Review - Oblivion Song #1 (@ImageComics)

"I call it the Oblivion Song."

Traveling between parallel universes is no small feat. You have to contend with being able to do it, but also having to figure out what's going to be on the other side when you jump. In Oblivion Song #1 from Image Comics, what's on the other side is not very endearing. The issue is written by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Lorenzo De Felici and Annalisa Leoni.

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?

Kirkman has a knack for writing characters that have what seems to be an immense backstory without actually getting into all the particulars of that backstory. Oblivion Song #1 is no exception, in that Kirkman lets the reader know almost immediately what Nathan Cole's motivation is in his repeated trips to Oblivion. What he doesn't let the reader know is anything behind why Oblivion is in the first place or what's happened to its inhabitants that it's such a horrid place. That's not a knock on Kirkman at all, as it raises plenty of questions that hopefully will be answered in the coming issues. The dialogue is very effective at parlaying the dynamics of the two worlds though and there seems to be enough political intrigue to keep the reader engaged.

The majority of the issue focuses on humanity and De Felici's linework is very effective at capturing the emotion in the characters. His take on the monsters in Oblivion Song #1 is pretty terrifying in many ways as De Felici gives them an abundance of ferocity that underscores their desire to seemingly tear humans apart. There are points in the issue though where De Felici's approach feels a little cartoonish in a way that slightly undercuts the seemingly deeper message Kirkman is trying to get across. Overall though, De Felici's style effectively captures the seemingly dystopian landscape that defines Oblivion. And the colors are a great fit as well, casting both Oblivion and Earth in blue and brown hues.

Oblivion Song #1 is a fascinating tale of two worlds--one that's "civilized" and another that thrives on death and destruction--with both being more alike than they'd like to admit. Nathan is on a seemingly self-destructive quest that will likely end up with his death or someone close to him. Kirkman's script is engaging in that it clearly defines Nathan as the lead, but it doesn't do a whole lot of other world-building. De Felici's artwork is slightly off tonally for the seemingly deeper messages the script is going for, even if it is pretty to look at. Oblivion Song #1 is very ambitious in its scope, but something about it just seems to be slightly off and missing the mark.

Oblivion Song #1 is available March 7.