Author: Tim Seeley
Illustrator: Matt Norton
Publisher: Diamond Book Distributors
I half-expected Revival to be another cookie-cutter zombie tale riding on the coat tails of The Walking Dead. A rural setting is a typical locale for supernatural phenomena in fiction and a small town in Wisconsin fits this mold perfectly. But from the beginning pages of Revival, we begin to see some fresh twists to the zombie trope.
The story’s protagonist is Officer Dana Cyprus. In short, she got knocked up as a teenager, later divorced, and became a cop to try and earn back her sheriff father’s approval.
Dana gets put in charge of a task force to investigate the strange occurrences and ends up in struggles with her father, sister, and CDC liaison who she momentarily has the hots for. Her sister, Em, has problems of her own and bears a secret that only Dana knows. In addition to their personal issues, Dana and Em play a role in saving the town from the larger threat that looms in the darkness.
Revival‘s strength lies in Dana’s character. While attractive, she is a far stretch from the impossibly curved, spandex-wearing heroines of superhero comics. She is capable, but fallible, with personal baggage and limitations in her abilities. Simply put, she is real and is a character that you can cheer for.
The zombies in this quarantined town are different from the mindless undead walkers you are accustomed to. They are more like vampires who at first glance are unmistakable from human, but possess the ability to heal from severe wounds within seconds. The uniqueness of these zombies plays out like Scott Snyder’s American Vampire, where the creatures do not conform to the typical mythos that accompanies them.
Seeley also blends religious fanaticism within the narrative, which enables the introduction of deeper themes such as eternal life and the nature of what it means to be human. These themes are touched on throughout the story, but there are more opportunities to examine them on a deeper level. There is an interesting character who plays a moderate role as a demonologist who acts as a sort of con-artist exorcist, praying (preying?) over teenagers who seek to grab attention by faking possession.
The early pages also reveal what appears to be an alien creature lurking about the town, but what I expected to be extra-terrestrial was something entirely different. But I will resist from saying anymore, lest I spoil all the fun.
Overall, I enjoyed reading Revival, but I would like for it to carry a stronger story arc with specific goals and an exploration of deeper themes. The skeleton of the story is there, the characters are interesting, and it is a fresh take on the zombie trope.