Review: Revival #4 by Tim Seeley and Mike Norton (Image Comics)

Review:  Revival #4

Published by Image Comics

Written by Tim Seeley

Art by Mike Norton

Here’s a brief recap of the first three issues as told within the first page of the book.

“For one day in rural central Wisconsin, the dead came back to life.  Now it’s up to Officer Dana Cypress to deal with the media scrutiny, religious zealots, and government quarantine that has come with them.  Dana is called to a farm where she encounters a distraught woman, angry that she has been denied death.  It appears her sister, Em, is killed, until Em stops the enraged ‘Reviver’, revealing herself to be one as well.  Meanwhile, reporter May Tao comes to the home of a woman with a strange secret…”

The Plot

This issue begins at Thang Vang’s home where May is in the basement.  It appears as though there is some sort of ceremonial set-up and May is taking a picture just as an officer is standing at the top of the stairs.  Next we see one of the white beings calling for Martha (Em) and then she wakes up startled and finds some blood coming from the top of her head.  Then the story shifts to the Heinlein Funeral Home where yet another incident occurred last issue.  A reporter, Jamie, is covering the story despite the concerns of her cameraman.  One reviver, Ms. Dittman, appears to be dead (for the third time) and the anxiety-ridden funeral home worker finds something peculiar with her most recent death.  Outside of the funeral home, they are trying to avoid talking to the media when an individual throws some…stuff at Jamie.  At the police department, May is there to meet Dana (who of course is at the funeral home) and Em walks into the station and the two accidentally collide.  Em sees the picture of a white being on May’s phone.  Dana and Ibrahaim have a discussion while driving away from the funeral home and she declines his invitation to go for a drink stating that she would rather be with her child.  May is now looking for someone to discuss the story (and the phone she found) and is ambushed by Abel (a demonologist).  While putting May in captivity, Abel divulges what happened as well as his motivation.  Jamie arrives home looking to “visit” someone that’s not her husband, but instead makes a gruesome discovery.  Em is then shown approaching a secluded house where she is being approached by a white being.

The Breakdown

Norton’s art is solid as the characters have distinct looks and their expressions are convincing.  The guy is also very good at doing creepy.  The colours by Mark Englert are dark and bleak, but in a good way.  The mood in this comic is always evident and it helps to tell the story.  This book is really creepy by using both over the top scary moments and by using subtle scenes where you don’t see anything, but you know that something is out there.  The white beings are finally starting to become more active, which is good because they obviously have a lot to do with recent events.  The reader can understand and empathize with the relationships between the characters as the comic focuses upon them more than the revivers.  This is where a lot of the strength of this book comes from as this isn’t about non-stop action and non-stop gore filled horror, but rather it’s about a community’s reaction to a supernatural phenomenon.  I laughed out loud when the cameraman charged at the guy throwing “stuff” at Jamie.  It is funny in real life when people act irrationally in the heat of the moment, but as soon as they’re called on it they get startled or freaked out.  The revivers seem to be both normal and dark, which is refreshing from the usual zombie fare.  There are so many questions within this book that need to be answered, which is making me anticipate each issue.  I might not have picked up this comic, but after reading the quirky FCBD offering, decided to pick it up.  Seeley is doing a great job of introducing the mysteries of this book.  He doesn’t pile mystery upon mystery upon mystery…upon mystery (kind of like how Lost did) and the story is progressing nicely.

BUT…

They should keep mentioning the character’s names.  Other than Dana, Em, and Ms. Dittman, I had to backtrack on previous issues to remember Ibrahaim and Abel’s names.  Also, at the end of the previous issue, I forgot about May because I don’t recall seeing her since the short in the FCBD offering.  It wasn’t until she mentioned “breaking the reviver’s story” that I remembered who she was.  In some parts the comic was a bit hard to follow (i.e. I wasn’t sure if Em was where May was being held or not and Abel’s monologue was odd).  When re-reading the comic just now I saw that May didn’t take the picture after all (as previously stated in “the Plot” section) and that it was taken already when she found the phone.  The “snap” sound was her closing the phone (I thought it was her snapping the pic).  Usually I don’t have to read a comic twice (and I generally don’t care to as I have a pile of books to read each week) and I also had to re-read the previous issue in order to better understand this issue.  I do read some comics twice just for the sake of enjoyment, but I don’t really like doing so for the purpose of research.  Other people might not have had this problem whatsoever and it was only for this issue that I had this problem.  Some details didn’t stick with me I guess.  This was my least enjoyable issue in comparison to previous ones, but it was still a good read.  The problems might not be with the writing, but perhaps it could be the editing.  It could have been a bit tighter.  I didn’t really catch what Jamie was hit with until it was stated later on.  A quick mention with a single word balloon could help some of these things.  There are a lot of characters and incidents and I could have benefitted from some help here and there.

Buy It, Borrow It, Shelf Read It, or Ignore It?

Buy it if you’re into the thriller/horror genre or even if you’re into character-driven stories in general.  If you’re not and you’re into other genres then ignore it.  If you don’t have a chance to pick up the previous issues then you wouldn’t benefit from just having this issue.  This is a comic that I do look forward to and I like the unique twist on the whole undead concept.  This is a good book and I recommend it, but only for mature audiences.  There are conflicts everywhere and when they inevitably come to a head, things are going to get insane.

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