Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Lorenzo De Felici
Colourist: Annalisa Leoni
The wait for twists in a Kirkman story is never a long one. Oblivion Song #5 provides this shift in the narrative through the calculated introduction of the Oblivion’s very own human colony. It’s clear from the onset that Nathan’s reunion with his brother won’t be easy or entirely positive; the writing has strongly sown the seeds for this development since the first issue.
The communication between the brothers hints at their pre-Transference dynamic while also leaving enough ambiguity for further revelations to arise. Kirkman’s subtle dialog is made even more poignant by Felici’s depiction of Ed’s facial expressions. However, Felici’s artwork works at its best when it is focused on enriching the lore of the zany and wild Oblivion landscape. The detailed design of each nonhuman inhabitant of this world is arguably superior to the depiction of our protagonists. Ed’s immediate regret over the way he previously lived his life and treated the people around him made it easier to sympathise with him. It’s a step in the right direction for making the reader care about him beyond him just being Nathan’s brother.
This can be a double edged sword as Nathan and the rest of the cast are the ones leading us through this narrative. His aesthetic still leaves much to be desired for me. Aside from this, I’m still not convinced that the subplot with Duncan is necessary. It doesn’t offer anything compelling at this early junction in the story, and it feels like we could have a stronger plot for the character. Furthermore, it reads as a by the numbers PTSD story. However, I will admit that it could progress into something unique and engaging as Kirkman often polishes the obvious into the finer gems of story telling.
When dealing with established writers, it can be easy to compare their latest work with their most notable work. This can be a huge obstacle as with that success comes expectations that every issue of the new book delivers what hardcore fans loved about the previous ones. Robert Kirkman has proved time and again that he knows how to maintain the intrigue of fans and turn his books into ongoing gold. Oblivion Song isn’t The Walking Dead. It isn’t Invincible. It isn’t Outcast. It doesn’t need to be. I’m looking forward to seeing how this first story arc wraps up and how the team transforms this comic into a reputable behemoth if its own.
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