Revival, a “rural noir” series written by Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash) and drawn by Mike Norton (Runaways), is about a little town in Wisconsin where the dead are returning to life. Unlike zombies, these revivers (as they’re called in the comic) aren’t thirsty for living flesh, nor are they mindless automatons. Instead, they’re just like they were before but for some reason they can’t die, allowing for fervent religious Americans to proclaim the end times are nigh. I can’t deny it’s a pretty clever premise.
This is a good introductory issue, with interesting characters, a good deal of intrigue, and enough violence for any horror fan. One scene, where a reviver keeps pulling her teeth out, only to have them grow back, is disgusting and proof that Seeley can write a pretty interesting comic. Sigmund Freud believes dreams where one’s teeth fall out are a sign of sexual frustration, masturbation fantasies, and castration (a big deal with Freud and early psychoanalysis) and adding this particular action to the comic demonstrates Seeley’s ability to write intelligently. Then again, he could also realize it’s disgusting, using it as a device to terrify and repulse. If the latter’s the case I can’t deny he’s succeeded.
As mentioned at the beginning of this review, Revival is sold as a “rural noir” (even saying it at the top of the cover). I can’t deny it has a dark feel in regards to the story but the colors used are far from classic film noir like Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil, Double Indemnity, or The Naked City. If anything, Revival’s visual aesthetic is more reminiscent of The Coen Brothers’ Fargo, which is considered by many to be a modern noir (it also takes place in a rural, snow covered landscape, like Revival does). If they’re referring to the French definition of noir, meaning black, then it’s fitting because this is indeed a dark story.
I’m uncertain whether Revival is an ongoing series or a limited one but there are enough elements in this first issue to set up a decent run for the book. Between the mysteries of the Revivers and the weird creature seen walking through the forest in the book’s beginning, Revival has enough material so far for it to keep my interest for a couple more issue at the least. I only hope Seeley and Norton can keep the series clever and intelligent for a long time as I think the premise for the book is inventive and the social commentary embedded in the story is fairly valuable.