Written by TIM SEELEY
Art by MIKE NORTON
Cover by JENNY FRISON
With Revival, Image Comics have done their best to show there can be a fresh perspective on the zombie genre. Labelling it as a ‘rural noir’, the comic focuses on a small community in Wisconsin, USA, where a to-be-confirmed number of dead have risen back to life. Not overly original until the reader discovers these ‘Revivers’ are not the mindless, salivating zombies one might expect. Instead they return exactly as their previous selves.
As such, this small community is overrun by both the national media and the CDC (Centres for Disease Control) as the world seeks an explanation for this freak occurrence. In the meantime, the local population do their best to cope with this extreme situation as they are forced to remain within the town limits and those back from the dead are left to question how they fit back in to the world.
In its first issue, Revival covers considerably more ground usually seen in a #1, as it raises several open-ended storylines in which the writers will hopefully have many issues to cover. What is the cause of all this? Will it spread out across the rest of America? How far will the authorities go to contain the situation? And what’s the deal with that alien??
It is perhaps not a huge surprise the first issue has adopted this approach given the highly competitive nature of the comic book market at the moment. Whilst the excitement of the DC re-boot has now died down, recent months have seen a steady flow of #1’s from Image, not to mention it receiving inescapable comparisons with arguably the company’s flagship series, The Walking Dead.
Whilst this is understandable, given both series’ central premise of the living dead, Revival couldn’t be much further removed from the exploits of Rick Grimes and I certainly hope it manages to create its own identity.
One easily identifiable difference between the two series is the role played by the ‘dead’. In The Walking Dead, they feature as the stereotypical zombie, mindless, bereft of personality or soul, as they aimlessly wander the land, driven only by a lust for blood. Switch to the ‘Revivers’ where their identities and personalities remain intact, essentially making them characters. The focus is on the community as a whole, inclusive of the dead. Already in the first issue, it questions whether they should go back to their previous lives of working in a convenience store or going back to school. Additionally, we see an elderly lady resentful at returning, happy that her time had come.
A much needed feature shown is the search for exposition. Robert Kirkman, writer of The Walking Dead, has repeatedly stated the source of the virus will not be revealed. For that comic, it is not necessary as the focus is on survival and how humanity copes when stripped of even the basic elements of life in the 21st century. With Revival #1, the search for what happened is already underway as the main character, police officer Dana Cypress, is introduced as she gets dressed for work as she listens to a radio debate on the cause of events.
With the choice of location, it also puts rural communities at odds with the more mainstream aspects of society as they are placed under the magnifying glass. Along with the clash of theories between faith and science, it emphasises the level of conflict in the comic.
It is certainly early days however Revival is looking like it could be one of the outstanding comics of the year and is definitely worth a read.
Posted on August 11th, 2012
Category: REVIEWS, THE ONLY WAY IS GEEK
Tags: Comic Reviews, Image Comics, Jenny Frison, Mike Norton, Revival #1 Review, Stuart Ingram, The Only Way Is Geek, Tim Seeley, Walking Dead