(Image Comics, 2013)
Review by John Monaghan
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Mike Norton
Colours: Mark Englert
After DC’s New 52 slowly eroded my interest in current comics to what is probably an all-time low there has been one comic in particular that has kept my interest, that has had me getting to the comic shop sharp at least one Wednesday morning a month. That comic is Tim Seeley + Mike Norton’s Revival. Comic Book Resources’ Sales Report for July 2013 listed Revival #12 at 170 on the Top Selling Comics chart. It is a mystery to me that Revival is not a main staple on the pull list of every comic fan on the planet. If anyone reading this review has dropped Revival please leave a comment about why you didn’t like it. I’d love to hear some negative opinions about it and I promise I won’t cuss you out you crazy, tasteless bastards. Well, I’ll do my best…
In the meantime, here are 3 reasons why Revival is the best comic going just now.
1. If pace is a lost art in comics, Revival is… reviving it.
Remember when the first season of Lost was airing and there was crazy shit popping off left right and centre and the answers weren’t forthcoming but you couldn’t stop watching in the off chance that the pieces started to fall into place even just a little bit? That’s what Revival makes me think of. The premise is that the dead have started coming back to life in rural Wisconsin (see #3). 12 Issues in and we still don’t know why. We don’t even know the effect that coming back to life is having on them. All we know is that something seems a bit off about them… and we knew that since issue #1. Some of the revivers have started killing people. Meanwhile a demon or something is cutting about the woods. What’s great about Revival is that it has taken this situation and placed us inside of it and then started following events as they unfold. Seeley is in no rush to get answers out. Instead, there is a mixture of backdrop and main arc: we are following the body snatchers, abductions, murders, quarantine and breakout that are happening in the town, all of which both happens against the backdrop of these big plot premises and feeds directly into their development. The big questions are just simmering on the backburner, always present in and relevant to those smaller events that comprise the issue-to-issue fabric of Revival, always having new shades of grey, sinister foreshadowings and even glimmers of hope injected into them. Revival is a real slow burner that reads issue-to-issue like a much faster paced comic.
2. Shit is going to get REAL!
The eyes of the world are fixed on Wausau, Wisconsin, which is under quarantine until there are some answers about the revivers. No-one – including us – knows how the Revivers got ‘infected’, if they are necessarily different when they come back to life and all pose a threat etc. etc. And one of these revivers, a murderer who definitely does pose a threat to public safety, has escaped the quarantine. And, you know, there’s a demon or some shit cutting about the woods. Shit is going to get REAL!
3. Revival is not a zombie comic.
The dead coming back to life has been done and done again. Revival has a unique take on reanimation that, rather than relying on established tropes of zombified human tissue, brings in elements of supernatural, religious and existential horror to create an incredibly three dimensional book. Seeley shows a keen awareness of the cultural, political and religious significance of the events unfolding in Wausau and he plays these out in tensions between the massive cast of culturally diverse characters.
Better stop shy of the 1,000 word mark. Read Revival, ‘nuff said.
Follow John Monaghan on Twitter: @deadlifts