Jun 17, 2014

Comic Book Review: Revival, Vol. 1: You're Among Friends

The easy-going small-town living for central Wisconsin natives just got less easy-going. For one reason or another there have been twenty-three cases of the dead just not wanting to stay dead. Are corpses being revived (and with borderline Wolverine-like healing abilities to boot) the event of some religious miracle, or a science experiment gone awry? While many of the revived appear like they're old human selves, there have been a few cases of going full-blown Crazy. Now hapless citizens are getting torn to shreds and it's up to divorced mom-cop Dana Cypress to lead the investigation into this horrifying venture.

Revival, Vol. 1: You're Among Friends collects issues #1-5 of the on-going series by Image Comics. For other big name titles by Image see O.R.'s review of Fatale Book 1: Death Chases Me and East of West Volume 1: The Promise. As a testament to the work in Revival, see the title that author, Tim Seeley built his revered comic book industry name on - Hack/Slack, about a scantily clad monster hunter and her monster-muscle. Revival is co-created by Mike Norton who in 2012 won an Eisner Award for Best Digital Comic, Battlepug. I could not possibly find the words to describe Battlepug without just C&Ping from Amazon, which provides what I can only imagine having not read Battlepug... an wonderfully accurate depiction of the story from the cover of Volume 1. The third muskateer in this trio of creators is a second illustrator, Mark Englert most known for helping Tim Seeley with Hack/Slash.

Looking at the title, cover art, and first few panels of this comic, you're really not sure what world you're walking into. If you're a fan of cinema however it becomes a very familiar world. Welcome to Fargo meets The Crazies. There may be a protagonist with Wolverine-like healing powers, but you won't find any real superheroes in this book. This is as the cover depicts - a rural noir full of mystery, corrupt villains and small-town paranormal activities.

Fans of Hack/Slash who want to compare this book will see some stark differences. Notably less sexuality and much stronger, more sympathetic characters. Where Hack/Slash thrives at being a fun skip through the ultraviolence and female figure park, Revival focuses all it's energy on being tense and thrilling. Panels are laid out so scientifically to give you the optimal scare or gross-out. And when you see some of the conditions bodies are left in, you definitely are grossed out. What's most enjoyable in this story is the shades of grey. There are very few absolute points of view you're for or against. Many of the characters have strong conflicts and as a reader you will share those conflicts with them, feeling like you're between a rock and a hard place with them.

Final Say: This book is incredibly strong from first page to last. There's a flow to the slow burn of things with enough action and intrigue to keep the pages flipping. You'll be done before you know it, and not for lack of dialogue. There was only one glaring point in the book that may pull a reader out of the story, and may have some sort of connection to Tim Seeley's other title, Hack/Slash. One of the very few times sexuality comes into play in Revival, Vol 1, a character acts not only out-of-character, but like a poor stereotype. I'm keeping an open mind to this being explored further in Revival, Volume 2: Live Like You Mean It but as it stands, having only read this book it seemed like Seeley was having a really off writing day and didn't know how to deliver the plot device he wanted. However, this is still an excellent book worthy of the overall rating...

4.75 / 5

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