Revival is a creator owned book published by Image comics, and is about the undead in a small rural town in Wisconsin. I am so tempted to say, “If you like zombies then you will love this book” but it does not quite fit that category. Revival is actually a book about the no longer dead that are sentient and not necessarily violent, more aptly called, the revivers. The earlier issues covered two story arcs and culminated in issue eleven, with a fantastic finale. We now move onto a second season, where the revivers are now no longer an obvious threat and the town tries to return to normal, as best it can with walking dead people.
This issue represents the aftermath and new beginning for our central characters. Officer Dana is in charge of managing the police response to the revivers whilst dealing with the fact that Em, her sister, has also become one. The book covers many differing attitudes towards the new populace including, a child’s reaction through crayon, a microbiologist’s attempts at finding a scientific solution, a psychological insight of a reviver, the mayor’s loose control of public opinion, and a charitable religious response to reviver body parts. Issue thirteen puts an end to tapering storylines whilst planting the seeds for intriguing new plots to come, all with a slight unerring edge and fearful tone.
Tim Seeley and Mike Norton are long time friends as well as independent comic creators. Tim lays out plots that are well explored and ended satisfyingly, but leave a sensation of nausea. The reviver’s lack of emotion is palatable and genuinely saddening, but he still leaves enough intrigue and suspense to make you feel concerned about them. It is a wonderful idea to make one of our protagonists, Em, a reviver as we are quite unsure how to receive her. Tim has taken a classic zombie trope and developed it in such a way that the revivers represent something altogether different. There is a stunning page in this book that looks at what it means to be a reviver, through the eyes of a lonely old man.
He is accompanied by Mike Norton, who creates a wonderfully quiet and cold environment for the book. It fits perfectly with its rural noire genre, especially when you appreciate how well he is able to draw cold and decaying body parts. The scenes of Em bathing naked at night as an ice cold scarred figure are more fear inducing than alluring. Contrast this with the brilliant crayon drawings of her nephew and you can appreciate the diversity of Norton’s style. In fact the child’s drawings provide a succinct and simple summary of the mystery and trepidation of the revivers.
This book is much more than a zombie book, and explores what is left once you excise the unintelligible, unstoppable, drooling, scary monster cliché. Don’t get me wrong, it’s quite terrifying but more from disquiet anxiety that comes from the unknown. It is a wonderfully unique book with empathetic writing and subtly disturbing artwork.