Tim Seeley and Mike Norton’s “Revival” 9 puts several of our main characters in serious jeopardy, and ups the stakes significantly as the Check Brothers become even more dangerous than the “Revivers.”
One of the most interesting aspects of “Revival” is how Seeley has used this one event, technically limited in scope, to have a devastating ripple effect throughout this small town, and the world at large. Much more horrifying to me than the violence actual Revivers might be perpetrating are the horrible humans interested in capitalizing on the tragedy/mystery/miracle. Regular people — some driven to crime by desperate circumstances and others just opportunistic fools — are frightening, and there’s nothing science fiction about them. Seeley’s take on how people would react to this event is quite realistic and painfully scary. While he limits the scope of his story to central characters, what he presents is a huge variety of reactions to the impact of this event.
Another point for realism comes from this wonderful undercurrent of simple things gone wrong, because people are flawed and human and make mistakes. In this issue, Nikki, because she’s selfishly preoccupied (and looking for some drugs), ignores Dana’s son Cooper, which leads to a horrible predicament for them both. These realistic and almost pragmatic aspects of Seeley’s story hit particularly hard and are easily as frightening as the more obvious horror elements.
Norton excels at depicting both the gruesome violence and “the creatures” (I’m really not sure what I should refer to them as at this point). His storytelling is clean, easy to follow and effective, though it’s clear he simply enjoys drawing some things more than others (and who can blame him). In general the art is extremely consistent, which is key in any comic, but especially in a horror story that hinges on mysterious elements and dropped clues. The story has always suffered slightly from a handful of female leads with straight long dark hair that look a bit too much alike (though two of them are sisters), but Norton has done his best to differentiate them, and for the most part succeeds.
While “Revival” #9 as a single issue is not going to blow readers’ minds, it’s another strong entry in a strong series. With each issue, “Revival” has racked up new mysteries, but has never felt like it doesn’t know where it’s headed. Too many books I read suffer from “Lost”-itis with no clear plan for a resolution, leading to broken hearts all around. “Revival” has excelled with consistently good individual issues and a confident story arc assuring that all will be revealed — eventually.