When vol. 4 ended, scientist explorer Nathan Cole was kind of screwed. He was stuck in Oblivion with no clear way home and was effectively Public Enemy No. 1 as far as the Faceless Men were concerned. Still, as the foremost expert regarding this place, its ecology, and inhabitants, you’d think that Nathan wouldn’t have to wait too long to be rescued by his people. Unless they were convinced that rescuing him would be more trouble than it’s worth. Or if Nathan found a reason to stay and try to help the Faceless Men save their world.
Believe it or not, this is actually the penultimate volume of “Oblivion Song.” It’s not that the series is ending prematurely, it’s just that it’s ending without me ever feeling that it built to something. The major question of what happened to the people who were originally sent to Oblivion was wrapped up in the series’ first year while the conflict with the Faceless Men reached a climax in the previous volume. Vol. 5 jumps back and forth across a time gap to set up the Faceless Men’s latest charge, led by their greatest warrior Dakuul, and ends on a note that lets us know things are about to get real bad for humanity.
Does this all work? Yes, it does. Robert Kirkman is a guy who knows how to do the work to make you care about his characters while also throwing in a surprise or two to knock you off balance and have you anticipating what’s going to happen next. Lorenzo De Felici is also quite good at selling this stuff, throwing lots of detail into the alien world of Oblivion and its inhabitants, and showcasing quality action. So while I’ve enjoyed the work they’ve been doing on “Oblivion Song,” it doesn’t feel like the series has actually been building towards the point we’re leaving off on at the end of this volume. While the overall quality of this volume does lead me to believe that we’ll get a satisfying finale, I can’t bring myself to expect more than that, or to tell everyone to get onboard with this series before its end.