Review by Frank Plowright
Lorenzo De Felici’s incredible art makes consideration of buying Oblivion Song in hardback a serious proposition, but although Robert Kirkman pulls everything together satisfyingly by the end, this is a slightly weaker outing than Book One. It’s because that was an action rush from beginning to end, a tautly plotted drama with human emotion at the centre, while this builds slowly, too slowly at first, before the action release.
Kirkman leaps forward three years to begin with. Nathan Cole was jailed at the end of the previous book, and now he’s free again, although the reasons for his release are credible. He emerges into a new world, one where the other-dimensional discovery has resulted in new medicines, while a project maps out the new world in the missing area of Philadelphia, and constructs safe crossing points between dimensions.
The plot left hanging from the previous book concerned aliens referred to as the Faceless Men, although they’d prefer you called them Kuthaal. Over the slower first half of Book Two they hover as a background threat, but from halfway they’re given a hierarhcy and a purpose, although there’s no agreement among themselves how best to achieve it. While the previous hardcover was more or less a self-contained story, Kirkman reverts here to his usual pattern of an ongoing continuity, and provides a killer ending.
De Felici is called on to provide some great new designs for the opening half, and a particularly clever spread echoes the alien landscape seen in Book One, showing the progress made since. This is a brighter book than before, colourist Annlisa Leoni reflecting the changed circumstances in both locations, and the further he heads into Oblivion Song the more frequently De Felici’s design and composition seems to show the influence of John Romita Jr. As it’s influence, not copying, that’s no bad thing.
The slow start eventually gives way to an action-packed second stage, with satisfaction higher on the agenda and the overall plot moved considerably forward. Nathan’s character goes through quite the journey also, and personality traits such as loyalty above all else give him a consistent unpredictability. By the end he’s not exactly where he wants to be, and quite the confrontation seems to be being set up for Book Three. This content is also available in paperback as Oblivion Song Chapter Three and Chapter Four.