoubtedly be a beautiful series. There's a great deal of promise in this series, and I look forward to seeing it continue for a long, long time.
97 %
A Harmonic Success

WALKING DEAD creator Robert Kirkman recently concluded his long-running series, INVINCIBLE. In its place, he has graciously gifted us with OBLIVION SONG #1, the beginning of a series that promises to be some of the author’s best work. Joining Kirkman on this new adventure is artist Lorenzo De Felici. De Felici brings with him an emotive and energetic style that seamlessly captures the hectic nature of the story Kirkman is telling. This creative team comes together to deliver an enticing story that will no doubt keep readers hooked for the series’ entirety.

Given that this is the first issue of the series, there’s a lot to inform the reader: who the characters are, what events have occurred, and what the hell Oblivion actually is. Thankfully, we get tons of detail in OBLIVION SONG #1, and none of it feels forced or over-abundant. While Kirkman gives you loads of details, he also leaves you with questions, which is good; it’ll keep you coming back for more. Take, for example, the opening quote that comes before page one and perfectly sets the tone for OBLIVION SONG #1. It, as we later learn, describes Oblivion: the breeze, the creatures in the distance, and the insects all coming together “like nothing I’d ever heard before.” “It was like music,” the quote concludes.

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The World of OBLIVION SONG #1: What We Know So Far

As OBLIVION SONG #1 begins, we’re introduced to the alien landscape known as Oblivion. Because of an event known as “The Transference,” a piece of another dimension was transposed onto Philadelphia. We don’t know how this happened, yet. What we do know is that society has somehow managed to separate Oblivion from the rest of the world. Unfortunately, there are still thousands of people trapped in Oblivion. These survivors are constantly on the run from freakish monsters and creatures, while also dealing with the mangled environment of Oblivion.

Enter Nathan Cole. Nathan ventures into Oblivion to save survivors of the Transference. At one point, his operation was much larger; he had a huge team of people to aid him in this venture. As time went on, fewer and fewer survivors were found, and so Nathan’s operation was shut down due to lack of government funding. However, Nathan continues to journey into Oblivion, even though he has to go alone and deal with shoddy equipment. Nathan’s friends, Duncan and Bridget, assist him from back home.

OBLIVION SONG #1
Image Courtesy of Image Comics

Kirkman explains all of this very fluidly. It is in no way, shape, or form forced upon the reader. These details come as the story plays out. There’s no character narrating everything to us. The story is just well-written and properly paced.

Probably one of the most interesting story beats comes after Nathan saves two survivors. He goes to deface a monument to the people trapped in Oblivion, crossing out the names of the people he saved. He notes that the people who made the monument “wanted their failure carved in stone.” That’s just exceptional writing right there. It’s a great piece of dialogue because it also helps us further understand Nathan’s character.

More Than Just Characters

Speaking of the characters, there are a few to talk about. The most notable, of course, are Nathan, Duncan, and Bridget. Obviously, Nathan is our main character. He’s the guy willing to put his life on the line to save others. Every time he travels to Oblivion, he’s taking a big risk. He finds it unacceptable to give up on the people who are still potentially alive. He refuses to give up on them.

At least, that’s how Nathan seems on the surface. Several other characters hint that Nathan has a more personal motive for doing what he does, to which Nathan gets pretty defensive. This gives his character a huge flaw, which is awesome. It’s nice that we quickly understand the main character isn’t scot-free of any moral problems.

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Duncan is a survivor of Oblivion. It shows very easily, as he has several moments where he seems to suffer from PTSD. Duncan lashes out suddenly at Bridget and, at the mention of the “Oblivion Song,” he briefly snaps at Nathan. The poetic opening line for OBLIVION SONG #1 is actually spoken by Duncan. It’s a beautiful descriptor for Oblivion, which is hugely contrasted by the manic landscape and horrific creatures lurking within.

OBLIVION SONG #1
Image Courtesy of Image Comics.

One of the most interesting bits about Duncan is his shoes. He wears old Converse-looking sneakers all the time because that’s what he ran in while he was trapped in Oblivion. It’s a subtle character detail, but it’s very powerful.

Bridget is Duncan’s romantic partner and is very understanding of his outbursts and trauma. Duncan lashes out at her towards the beginning, but she’s quick to embrace him afterwards. We don’t see too much of her character otherwise in OBLIVION SONG #1, but that likely will change as the story continues.

An Artistic Symphony

In the afterword for OBLIVION SONG #1, Kirkman mentions his admiration for De Felici’s artistic style. It’s definitely some well-deserved admiration because De Felici brings such a dynamic style to OBLIVION SONG #1. It’s similar in some ways to Charlie Adlard’s work on THE WALKING DEAD.

There are imperfections to De Felici’s pages, which actually help make them look better. The story deals with an imperfect world, with flawed, fractured people inhabiting it, and the art reflects that concept.

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The art is also wonderfully expressive. It helps the reader understand the characters’ emotions, as well as the deeper themes behind the characters as individuals. Nathan looks like a total badass when he’s geared up and travelling through Oblivion. He seems like the kinda guy who really knows how to handle himself. Out of Oblivion, however, he’s very much an average, ordinary looking guy. You wouldn’t think to point him out if you saw him in the street.

Similarly, Duncan’s character benefits so much from De Felici’s art, which gives the character an ominous feeling. He wears a grim look, with wrinkles and lines in his face that show his experiences in Oblivion. He’s probably the most interesting character to watch on the page.

The world of Oblivion itself is so sporadic and colorful, and the monsters of Oblivion are mangled and creative. It’s easy to see how much fun De Felici had when creating this world. I’m eager to see what else he brings to the table in future issues.

OBLIVION SONG #1
Image Courtesy of Image Comics

Final Thoughts on OBLIVION SONG #1

Robert Kirkman and Lorenzo De Felici have delivered a harmonic treat with OBLIVION SONG #1. It’s the perfect blend of poetic, well-crafted storytelling with colorful, expressive art. The story and art meld together to create a very human story, set in a very fictional world.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about the world of OBLIVION SONG, but that’s okay. That’s what’ll keep readers interested. Readers should want to find out more about the story world — the Transference, as well as Oblivion itself. I really want to know more about the characters. There’s no doubt we’ll get all of these details in future issues. And, needless to say, the end of OBLIVION SONG #1 already sets up an interesting potential twist in the plot.

OBLIVION SONG #1 brings with it a great deal of promise, and there’s no doubt that Kirkman and De Felici will deliver on every bit of that promise.

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