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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Revival. Volume 1: You're Among Friends. Tim Seeley (Writer), Mike Norton (Artist), Mark Englert (Colours), Crank! (Letters). Image Comics (2012)

A stunning idea realised with astonishing execution, Revival is clever and deeply engaging. One day in rural central Wisconsin, the  recently dead came back to life, not as cannibal zombies rather as confused people looking to return to their lives. Placed in a quarantine by the federal government the people, living and revived, of the the area struggle with the unexpected and inexplicable return of dead family and friends. With  pressure outside the limits increasing as everyone scrambles to understand what has happened inside the revival zone the pressure is intense. Officer Dana Cyrpess is appointed the Revitalized Citizen Arbitration Team, who will try and manage the problems that arise.A major plot line concerning the activities of a local exorcist who sees that his moment has comes provides the structure, while the ripples from the event are examined. The reveals are clever and thoughtful, there are excellent on-going story hooks and a deeply engaging cast.
The cast is one of the greatest surprises of the book, all of them have been created with care and attention, even the smallest walk on part is given depth and shape. Avoiding the well worn cliches of the zombie genre in favor of a much more gripping approach, the living and the revived are given a chance to fail in individual ways to cope with the extraordinary events that have occurred. The revived are who they were only different, the living are changed by the fact and presence of the revived, if death is nor true what is?
The cast are uniformly and recognizably human, female or male, local or outsider, living or revived, in that order which neatly cloaks and heightens the tension at its core. Reality has cracked the cast have not, yet.
Tim Seeley is too good a dramatic writer to simply run the reader's noses in the facts of the situation, leading with Officer Dana Cypress, the extraordinary is explored through the ordinary. People still have to manage the business of living, as well or as badly as they always did, the fracture lines of their lives have not changed just intensified.
Mike Norton's art is simply gorgeous, the cast are individual, the body language and shapes, are expressive and varied. They have the breath of life in them, capturing and expressing all the the nuances of the story that the art needs to capture. The context , snow bound rural landscapes are a treat to read. The action scenes are full of energy, the low key scenes are equally filled with subtle action as the cast react and respond.
The colours by Mark Engelert are so natural and effective they nearly glide by without notice, they clothe the art so unassumingly that they hide the astonishing skill and thought that they bring to the project. The same can be said for the letters by Crank!, easy to read, unobtrusively giving layers of context and force to the comic.
A great comic that works because it exploits the possibilities if a comic to the full.
Other Voices, Other Views:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16137205-revival-vol-1
http://bloody-disgusting.com/news/3207922/review-revival-volume-1-youre-among-friends/
http://www.scifinow.co.uk/reviews/33338/revival-vol-1-youre-among-friends-graphic-novel-review/

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