As soon as the comic book shop owner said the words ‘rural noir,’ I was completely sold. Revival is a graphic novel (emphasis on ‘graphic’) penned by Tim Seeley and illustrated by Mike Norton. In the dead of winter, the dead have risen in Wausau, Wisconsin. Not as vampires or zombies but as reanimated people living in their dead bodies, going back to the ones they loved and their old lives in their various forms of decay–thusly, the Revivers. Let’s just call it the Monkey’s Paw times fifty.
For fear of an ‘undying’ contagion, the city has been cordoned off and a special department within the local police force has been created to wrangle with the undead and the unique form of havoc they’re wreaking. Officer Dana Cypress, daughter of the police chief, has been put on this task force, the Revitalized Citizen Arbitration Team. To complicate matters even further, her younger sister Martha has become one of the Revivers and is secretly meting out her own special brand of justice against those who seek to gain against the undead. Will Officer Dana solve the mystery of who killed her sister? How long with the “Revival” last and what was the cause? And how many more gruesome undead characters can squeeze themselves into the comic panes in the bloodiest of manners?
If you come for the mystery, you’ve got to stay for the gore. The cover of Revival is one of the most beautifully illustrated that I’ve seen and the entire novel puts on display the entire range of greys, blues and beiges you can conjure out of a rural winter landscape. When you punctuate these with the inevitable splashes of red, you’ve got one macabre feast for the eyes.