It’s safe to say that I have entered into a strange chapter in my reading life. I have been spending a great deal of time in a comic book store and haven’t bothered to read anything traditional in a while… which has allowed me to get a better understanding of comics in general, and it’s given me the opportunity to understand which type of story I prefer in comic-form… and which I simply don’t care for.
Turns out that I like a good mythology… a good apocalyptic story… and a story that focuses on mystery and twists. Throw in a metaphysical or science fiction tweak to it, and I’m on-board. The glaring hole in my comic education would be the super-hero genre. I don’t quite know why, and I’m not knocking the genre as a whole, but other than Watchmen, which basically both pays homage to and eviscerates the genre, they leave me a bit cold. But that has nothing to do with Revival…
Revival, an on-going and recent release from Image, publisher of The Walking Dead and other titles I’ve been reading (a tease for future reviews), authored by Tim Seeley and penciled by Mike Norton, has very quickly become a new favorite… and by quickly, I mean I picked up the two trades currently available and the most recent issues (although the most current, Issue #14, is sold out and I had to order it online) at the end of last week… and promptly devoured the entire series thus far… twice.
A huge thanks to Grace, my collaborator on Under the Comic Covers, the new Walking Dead comic podcast segment for The Walking Dead’Cast beginning this week (more on that in a day or two), for suggesting I read this. Great call!
Revival tells the story of a small rural town in Wisconsin, Rothschild. One day in early January, a number of recently deceased people in this town simply come back to life. They don’t “revive” in classic zombie fashion… these would not be considered zombie-like in any way, they just go about their lives as though nothing had happened.
The first of these “revivals”, in a crematorium of all places, is caught on camera and word quickly spreads that something miraculous has happened… causing this rural community to become the epicenter of every religious fanatic and pseudo-scientific theory… some believing it to be the beginning of the rapture, and others trying to make a quick buck off of others gullibility and desire to believe.
Within what is now a quarantine zone, we follow our protagonist, Dana Cypress, and her family; her father, the town sheriff; her son, Cooper, born when Dana was just a teenager; Derek, Cooper’s father; and Martha, otherwise known as Em, her little sister with a very big secret. Joining the Cypress clan are other residents of Rothschild and a CDC researcher, Ibrahaim, aiding in the investigation as to what the hell happened here in central Wisconsin.
Although this is conceived of as a rural noir story, there are elements from many genres present throughout. There is a sci-fi element as well as a very dark horror side to the whole tale as well… and I find myself eager to continue the story and discover what other secrets lay in wait.
I haven’t even mentioned some of the weirder elements to the story… but that would be giving out too much info… better to find out for yourself.
Norton’s art is stellar throughout. It’s beautiful rendered and completely appropriate to the feel of the work… each character is unique, while giving us a through line when looking at the Cypress family. Dana and Em are obviously sisters… although I had trouble distinguishing them at first… at least as to who was who in the first cover (that’s Em btw)… but as the story progresses, that doesn’t become a problem, it becomes one of it’s high points. And Norton’s ability to covey emotion and mood through is ever spectacular. I can feel the cold of the Wisconsin winter through my fingertips as I turn each page.
Image seems to be having quite a moment for itself. I don’t know if they are releasing more comics than before, or simply better quality… but I have been noticing that they are producing some of the more interesting and creative books in the market right now. Revival is not an idea that is completely new… but it is being done with a particular style and flair that is perfect for it’s time and place.
Only 14 issues in, Revival is the perfect book to dive into as winter approaches. There are two trades available and there will be a gap of time before the 15th issue is released (some time in November). Do yourself a favor and pick this one up… I’m grateful I did.
Poor Tommy the Torso,
Cornelius J. Blahg