Comics: OBLIV18N #1 (2018) - Reviewed

OBLIV18N is a title written by Netflix’s Punisher writer Ken Kristensen that is being released by Scout Comics on August 30th. The series, absolutely written for a more mature audience, as sex, violence and strong language are rather explicit in the first issue, follows several bizarre storylines, each surrounding a terrifying, post-apocalyptic setting where many of the population have seemingly vanished into thin air. 

Issue one sets up the backstories of what I presume will become the main characters in this series, which in my opinion is what a good first issue will do. If the writing is good enough, readers shouldn’t need an all-out, action packed introduction and in depth delve into the plot at hand. Kristensen’s writing is certainly that good. While I was left with plenty of confusion as to what the strange phenomena causing people to vanish is, each one of the characters grabbed my attention enough to leave me wanting more. The first character we are introduced to is a rebellious, angsty teenage girl, Maxine. As she tries to process her anger and hurt after a terrible revelation, her world is turned even more upside down. As someone who was once a rebellious, angsty teenage girl, I found myself really enjoying reading and getting to know the character Maxine in this first issue. I imagine her character will continue to grow and evolve with time, but for a first issue, her spirit, fire and sarcasm had me wincing with realization of how I must have been at about seventeen. In between the scenes where we see Maxine’s storyline, we are introduced to another character, a young boy named Drew who appears to be doing time in a juvenile detention facility, though it is not made known for what yet. His character is intriguing as it is made clear that he holds some kind of mental connection with those who have suddenly disappeared. It’s been a while since I picked up a very adult written comic. Reminiscent of Marvel’s MAX books, this particular comic is definitely one for the more mature crowd. Kristensen does a great job of balancing the content, making parts of it shocking and wildly inappropriate, yet also allowing the book to feel like it’s not forcing over the top themes or going for shock value alone. 

Francesco Gaston leads his talented hand to the impressive artwork in OBLIV18N. I love his line work when it comes to the character creation. Opening on a page that involves just conversation, you may think you stumbled into a comic meant for a more youthful audience, think the modern day Archie and Riverdale type of characters. Animated, attractive and clean, the characters offer a distinct difference between the gritty, dark themes and language which overall is incredibly effective. Like another one of my Scout favorites, Stabbity Bunny, there really is something wonderful about artwork that seems drastically different than content, but together provides a visually interesting, stimulating story. Gaston does a great job setting up the wild and chaotic scenery with his art, and I look forward to seeing him tackle the next issues.

I went into OBLIV18N as a big fan of Ken Kristensen, expecting to be impressed. That being said, I think all readers have went into something just knowing they will love it and then end up being disappointed. I am happy to report that is not the case with the first issue of OBLIV18N. It’s smart, it’s well written; showcasing interesting, complex characters and a storyline that is sure to grab people’s attention. I absolutely look forward to seeing the plot unfold more, as we only got small hints in this first issue, but I do truly think this is going to be another one of my Scout favorites.

--Rachel Rutherford