Tim Seeley and Mike Norton’s “Revival” has played out at a satisfying clip. One part horror, one part detective story and deliberately not calling itself a zombie book (yet absolutely mining zombie tropes but in strong new ways), it’s been a quiet but impressive book.
This is not my favorite issue so far, but it delivers some really solid developments that propel the mysteries and supernatural elements forward nicely while also being one of the scariest and most violent installments thus far. Or perhaps it just feels so scary because Martha is at the center of so much of that violence.
The side stories in “Revival” #11 are a necessary evil that you just have to get through to get to the parts you can’t wait to see. There’s nothing particularly wrong with them and Seeley does his best to make them as compelling as everything else, but he’s set the stakes very high in those other pages. I found myself rushing through the hospital scenes as well as Ramin’s close call with local racist Raymond Hold. It probably doesn’t help that Norton feels a little like he’s rushing through those pages as well.
Norton’s art really takes off when it comes to the gory violent stuff, as well as the creepy and more supernatural elements. I suppose it makes sense, but in a book that tries very hard to draw some contrasts and parallels between almost benignly normal small town life and the horrifyingly supernatural, I wish he could put just a bit more love into the boring stuff. Really, it’s silly to complain, because even the less engaging pages are still clean, lovely and easy to follow in their storytelling, but knowing what Norton is capable of, I greedily want more. As for the gory violent stuff, man is it compelling. Martha particularly soars in this issue with her bloody beat down, as well as her attempt at a mercy killing that turns into something so much more interesting, and a gratifying piece of the larger puzzle.
“Revival” is a detective meets horror meets zombie book that isn’t a zombie book at all, in the best of ways. The compelling mysteries at the center of the book are coming at a solid and well-paced clip, driving forward my need to know with each new installment. One of the best things Seeley and Norton have set up is that it feels as if there are limitless places they can take us, and I’m excited to see where we will indeed end up.