Sunday, December 29, 2013

Comic Book Finds: Revival

Issue 8 finds "embedded" reporter,  May Tao, attempting to go undercover in one of Revival's many character arcs.
I collect quite a few comic books. While some beg to be read immediately after being purchased, I find the enjoyment of other titles enhanced by waiting for a few issues to be published before sitting down to read them. These types of titles would seem to be good candidates for my purchase as trade paperback collections (a practice called "trade-waiting"), but I and my "dark purchaser" are slaves to my childhood urge to collect comics as single issues if humanly possible. This strategy seems to work best with series that build a broad character driven narrative, especially one with multiple character arcs. This is much the same reason I prefer to watch some television series (American Horror Story, for example) when they have been released in their entirety on DVD.

Cover Revival #14
by Jenny Frison.
Fortunately, I jumped on this title early as the first issue, released in July 2012, sold out quickly and I happened to pick one up as it appeared tonally to be at the very least a distant cousin of Image Comics's recently concluded horror thriller Severed. Image Comics' Revival is a series I have been saving up issues of for reading over the past year and, interestingly enough, the television show of which is most reminiscent is the aforementioned American Horror Story particularly the Season Two arc, Asylum. With two weeks off from school, in addition to catching up with a few novels that have been awaiting attention, I've also begun making my way through series I have been holding onto.

The cover of each issue declares Revival to be "A  Rural Noir by (writer) Tim Seeley + (artist) Mike Norton," just above the stunning cover work by artist Jenny Frison; Issue 12 is the only issue thus far to not feature Frison's artwork, that honor going to the popular Skottie Young. While the book does contain elements of "rural noir"--it is indeed the bleak setting of wintry Wausau, Wisconsin, and each issue contributes to an intricately woven story of cynical, broken characters--it offers much. Weaving sci-fi and horror (including instances best described as body horror, gore and torture), writer Seeley keeps the reader engaged by subtly shifting genres and characters without losing sight of the larger story, one that as of the recently released issue 16, has not yet come fully into focus.
From Revival Issue #1.

The initiating event of the primary action of the comic is seen off-page and precedes the vents of Issue #1. Apparently one day, only in the town of Wausau, a select number of the recently deceased were "revived." Touching on a range of political issues (the town's mayor establishes internet camps for the revived) and social (both left and right wing media vie for the proper angle on the story), the comic book methodically established a broad tapestry of characters neither of whom are particularity good or evil, but all of whom struggle with the events shaping the world around them. The 'good guys" brutalize the deserving "villains" and the bad guys experience conflicts of conscience as they in turn plot against the "heroes."

Other than briefly explaining the set-up, to say much more would ruin the enjoyment of reading Revival. The highest praise I can give it is that after 30+ years of reading comic books and enjoying horror books and films, I have little idea where the story is going. Best of all, the trip looks to continue to be an entertaining ride!

Issue 16 of Revival is probably still on stands at better shops, and if you're lucky, your local comic shops may have individual issues on the racks (though I doubt #1 and 2 are readily available). Your best bet in getting on the Revival bandwagon is likely... wait for it... picking up the recently released trade paperbacks which can also be bought at your local comic shop--just ask.

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