Rating: 4.5/5 – A Finely-Woven Patchwork of Horror.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Lawrence Arboleda.
Tim Seeley and Mike Norton’s “rural noir” series, Revival, has engrossed me in more ways than one since the first issue. I admit that I initially scoffed at the creators for branding the title “rural noir,” thinking that it was dismissive of horror as a genre in comics. But 19 issues in, I can understand why they chose to brand it as such. For one, the book does have a lot of noirish elements to it; bleak settings, the threat of imminent danger always lurking around the corner, the constant paranoia, the crime tropes – they all scream “noir.” And it all takes place in secluded, not to mention quarantined, small town of Wausau. But make no mistake about it, Revival is for all intents and purposes a horror comic. And it is one of the best out there at the moment.
Revival #19 is where things really start to heat up. Lester Majak finally sees his dog but in the most heartbreaking and grotesque of circumstances (be warned, dog lovers). Sheriff Wayne Cypress gets on Edward Holt’s case yet again, ratcheting the tension brewing between them even further. Dana Cypress finally reveals her secrets to Ibrahim Ramin for the purpose of acquiring his help in her quest to solve the mystery of Em’s murder. Speaking of Em, she finally finds Jesus (I could explain this further but where would be the fun in that?). Last but not least, there’s a major plot development in the end that you’re better off seeing for yourself.
One of Revival’s best strengths is its complexity. And it’s not complexity for its own sake either. The myriad of plot threads woven together into the storyline has been crafted with such care and precision, never losing its focus and always giving each character every opportunity to shine. From the hands of a lesser writer, a story with such high density as this would have fallen apart and would have lost all consistency and coherence. The dialogue and characterization are so strong and organic that I tend to forget sometimes that these characters are a work of fiction.
Mike Norton’s art has been consistently strong throughout the series, and the same can be said for this issue. His detailed renderings of Wausau as they provide the backdrop to the plot and characters never fail to evoke a strong sense of place. His strong facial work also provides the precision and depth required to make the characters resonate more and ring true.
Each issue of Revival is a delectable stew of mystery and suspense that keeps you guessing. And when the reveals come (grotesque or otherwise), they always open up new interesting possibilities that will make you as engrossed in the story as before, if not more. And if the cliffhanger in this issue is any indication, it looks like things will be hitting the fan in the coming issues.
Reviewed by: Lawrence Arboleda
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