Collective Consciousness Oblivion Song #1 Review

by stephengervais on March 07, 2018

Welcome to this week’s edition of Collective Consciousness, our weekly article where the staff takes one comic and puts it under the microscope. This allows us, and you, faithful reader, to get a good idea of how the comic fares against a variety of opinions. This week we are looking at the debut issue from Image Comics superstar Robert Kirkman and artist Lorenzo De Felici, Oblivion Song #1.
Image solicit: “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?”
Written by: Robert Kirkman
Art by: Lorenzo De Felici
Publisher: Image Comics
I really enjoyed this issue. Kirkman did a great job of establishing both the word of Oblivion Song and the characters that live in it. The issue is double sized so there's plenty of room for the Kirkman to work. His main character, Nathan, is compelling. He's an average joe, not a superhero. It's immediately evident that he's a bit broken and has his own reasons for saving people from Oblivion. The supporting cast is rounded out nicely, giving them a bit of development so that we're not stuck with only one interesting character. The main plot is exciting enough. A portion of Philly is suddenly and inexplicably replaced with a mysterious dimension. You're immediately thrust into it with a cold opening. It's exciting and the mystery hooks you but there's more to it than that. The world's reaction, both the political and social impact is mentioned with a promise to explore it further.  The most shocking and exciting part of the issue was maybe the letter page with a reveal that the team is already on issue #13! With deep delays becoming so prevalent (particularly with Image), this seems like a fresh of breath air. This book has a lot going for it and I'm excited to see where it goes. 

Robert Kirkman knows how to write comics that are perfectly paced and exciting. Oblivion is another example of him doing everything that he is good at. I have read all of the Walking Dead series so I feel like I’ve got a connection to Robert Kirkman. While reading this first issue of Oblivion, I enjoyed being able to be lost in the story and also being able to pick things up that I attribute to Kirkman. He writes stories and characters that are so detailed and interesting and he has not disappointed me yet.
I was only somewhat aware of Lorenzo De Felici’s artwork prior to this issue, so I was excited to see what he had in store for us. At the beginning of the issue, I wasn’t sure that I personally loved the direction he seemed to be going. But as I read on, I started to appreciate his artwork for these characters and this story. I think that him and colorist Annalisa Leoni are the right fit for this new world that Kirkman has created.
Robert Kirkman's apocalypse du jour is a much more nuanced and fascinating disaster than the full-stop end of the world presented in The Walking Dead. Here, monstrous sci-fi weirdness swallowed up a chunk of Philadelphia - almost ten years ago. This is the story of what happened after and how the world is trying to bury the weirdness - and of the one dude who refuses to give up the search for survivors and answers.
Artist Lorenzo De Felici and colourist Annalisa Leoni do terrific scene-setting work here. They create cartoony, over-bright visuals that can be frustrating when you're on the hunt for world-building detail. However, their work is impeccably suited to portraying clear, exciting action sequences, and this issue takes full advantage of that talent. They populate Oblivion with impressive monsters that make it feel just as alien as it needs to. They're also scrupulous in painting world outside of Oblivion with a strong "just like ours" brush; that's an important part of the theme Mr. Kirkman is setting up. 
The problems I had with Oblivion Song #1 were relatively minor, but I worry that they could loom over many issues to come. I was underwhelmed with the characterization of Nathan shared so far. It's done with scrupulous skill, but the person revealed is incredibly safe and dull. Driven, capable loner white dude who aches with guilt and responsibility and purpose? Where have met this guy before? Everywhere. We've met this guy everywhere. 
Hopefully, more page time will add nuance and interest to Nathan's character. I also hope that we learn some of the hows and whys behind Oblivion's creation. Or perhaps, as promised in the creators' letters at the end, everything's heading for a shocking swerve in the near future. Whether it arrives with surprise twists or a slow unraveling of mysteries, Oblivion Song #2 will be welcome on my pull list.

There you have it folks another New Comic Book Day group review from CTG. This was an undisputed declaration of pick up this issue for some outstanding storytelling and artwork! 

Our Score:


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