Story by Tim Seeley
Art by Mike Norton
Colors by Mark Englert
Review by Joey Braccino
Tim Seeley and Mike Norton’s Revival has been getting a ton of buzz over the last year. The self-proclaimed “rural noir” from Image revolves around a series of strange “revivals” (re: THE DEAD HAVE RISEN!) in a small Wisconsin town. With issue #6, Seeley and Norton deal with the aftermath of the revival event and its impact in the popular media and surrounding communities. Image marketed this issue as the perfect jumping-on point for new readers, which appealed to me because, well, I’ve never read an issue of Revival before and I’m totally into independent comics series with innovative, genre-bending, original concepts.
Thankfully, Image was right. For the most part, issue #6 catches new readers up to the events of the first story arc while still pushing the intrigue and characters forward. The last few pages, however, bring in a handful of characters and storybeats that I as a new reader was unfamiliar with and, as a result, probably missed out on some of the intended shock and awe, but overall I was able to follow along and get a feel for the primary characters and the consequences of the revival event.
At the start, Seeley uses a news broadcast as a framing device to recap the story so far. The dead have risen in rural Wisconsin, and the story has broken in the mainstream media. Seeley cycles through his large cast of characters—intrepid and conflicted rookie reporter May Tao, Officer Dana Press, her partner Ramin, her reviver sister Martha—in a montage of sequences that provide glimpses into both their respective personalities as well as the affects of the revival event on each. In doing so, Seeley also reveals the multiple genres that he infuses into Revival: conspiracy-thriller, cop-procedural, horror. It’s all fascinating, and it all comes together as a fantastic tease for the overall series.
The final sequence sees Dana pay a visit to an older character named Anders. This is where Seeley moves away from recapping and moves his ongoing story forward. I’m sure continuing readers will grasp (and be shocked by) the events of these final pages, but new readers will have a hard time following along. Not that this is a criticism of the book—if anything, this sequence made me want to pick up issues 1 through 5 to really grasp the weight of the situation. Which, after reading this issue, I will be sure to do.
Regardless of the accessibility of the script, Mike Norton’s artwork on this book is stunning. The naturalism of Norton’s pencils perfectly reflects the “rural noir” intentions of the series. It is deceptively simple, especially in the moments right before some sort of haunting spectre, mangled corpse, or pallid reviver hits the panels. Again, I return to this idea of genre-bending. While this sort of creativity is tough enough for the writer, the burden on the artist to combine and blend different visual tropes is also a challenge. Norton performs stunningly, particularly in the aforementioned final sequence. I may not have known what was going on, but I felt the tension through Norton’s wonderfully illustrated and decompressed visuals.
Buy it. Even if you haven’t been reading Revival (like me), issue #6 is the perfect jumping on point. Tim Seeley does an admirable job satisfying new readers with plot and thematic recaps as well as moving the story forward for continuing readers. The tension is ever present and the horror and conspiracy ever bubbling below the panels. And, most importantly, Mike Norton’s artwork is awesome. Buy.