Revival (Volume One): You’re Among Friends by Tim Seeley (writer) and Mike Norton (artist)

Revival (Vol. 1): You're Among Friends by Tim Seeley and Mike NortonRevival is marketed as “rural noir,” but it is horror, too. Tim Seeley and Mike Norton have created an eight-volume story, and volume one, “You’re Among Friends,” starts off, after an introduction by Jeff Lemire, with a shocking event: Ms. Tao, a reporter given the worst columns to write, is forced to write one on unusual jobs. In the opening scene, she is making a video recording as she interviews the town’s crematorium technician at one in the morning. The plot moves quickly: In the first few pages he’s pushing the casket into the furnace, and they hear a loud thumping noise, and before they know it, a burned, live body is climbing out of the furnace! It’s a horrific scene, and it is followed by other dead bodies coming to life around them. The dead start sitting up in body bags.

The town attracts world-wide attention as more and more people revive, and those from out-of-town start surrounding the borders trying to get in. But a quarantine is in effect, and nobody knows what’s going on. Ibrahaim Ramin arrives from the C.D.C. to help, and he is an outsider who has to deal with racist locals as he tries to do his job and help out the local sheriff. The sheriff has two daughters, one of whom is a police officer with a dad as boss. This, of course, causes tension, as Dana is put on Revitalized Citizen Arbitration Team and has to work with the C.D.C. Her team-up with Ibrahaim provides interesting tension in the story, particularly since they first meet at a bar, and Ibrahaim picks her up before realizing she’s his partner.

The plot takes another twist when Dana, driving across the bridge in her police car, spots her sister, Martha, just looking out over the river. Martha gets into the car with Dana as they ride out to another “crime scene” involving a revivalist. Martha gets “killed” in front of Dana when a revivalist puts a scythe through her chest. As Martha gets up, she tells her sister not to tell their dad, so soon Dana and Martha have a secret: Martha is now one of the revivalists, which of course will cause plenty of complications.

This is a great comic, and it is as good as it is because Seeley really brings to life this small town by creating a cast of very interesting and intriguing characters who interact with each other in complicated ways. That’s the real strength of this series, and it stays strong throughout all eight volumes. There’s a guy who “heals” the possessed. There’s a sketchy professor in town. Dana has an ex-husband and a son, both of whom create extra tension and drama. There are other cops as well as employees besides cops who work in the police department, and there’s the local reporter we met in the opening scene. And there a number of other characters who also come into play, some of whom are violent and quite dangerous. It is, after all, noir horror. Meanwhile, there are ghost-like creatures lurking along the periphery of the town to add to the mystery of the revivalists. The art, too, is perfect for the story. Mike Norton does a masterful job. The first volume has a good conclusion: some aspects of the plot are wrapped up, but much more suspense is built up at the same time, so you’ll want to move quickly on to the next volumes. This is a series that is hard to stop reading once you start!


  • Brad Hawley

    BRAD HAWLEY, who's been with us since April 2012, earned his PhD in English from the University of Oregon with areas of specialty in the ethics of literature and rhetoric. Since 1993, he has taught courses on The Beat Generation, 20th-Century Poetry, 20th-Century British Novel, Introduction to Literature, Shakespeare, and Public Speaking, as well as various survey courses in British, American, and World Literature. He currently teaches Crime Fiction, Comics, and academic writing at Oxford College of Emory University where his wife, Dr. Adriane Ivey, also teaches English. They live with their two young children outside of Atlanta, Georgia.

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