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"Revival: Volume 1 – You're Among Friends" Trade Paperback Review


Written by James Ferguson


Published by Image Comics




Originally published as Revival #1 - #5

Written by Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Mike Norton
2012, 130 Pages
Trade Paperback released on December 25th, 2012




Just about every zombie story I've read has the undead roaming through the world feasting on human flesh.  The survivors cling to whatever semblance of life they can as they struggle to come to grips with the fact that the dead now walk the earth.  But what if dead people came back to life and just...went back to their normal everyday lives?  No hunger for brains.  No decomposition.  Just back to the cashier job at the Piggly Wiggly or whatever they were doing before they shuffled off this mortal coil.  That's the setup for Revival from Tim Seeley and Mike Norton.  It sounds eerily simple but quickly spirals into so much more.


Click images to enlarge


Revival picks up in the small town of Wausau, Wisconsin.  It's your typical Middle America locale, or at least it was until one January evening when a bunch of recently deceased individuals just got back up.  The opening scene of this first volume entitled You're Among Friends shows a crematorium technicians putting a body in to the fire only to have it wake up screaming.  The thing with these “Revivers”, as they come to be called, is that they heal like Wolverine.  A cut will seal up in a short while and near-fatal injuries go right back to normal without an issue.  This can present other issues though.  Early on in the book, an old woman Reviver is constantly pulling her teeth out in an effort to put her dentures in.  She keeps pulling them out and they just keep growing back.  She's found after following a trail of teeth scattered all over the ground, with an adorable little kitten playing with them.  

A bunch of people coming back to life has caused all kinds of crazy to come to Wausau.  The town has been quarantined until the government and various other organizations such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) can figure out what's going on and rule out terrorism.  Religious groups are taking it as proof of God's existence and/or the coming rapture.  At the center of all of this is Officer Dana Cypress, who has been assigned to the Revitalized Citizen Arbitration Team, which is basically a task force designated to handle any calls involving the Revivers.  She has a personal stake in this as she's very close to a formerly dead person and she didn't even know it.  Now she has to handle the increasing number of Reviver-related incidents and help solve a murder that isn't really a murder anymore.


Click images to enlarge


Revival is described as a “rural noir”, which is fitting for this comic.  There's a simplicity to the feel of the town that makes it appear like any small town across the US.  That's also a testament to Mike Norton's artwork.  You're instantly at home here.  This makes the terrifying events that pop up throughout the book all the more shocking.  The aforementioned teeth situation was one of the creepiest scenes I've read all year.  The kitten put it over the top.  That's just the tip of the iceberg.  Author Tim Seeley has a way of pulling you into the story and making you totally comfortable before scaring the shit out of you.  

Dana is an instantly relatable character.  She's a single mom struggling to earn the approval of her father, the town sheriff, and still have something resembling a life.  Norton draws her with these freckles that make her look so innocent.  You just want to protect her even though she can definitely take care of herself.  


Click images to enlarge


Seeley sets up a mystery in this small town with some pretty big pieces yet to be revealed.  The reason for the Revivers returning to life is the big question, but there are many others.  The strangest of which is what are the weird white creatures walking through the woods and what do they have to do with the no longer dearly departed?  The true intentions of these strange and eerie beings has something to do with death or spirits or ghosts, but it's not yet clear.  Of course, I wouldn't expect it to be after only five issues.  

You're Among Friends dumps out all the pieces of the puzzle onto the table and slowly starts to put it together.  This first volume gets a few of the corner sections together, but you're not going to get a good look at what the full picture is for a little while.  You're going to have to work for it, but judging from the story so far, it'll be worth it.




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