A decade ago, 300,000 citizens of Philadelphia were suddenly lost in Oblivion. The government made every attempt to recover them, but after many years, they gave up. Nathan Cole…won’t. He makes daily trips, risking his life to try and rescue those still living in the apocalyptic hellscape of Oblivion. But maybe…Nathan is looking for something else? Why can’t he resist the siren call of the Oblivion Song?
I try my best to avoid using tropes like “hit the ground running” in these pieces, but it’s literally the case in Image Comics’ new Robert Kirkman joint, Oblivion Song. A hooded figure with a rifle, hunting a frantic man and woman across a post-apocalyptic urban landscape. Sound tense? Let’s not leave out the giant Lovecraftian beast in hot pursuit of all three. I know what you’re thinking. Kirkman. Post-apocalyptic landscape. Monsters. This new series couldn’t be further from TWD. I mean, yeah, there’s the badass running around trying to find his family in the first chapter, but that’s where the two properties part ways to head down completely different paths.
Robert Kirkman spins two separate yarns with Oblivion Song. There’s the alternate universe with all the monsters, where 300,000 Philadelphians were swept off in some localized cataclysmic event, and then there are the people left behind to wonder what the hell it all means. In scenes that are all too reminiscent of our modern response to unspeakable tragedy, a giant memorial is erected, thoughts and prayers are lifted up, and everyone moves on, without talking too much about it or taking too drastic measures to rescue the victims.
Then there’s that one guy. Labeled a fanatic and extremist, making everyone a little uneasy by taking action when the government refuses. Using his own resources to repeatedly travel to an alternate realm to pull the victims back to this side, one by one.
Lorenzo De Felici’s artistic chops are evident, flipping seamlessly between Oblivion, with it’s overturned cars and buildings reduced to rubble, everything half covered in bubbling alien goo, and modern day Philadelphia. Settings are rich and detailed. Action sequences are dynamic and flow from panel to spread. Character designs give overt and subtle clues to where each is coming from and what horrors they’ve experienced, whether they’re among those that have been wandering the Oblivion, or those left behind to worry and wonder.
Oblivion Song kicks off an exciting new world, full of promise and anticipation. Stay tuned. This is gonna be huge.
Oblivion Song #1, published by Skybound Entertainment/Image Comics, released 07 March 2018. Story by Robert Kirkman, art by Lorenzo De Felici and Annalisa Leoni.