Tradewaiter: Revival Volume 1 – You’re Among Friends

Zombie stories are a dime a dozen anymore, and but Tim Seeley and Mike Norton provide an original twist on the premise by having the undead come back not as flesh crazed monsters, but as they were when they died. Mostly…

Written by Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Mike Norton

For one day in rural Wisconsin, the dead came back to life. Now it’s up to Officer Dana Cypress to deal with the media scrutiny, religious zealots, and government quarantine that has come with them. In a town where the living have to learn to deal with those who are supposed to be dead, Officer Cypress must solve a brutal murder, and everyone, alive or dead, is a suspect.

Before there can be a proper review of “Revival,” you need a better plot description than the solicitation. The “For one day” beginning is misleading, because the dead came back for a lot more than just one day. If it means the people who came back all died on the same day, that tidbit of information is missing from the actual comic. Similarly, the media scrutiny and religious zealots are present, but only as a background for the events of the book. The quarantine plays a bigger role, but it’s still more of a detail than an important factor. The real meat of the story is in the phrase “the living have to learn to deal with those who are supposed to be dead,” because this is first a foremost a story about people. The brutal murder doesn’t happen until the end of the fourth chapter, and it certainly isn’t solved in this volume. This feels more like a solicitation for what the series as a whole may cover, not something crafted for this first volume.

Nitpicking aside, these five issues made for a very entertaining read. “Revival” is about a small town and has a sprawling cast. While some characters are of course going to be more developed than others, everyone who appears on the page feels at least two dimensional. Likewise, the variety of subplots is a clear sign Seeley took the time to really consider how resurrections would affect daily lives. He also wasted no time to drop hints about the mystery behind the revivers, though he’ll leave you with more questions than answers in this volume.

Dana cypress, the main star of the title, has a personal interest because her younger sister, Marsha, is also a reviver, though only Dana and Marsha’s murderer know it. She also has a professional interst in the phenomenon as the detective in charge of investing reviver-related crimes. The bulk of ‘You’re among friends’ is about her investigation of one reviver in particular, an old lady who accidentally killed her daughter in a fit of anger. While initially not a sympathetic character, Seeley turns the end of the investigation into a heartbreaking (and horrifying) conclusion.

Norton’s art is a perfect compliment for Seeley’s small town tale. His characters are distinct without being stylized, and his action scenes are clear without being static. He draws women realistically, and he can portray a wide variety of emotions through both facial expressions and body language. On several occasions, Seeley trusts Norton to convey thoughts without the aid of text, and Norton succeeds every time. He also shows the dark side of the revivers in a subtle way which seems especially effective (and reminiscent of Lono in “100 Bullets”).

The only bonus feature included in this volume is an introduction by Jeff Lemire. He talks about the themes of the book, and how universal they are. While there’s nothing particularly profound here, he will get you ready to think deeper about the story which follows. At $13, this trade is a terrific value. The five issues inside were all $4, making this a hugely discounted price. You may have a long list of excuses on why you don’t want to begin reading another new series, but this is one you won’t regret giving a shot.

Final Verdict: 9 – An unsurprisingly great debut to what will hopefully be a long series.

About The AuthorDrew BradleyDrew Bradley is a long time comic reader whose contributions to Multiversity include the Minding MIND MGMT, Small Press Spotlight columns, and the discontinued Tradewaiter. He also tackles projects like Lettering Week and Variant Coverage. Feel free to email him about these things, or any other comic related topic.

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User's Comments
  • Matt

    Just read the trade. Great book. Question with possible spoiler given the above description.

    Why is it that Martha comes back as a Reviver but the lady who was killed right before her (with some pliers as you might recall) stays dead?

    • kris

      Because Martha had died and been revived prior to being “killed’ again in the barn scene.