Oblivion Song 2 Explores Different Approaches to Loss and Grief

by Michael DeLaney

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The sad truth of our lives is that we will all eventually have to say goodbye to the person or persons we care about most. The thing that differs is how we all cope with that grief. Robert Kirkman and Lorenzo De Felici’s Oblivion Song 2 explores a few different ways in which we handle that loss.

To sum it up briefly, Oblivion Song is The Leftovers with a little bit of The Walking Dead thrown in. Ten years prior, 300,000 people vanished into a hellscape dimension called Oblivion, and Nathan Cole plans to rescue as many of them as he can. Cole’s mission isn’t out of complete selflessness however. He is driven to find his brother Edward — one of the disappeared — and he hasn’t given up hope that he’s alive. Cole’s partner Bridget had regained her husband Duncan from Oblivion a while back. The only thing is that in Duncan’s absence, Bridget began another relationship.

Nathan Cole and Bridget are on opposite ends of the grieving spectrum. Cole refuses to believe that his brother is dead, despite being missing without a trace for a decade. Bridget, on the other hand, decided to be at peace with her husband’s disappearance and likely death.

Neither of these responses are wrong — there’s no proper way to grieve. But Cole’s obsession to prove that Edward is alive is clearly consuming him. And Bridget is within every right to move on with her life, but the fact that she’s kept her relationship a secret from her returned husband is equally destructive.

A quick word on de Felici’s artwork. I love the way that he draws Oblivion survivors Thomas and Patricia Crenshaw.

In every panel they’re in, de Felici makes a clear distinction between their disposition and Cole’s. Their expressions are perpetually frozen in shock and fear. They are the faces of the damned who have escaped hell.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

3 comments on “Oblivion Song 2 Explores Different Approaches to Loss and Grief

  1. I’m liking this so far. I think Hickman across most of his books does a great job with emphasizing the humanity in inhumane circumstances.

    However, what still strikes me in this, is the leisurely pace. The willingness to leave elements of the story hanging. It’s a luxury that most comic writers don’t have and I think it shows in these first two issues of how confident Hickman is in the long term success of this story. He has created a world and stories that aren’t going to be summed up in a 6 issue arc, or a 12 issue arc. Most creator owned projects have to have pre-designed ending points in them: They might not sell, they might not last for years. Hickman doesn’t worry about that at all (he doesn’t need to, this is going to run as long as he wants it to).

    It’s a bold approach that most writers don’t get to enjoy. I’m definitely sticking around for at least a little while.

    (While I like Hickman – i read TWD and have almost every Invincible issue – I certainly don’t think everything he does is gold – I really didn’t care for the first arc of Outcast and never went back. This feels more up my alley)

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