“Revival” #2 opens up exploring the aftermath of Tim Seeley and Mike Norton’s cliffhanger from the debut issue of this new Image series about people that return from the dead and attempt to resume their lives. Dana Cypress, the Rothschild police officer assigned to the Revitalized Citizen Arbitration Team and central character of the first issue, slides to the side in this issue — not completely out of the spotlight, but certainly no longer completely alone.
Dana’s sister, Martha, had a close encounter with a “Reviver” last issue that left the younger Cypress on death’s doorstep, ready to gain firsthand experience as a “Reviver.” Tim Seeley has done a good job crafting an extremely believable dysfunctional family with the Cypresses all the way down to Martha sticking up for her big sister in a heated discussion with their father, Sheriff Wayne Cypress. From there, Martha takes center stage, growing curious about what the limits of being revived are and sets out to test those limits as only a little sister could, which leads to more trouble for the Cypresses and extends the mystery of what happens when these people come back.
Around that, Seeley and Norton check in on local ladies’ man, Lester Majak, sprinkling some fear in his life and steeping the “other stories” with frightening uncertainty. Lester only has a few pages in this issue, but the final scene of him shrinking into the shadows of his home would most assuredly be accompanied by doom-filled music were this a movie or television show. Norton captures the moment perfectly and does a solid job drawing out the emotions of all of the characters throughout this issue.
Norton also handles the visual introduction to Blaine Abel, a snowmobile repairman and self-declared “foremost religious demonologist.” Abel sees what’s going on and decides to prey upon the insecurities of those around him. He’s an opportunist at his core, and proves to be almost irredeemable. Norton’s work on these “ordinary” people sells this book. With strong storytelling and dynamic character work, Norton has given life to the Wisconsin towns of Rothschild, Wausau and Weston. If I ever make it to any of these places and don’t find it as Norton’s drawing it, I’ll be sorely disappointed.
Things get edgier in this second installment of “Revival” and the cracks between the members of the Cypress family are starting to widen and transform into fissures. Add to that the mystery deepening around Ibrahaim Ramin, a seemingly throwaway character from last issue, and “Revival” #2 provides enough suspense to propel this series forward. This issue isn’t as briskly paced as the first issue, nor does it introduce as many oddities, but it does move things forward with just enough teasing to ratchet up curiosity.