Revival (A Rural Noir)1 by Tim Seeley and Mike Norton
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Mike Norton
Publisher: Image Comics
Revival is a stunning film worthy deconstruction of the zombie myth which, if this issue is any indication, might actually be better in its world construction and its myth making than even “Walking Dead”.
Our premise is that the walking dead are only happening in what looks to be a small section of Wisconsin. These walkers aren’t deadly, yet. In fact, when they first are reborn they become exactly what they used to be. We’re assuming that whatever killed them has been cleansed or they’ve been fixed or whatever. Our story is seen through a lady sheriff who has a son and apparently benefits from nepotism. Her dad is the sheriff of the county. He apparently doesn’t like brown skinned people as he calls someone from the government there to help “Abraham” when he says his name is “Ibrahaim Ramin”. I’m not sure if he’s a racist or just doesn’t hear very well but the storytelling, including the little bits and the side characters, struck me as being interesting and realistic.
In fact, Revival does a couple of interesting things. One, it adds a layer of Christian myth to the whole awful proceedings of coming back from the dead. There are people who think that the “Revivers”, who just walk away from the morgue apparently, are part of the Christian rapture myth or when the dead will walk again if I remember my Sunday school readings.
Two, they’re not crazy eaters of brains. They seem to be kind of normal except for the crazy grandmother our hero, a lady detective who echoes “Fargo” to my pop culture eyes, is investigating. This would seem to suggest something different. You don’t go crazy from the zombie virus. You go crazy from the prospect of immortality unless someone cuts off your head but that’s a bit of spoiler for this first issue. Or here’s how crazy Grandma describes the living hell of not being able to die: “Everyone thinks it’s a miracle. But then they whisper and point. Ask me to heal them. My teeth just keep growing. I have to pull them out, so I can wear my dentures. Keeps me awake. I feel them moving around in my jaw..pushing up like sharp little daisies.”
Here’s a pic of crazy grandma who is also a super strong killing machine:
Three, there’s some kind of alien presence in this small area of Wisconsin which has been sensibly quarantined by the Centers for Disease Control. Good idea if you ask me. I hope that’s the protocol. And when the officer Dana’s son sees the white ghostly alien he mentions it to no one. Doesn’t even photo or film it with one of those new fangled smart phones that every kid has. Stupid kid.
Bottom line: yet another stunningly well written Image property that someone should turn into a movie or a critically well regarded zombie series on AMC, if they needed another one. 4.5 out of 5 stars. I’m beginning to think that Image is the best comics company in the world right now at least in terms of quality.