Review by Frank Plowright
Nathan Cole was introduced as a man driven to access a hostile other dimension and return people who’d been transferred there by an inexplicable event that occurred ten years before Chapter One opened. By the time it closed, it had been revealed the inexplicable event could have been down to Nathan in the first place. The truth of that is laid out early here, or at least Nathan’s side of that truth. While perhaps not entirely responsible, Nathan and his former colleagues certainly opened the door to something they didn’t fully understand, and it explains his single-mindedness when it comes to travelling between dimensions and returning people to Earth.
However, Robert Kirkman ensures life isn’t as simple as Nathan would like. His way of plotting is to start with one character, in this case Nathan, and then ripple outward through the lives of those he’s in contact with, so the relevance of a character only briefly seen last time is now disclosed. Kirkman’s definition of personalities employs a shades of grey method. There’s a viewpoint considered as right for the narrative purpose, but alternatives to that view are easily understood, and that equation leads to horrifying consequences.
Barely any English language readers knew Lorenzo De Felici’s art before, but he has a European track record. In an arena where visual standards are very high, he has a back catalogue, so started Oblivion Song with competence, imagination and professionalism. His creature designs are threatening, and his people convincing, whether in action or having a conversation, so it’s full package storytelling.
Having already noted how good Kirkman is at cliffhangers, those are connected with plot bombs, and he drops a monster one halfway through. It’s fantastic, and a gamechanger, certainly one that will make it harder for Nathan to operate whatever the outcome. With that occurring halfway, does Kirkman have anything to top it for Chapter Two’s finale. Yes, actually, a plot that readers will probably have forgotten about among the excitement and a taste of what’s to come in Chapter Three.
Should you choose, you can leave Oblivion Song here, or with Book One, the hardback combining the entire first story arc. A near enough complete story has been told, loose ends have almost all been tied up, and people can get on with their lives. It’s a thriller. But it’s so good, you’ll need another hit.