Written by Tim Seeley
Art by Mike Norton
Review by Joey Braccino
Tim Seeley and Mike Norton’s Revival is like Fargo meets Hitchcock meets 30 Days of Night meets Justified. Seeley’s “Rural Noir” concept keeps trucking along as the mystery surrounding the Revivers, recently deceased denizens of our small town in Wisconsin who have returned to life, grows more and more complex. Last issue ended with a seemingly mundane car accident that revealed a much larger conspiracy involving several sets of severed Reviver body parts. Compound with this new development all of the other plot threads running through the series so far—an intrepid young news journalista eager to break the story, a detective who desperately wants to save her Revived sister from whatever is plaguing her, an enigmatic old man (also Revived, also SHOT IN THE FACE but still alive and now missing) who may or may not have a larger role in this Revival event, and a bizarre semi-incestuous love story involving said old man and his two unrelated step-children—and you have one of the most packed comics on the stands today.
Oh, and did I mention the strange ghost-alien-ET looking things in the woods? Because that’s there, too.
All in all, Revival is super dense for a 24-page comic. While still moving all of those plot threads listed above along, Seeley also adds new layers—Reviver cults, political back-room dealing, immortality—to the story. Each of these, however, get a short one- or two-page scenelet, and, instead, Seeley focuses much of the narrative in the issue to a one-and-done sequence featuring May Tao (our intrepid journalista) and her attempt to subversively elicit information from a reclusive health nut obsessed with living well past 100. It is like a scene out of Hitchcock, as May Tao adopts the persona of a stranded traveler and “stumbles” onto Lester Majak’s front step. Throughout the issue, Seeley writes (and Norton deftly illustrates) tension and intrigue into each and every panel. The ultimate resolution to this storyline is perfectly constructed and begs the reader to go back and reread from the top.
Norton’s artwork is perfect for Seeley’s script. While I was surprised at the number of panels in this issue that were filled with vivid and vibrant colors (particularly greens, blues, and yellows), the overall tone of Norton’s aesthetic is one of unsettling suspense and naturalism. I do wish we had more shadows and grit, but that’s probably more of a personal inclination than a knock at Mike Norton’s pitch-perfect line and color work.
This series is definitely worth checking out. Sure, Tim Seeley and Mike Norton are spinning much more mystery and intrigue than providing straightforward developments and answers, but the characters are well-developed, the storyline fresh, and the artwork stunning. We weren’t knocking Morning Glories or LOST for not providing enough answers, right? At least not this early. Revival is still early enough in its run that Seeley and Norton can spend all the time they need building up and decompressing each of their ongoing threads. Issue #8 continues that trend. We’ll see how things unravel in the coming chapters!