Written by: Robert Kirkman
Art by: Lorenzo De Felici
Colours by: Annalisa Leoni
Letters by: Rus Wooton
Cover by: Lorenzo De Felici
Published by: Image Comics/Skybound
March sees the much-anticipated release of the first issue of Oblivion Song, the new post-apocalyptic series from creator of The Walking Dead (TWD), Robert Kirkman. Lorenzo De Felici acts as co-creator and artist, while Annalisa Leoni (Colours), Rus Wooton (Letters) and Sean Mackiewicz (Editor) help make up the rest of the team. The official synopsis from the Image Comic website is included below:
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?
Our first glimpse of the world of Oblivion Song is provided by the breath-taking cover. There, a monstrous alien growth strips the flesh from the iconic Philadelphia town hall. Nearby, the skeleton of a skyscraper suffers under its own bloated weight. In the foreground, our protagonist, Nathan, who adventures alone into Oblivion in search of those left behind, towers above the rubble.
Unlike TWD, Kirkman opts to open Oblivion Song in the heart of the action. We see the bulbous alien growth, the grotesque monsters, and strange technology Nathan uses to combat them and rescue survivors. The artwork is video-game in style, leaning heavily on close-up shots during action sequences. But while the pencil draws liberally, the use of colour is very reserved. Every shade in Oblivion Song is tired, from sickly reds, to dusty greens, to muddied-water yellows. The whole comic plays like a sombre record, like Nathan’s post-apocalyptic hangover. In many ways, Oblivion Song thrives on this tone.
The political points raised in Oblivion Song are almost consciously ignored which, if anything, lends them far greater weight. The story of Philadelphia reads very similar to the post-9/11 era, where an entire nation woke up one morning and didn’t know what to call itself. The same panels, which depict monuments, protests, and empty shot glasses, call out to the Iraq war too. Indeed, the questions Kirkman raises on each page are very much the same: why did they never come home? Why do we keep going back?
Overall, the pilot issue of Oblivion Song has a slightly weaker hook than we might have expected. But with promises of monsters and alternate dimensions, it’s fair to say our journey into the world of Oblivion has likely only just begun.