Supernatural rural noir has been forever ruined for me by the impossibly high standards of ridiculously fun Stephen King read…but y’know what? Tim Seeley’s Revival promises to scratch that same itch. This first volume, You’re Among Friends, tells the story of twenty-something people coming back to life in a small rural American town. This throws the whole world into a shock, and the federal government quickly puts the town under quarantine, creating a pressure cooker on two fronts: on one, people who want to get into town, to witness the miracle and more often piggyback on hillbilly Jesus points. On the other end, of course, are the folks stuck in the quarantine, slowly crumbling under the pressure that comes with dealing with the recently deceased and all the world’s attention. Tension will be a slow burn throughout the next couple of volumes, I can tell—but even this early on, when violence strikes, it does so with a suddenness and a brutality that fit right into the sober tone of both story and art.
Officer Dana Cypress has spent her life trying to gain a glimmer of respect from her police captain dad after a high school pregnancy (her kid Cooper seems pretty cool, I’m afraid something awful will happen to him). Dana’s hope seems fulfilled when her dad finally puts responsibility on her shoulders—dealing with any crimes and conflicts to do with the ‘Revitalized Citizens’. It doesn’t seem like a massive task at the onset—though we readers know a lot of work will be opening for the soon-to-be detective. Oh, and before long, Dana discovers someone who’s come back without anyone knowing about it…her own younger sister, Martha.
Seeley sets up a mosaic of different characters who don’t intertwine all the way in this first volume, but something tells me they’ll come together in the volumes to come; a not-so-plucky journalist whose success is owed entirely to circumstance—she manages to capture the very first resurrection by dint of “right place, right time”. A crazy demonologist chap who is an utter asshole also shows up, as does a CDC scientist sent by the federal government to figure out if the country’s facing a pandemic of deathlessness and weather the ol’ nuclear arsenal ought to be freshened up.
Mike Norton’s art is simply amazing, going from the grotesque to the visceral to the mundane, each one beautiful in its own right. I can kinda see why he’s an Eisner award-winning artist, y’all…it’s crazy good! Downright disturbing at times, too—one particular grandma is rendered with such horrific detail that even I squirmed when first coming across them.
The first volume of Revival made for great reading; I’ll be sticking around for the second, hoping to gleam greater understanding into the mystery behind this revival. I look forward to more of Dana and her sister.