Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Revival, Volume One: You're Among Friends

This book collects the first five issues of the hit comic book series. Its premise is a familiar one: the dead have come back to life. But this book is not so much a zombie story as it is a detective yarn. The plot and characters are a fresh take on noir stories, with elements of family relationships, media sensationalism, suspense, religious fanaticism, utter confusion, and horror all set in a sleepy, rural Wisconsin town. The main narrative follows police officer Dana Cypress as she tries to get to the bottom of the situation and also solve a murder mystery. Because of this isolated "the dead are rising" situation, she can speak to the victim, who can't remember what happened, which is pretty horrible. Dana is a single mom whose boss is her father, which creates not a little tension. She also protects a few family secrets (I don't want to give anything away), which creates more tension. I very much enjoyed this aspect of realistic personal relationships in the plot.

But this is not just a crime/mystery/family book. It is also chock full of horrific and creepy images. This ghoulish gallery gets established from the very first scene, where we see a local reporter doing a fluff piece on people with strange jobs. As she is interviewing and recording a junior mortician at work in the crematorium, the unthinkable and unexpected happens:
In time, we also get to see a mysterious, ethereal form haunt the woods in search of a baby:
And not least of all, we get to see that not all of the "revivers" are coherent or in control of themselves, especially not this older woman who is dealing with some major dental issues:
It might go without saying, but this book is for more mature readers who can deal with blood, guts, swearing, and adult themes.

The two driving forces behind this book are writer Tim Seeley and artist Mike Norton (I love the name of his website). In terms of comics, Seeley is probably best known as the co-creator of Hack/Slash, but he has done a bunch of work with various companies, including a long run on G.I. Joe. He loves horror stories and is excellent at setting tones and spinning compelling tales with interesting characters. Norton is a comics veteran probably best known for his Eisner Award-winning webcomic Battlepug, but he also has drawn a great many comics for numerous publishers. He is a masterful visual storyteller. Both creators talk about their work on Revival in this interview.

All of the reviews I have read about this book have been glowing. CBR's Doug Zawisza called the series "an unexpected windfall that evokes an uncomfortable feeling, piques interest and taunts curiosity. It's a good read with great art and a weird, wild diversion from anything else on the stands this week." Alex Lupp gushed, "if you are a fan of character dramas with a tinge of horror and supernatural then this comic-book is a must read!" Drew Bradley summed this book up as "an unsurprisingly great debut to what will hopefully be a long series."

You're Among Friends was published by Image Comics. Here is a preview from Comic Book Resources.

The series is on-going and is currently on issue #18. There are also two additional trade paperback collections available now.

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