February 3rd, 2013 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Blah |
The words ‘reboot’ and ‘remake’ never seemed to enter into my vocabulary growing up as a bit of a film freak. There was the word ‘sequel’ which cropped up relatively often, but that was always something to be cherished (what Christmas was ever complete without ‘Return of the Jedi’?) Now, the words ‘reboot’ and ‘remake’, that at one stage would be synonymous with the word ‘shit’, are commonly used in relation to films. Too much, some might say. In fact, some might say (okay, me) that we’ve got a bit of a rehash epidemic on our hands. There’s the recent Total Recall remake, the Robocop reboot in post-production. I read somewhere a while back that someone has been tasked with writing a Lethal Weapon remake; I cried a little inside. Good concepts and original material, it seems, are hard to come by these days.
The exception to the rule here, of course, are zombies; the cultural obsession that never, ever seems to get old and die (sorry). Infused across every conceivable media and done sometimes well (Walking Dead, 28 Days Later, Left 4 Dead) and not so well (the shockingly bad Day of the Dead remake-that-wasn’t-a-remake), we can’t seem to get enough. So when Tim ‘Hack/Slash’ Seeley and Mike Norton announced Revival, a ‘rural noir’ about the dead coming back to life in a small town, my Deadhead Radar (™) flickered into life and I found myself shambling to the shop to get my fix. It was here that I found out that Revival isn’t about zombies and is all together a different kettle of (dead) fish. And different is good.
Now, when I say good, I mean this is one of the best of the many original stories that Image comics have released en masse recently, all of which are nothing short of excellent. Seeley and Norton deal us a story about the realistic consequences of what would happen if 23 of a small town’s recently deceased population literally just woke up and carried on with their lives. The town has been cordoned off and quarantined from the outside world (the government are worried that what has happened in the town is contagious and will spread across the country), the religious zealots are having a field day, convinced that this is all the proof the world needs that God exists and members of the scientific community are all trying to work out how the Hell something like this has happened in the first place.
Revival has one of the best issue 1’s I’ve read in a long time. Not to say that the rest of it is rubbish, it’s just the first issue is of such a high standard and poses so many interesting scenarios and possible analogies (this event could represent the current global fear of terrorism, that fundamentalism has run wild etc.) that are crafted with such expert precision in the script and the artwork that you can’t help but take a breath after reading it and then go back and read it all over again.
After a darkly amusing prologue that reads like every coroner’s worst nightmare, we are introduced to Dana Cypress, a small town cop tasked by her over-protective Sheriff father to be the liaison officer to Ibrahim Ramin, a member of the Centre for Disease Control who has been sent in to study some of the ’revivers’ to find out what makes them tick. Through Dana, we meet the rest of the town but most importantly Dana’s sister, Martha, a young woman with a big secret to hide.
To explain the story too much would ruin it due to it being so tightly woven. Needless to say, Seeley’s characters are immediately engaging and believable, all of them with emotional baggage, all of them dealing with the ‘revivers’ in different ways because of that baggage. These people are drawn from a world that is exactly like ours (only the dead are walking around) and the dialogue reflects this; every line is thoughtfully crafted and directly contributes to pushing the story forward. Mike Norton’s artwork is perfect for this story, his detailed, consistent pencils capturing the essence of small town life that has been thrown into the limelight through no fault of its own. Special mention must be made to the colourist, Mark Englert, who works into the artwork such an atmosphere in places that you can almost feel the cold of the snow.
Revival reads in a similar vein to other ‘small town/slice of life’ books like Jeff Lemire’s Essex County and Craig Thompson’s Blankets but piles on the crime mystery and horror elements to create something that borrows from obvious source material but puts a unique and original spin on it. Out of all the Image titles recently released, this is definitely one for the top of the pile. A little of something different definitely goes a long way. Well, let’s hope so. Issue 6 is released at the end of this month and long may it continue.
Buy Revival Volume 1: You’re Among Friends TP from Amazon.
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