Thursday, July 12, 2012

Revival #1

Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Mike Norton
Company: Image Comics

Good horror is hard to come by in comics. Sure, we've got your zombies and your Cthulhu books, which don't get me wrong, is great. Classic, spine tingly, goose bump inducing, hairs rising up on the back of your neck...That kind of horror doesn't happen that often. Tim Seeley has been around in comics for awhile now. I first remember him from G.I. Joe back when Devil's Due was still publishing it. Then entered Hack/Slash, the horror comic with a heart of gold. That book, to this day, is a hell of a good time and ages like a fine wine, as it only seems to get better every time I pull it off the shelf. It was more comedy and fun situations than horror though, even with the occasional guest star from people like Chucky. With Revival, he's struck horror gold.

What's cool about his approach to Revival is that he revs the engine at the beginning of the story, quickens the pulse so to speak, and then idles for awhile, letting you get your tray tables in their upright and locked position. Then and only then, when your comfortable and thinking that you've got a handle on things, does he slam on the gas and pop a wheelie right into, "OH MY GOD, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? WHY IS THAT PERSON DOING THAT?"

Seeley does a great job with setup in this first issue. He introduces us to our main character, Dana Cypress. He uses his god given knack for imbuing natural human qualities, both flaws and bright and shining moments, into her while we get to know what makes her tick and the family that she's connected with. Her son, the kind of character that would find a perfect home in a Stephen King novel, is a stand out character. He's got that bit of humor and child-like inquisitiveness going on. Slowly, inch by methodical inch, he starts unfolding the situation that has occurred in this rural town in Wisconsin. It's kind of a head-scratcher, as he does it piecemeal, but we know it wasn't anything good and that the CDC are looming in the distance and that the place is under quarantine. By the time we learn that the dead have risen, which isn't even a spoiler for the story as this isn't your typical zombie story, you know you've been sucked in completely.

Helping out with this tale is the artistic talents of Mike Norton. The collaboration with Sean McKeever on the Marvel Comics property Gravity was probably the first book that I ever came into contact with his work. It was beautiful then and it's beautiful now. It is however a different animal. His usual cartoon like approach is definitely more subdued with Revival. He ramps up the horror and the realism of the town, capturing not only the core characters and their range of emotion, but really building up a believable world for them to be playing around in. The details in the town, everything from the bridges and the buildings to the cars and the clothes. It's all real enough, and even though we're dealing with grand ideas, people coming back from the dead kind of ideas, there's just enough there to suspend disbelief and really get caught up in it. The scene where Dana comes to the home of one of the Revived and is confronted with...Well, read the panel to the side or simply go out and get the comic...Man, that scene gave me chills. He makes you feel it and the way that it's handled, with heavy blacks and reds and shadows, it's a tremendous example of just how good horror in comics can be.

So yes, if your life isn't complete without a little bit of horror, take a detour into your local comic shop and check this one out. It's beautiful and creepy and such a well paced, methodical story. A hell of a first issue.

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