Monday, March 25, 2013

Comic review: Revival Volume 1, "You're Among Friends"

My local Chicago comic fandom is slowly spreading through the entirety of Four Star Studios, which includes local comic creators Tim Seeley, Mike Norton, Sean Dove, Josh Emmons, Chris Burnham, and Jenny Frison. I started out loving HACK/SLASH from Tim Seeley, discovered Jenny Frison's artwork through that series, and now REVIVAL has gotten me into Mike Norton's work, as well.

REVIVAL is a new "rural noir" horror series from Seeley and Norton, including cover art from Frison. It has an intricate story with elements of mystery, thriller and, obviously, the horror genre all wrapped together. Readers are plunked down right smack dab in the middle of Wausau as the town, and really, the entire world, are trying to deal with the fact that the dead have started returning to life-- but only in this one, quarantined location.

The main character we follow around is Dana, a Wausau policewoman who works for her father, a Wisconsin sheriff. But there is a whole cast of characters with their own stories, their own challenges and mistakes, that contribute to the layering and complexity of the story. One of the first curiosities pointed out about this phenomenon is that these are not your typical Romero zombies, mindlessly moaning and shuffling about seeking brains, delicious brains. It isn't just the revival of the body, it's the revival of the person who lived in it. As Jeff Lemire says in the introduction to the trade paperback, we're faced with the question: "What if the ones we love come back?" That is what the town of Wausau has to answer.

Revival seems to affect people differently, as well. Some individuals seem fine, just as they were before they passed away. Some end up violent and aggressive, to the point of devouring other people's flesh. For others, it obviously takes a psychological toll that causes them to act out of character. Why is this? Is the act of revival driving them mad? Is there some other supernatural or religious explanation? And what in the world is that mysterious white creature roaming through the woods wailing about a baby?

These unanswered questions are what make REVIVAL so good, and I think will succeed in getting readers to keep coming back for more. Our brains love a good puzzle, and this comic is one of those thousand piece fuckers where you lost the box and don't even know what it's supposed to look like anymore. Every piece you turn over is something new, adding up to a big picture that I don't think we're going to be able to predict. And that's a good thing. It's a GREAT thing.

But don't think that just because it's heavy on the mystery that you'll lose out on gore, oh no. You'll get your blood and guts right when you need them, and they will be gorgeous. Mike Norton did an amazing job on the illustrations, it matches the pacing and tone of the story so well. Mark Englert's color work is fantastic too, I thought they really popped off the page.

The first trade volume collects issues #1-5, but they're already on issue #8 if you want to catch up in issue form-- which I would totally recommend to see Jenny's cover artwork, and to satisfy your inevitable need to find out more about what's going on in Wausau!

Four Star Studios
Revival #1 via Image Comics
Tim Seeley Digs Deep Into "Revival" via Comic Book Resources

1 comment:

  1. Wow, looks great. I'll have to check it out. Great review.