Independent Comic Review: Revival (vol. 1)

Revival vol. 1 – Tim Seely and Mike Norton – Image Comics – $12.99

Tim Seeley and Mike Norton’s new Image series, Revival, takes the idea of people returning from the grave and turns it on their head. However, instead of returning as bloodthirsty, brain-munching zombies, they instead return to their daily lives as if nothing happened at all.

For one day in rural central Wisconsin, the dead came back to life. Now it’s up to Officer Dana Cypress to deal with the media scrutiny, religious zealots, and government quarantine that has come with them. In a town where the living have to learn to deal with those who are supposed to be dead, Officer Cypress must solve a brutal murder, and everyone, alive or undead, is a suspect.

Seeley puts a new spin on the 1990 Keifer Sutherland movie, Flatliners. In Flatliners, a group of graduate students attempt to explore life after death via a series of experiments. However, once they return from the grave they find that something has followed them back, haunting their every waking moment. In Revival, the Revivers (those who have risen from the grave) at first appear to be normal, but soon begin displaying erratic and disturbing behavior. Then things turn deadly.

With each issue, the tension and horror increases, creating a frightening scenario where seemingly sweet and innocent people, who never harmed anyone in their lives, are suddenly stabbing people in the neck with pliers. The residents of the small town and surrounding area have been quarantined, effectively cutting them off from the outside world. They can go about their “normal” lives as much as possible, but they cannot leave. Slowly but surely people are going stir-crazy.

Seeley does not believe in the slow burn. Each issue is full of action while incrementally moving the story forward. There is no sense of wheel-spinning or padding something out for the trade. Each page, each word is important.

The art by Mike Norton seals the deal. There is a sense of normalcy that pervades each panel, only to be interrupted by shocking flashes of brutality. Everything in the art is crystal clear, even if the details of the underlying mystery is not. Norton’s art sells the story, adding depth and dimension to the dialogue with detailed facial expressions and telling body language. Who knew that the guy could draw something more than pugs and sexy women?

Revival continues the string of Image successes from 2012.   More important, the first volume lays the foundation for an ongoing series  in 2013 with real potential.  It is said that the dead tell no tales. But, in a world where the dead come back to life, who knows what secrets will be revealed in this sleepy little town. We can’t wait to find out!

You can order your copy of Revival, Vol. 1: You’re Among Friends today!



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