Madness, mystery, and murder with a side of poetry, “Revival” #11 by Tim Seeley and Mike Norton takes this unbelievably twisted and beautiful series to a new level of intensity.
Written by Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Mike Norton
Dana and her father are in a race to save Ibrahaim from trigger happy retired militiaman. Em gets her hands dirty. Poor Tommy the Torso.
“Revival” #11, Seeley and Norton continue to pull the threads of tension taught in a classic horror story fashion. Accomplishing a great deal with a brilliant economy of storytelling, the team captures a sensation of stillness, even in moments of emotional and physical conflict. That sparseness creates an eerie echo of the isolated setting of Central Wisconsin in Winter. The complexity of the world is growing; twists and turns make it delightfully difficult to anticipate what may happen next. The large cast of characters is becoming three dimensional, as they are revealed to be more human and more monstrous with each slice of story the creative team gives their readers. Supernatural elements pass into the light of clarity for only a moment, before receding to the shadows of mystery. In other words, Seeley and Norton have no intention of letting the strong foundation, and narrative momentum they have built over the past ten issues go to waste. The series continues to deliver everything it has promised. The eleventh issue of “Revival” may be the strongest offering that the team has presented their audience since the inception of the series.
The believability of the characters gives readers the strong basis in realism which is necessary in order to suspend disbelief, and digest the strangeness of this title. Operating in a hazy moral grey, there are no true heroes or villains in “Revival.” Instead ordinary people struggle with the extraordinary circumstances, continually adjusting their moral compasses as they try to determine how the new reality has effected the boundaries between good and evil. It is a fascinating feature of Seeley’s writing that internal monologue is never used in the series. He somehow manages to foster a sense of intimacy between the readers and the characters that comes through external observation alone.
No character is denied the chance for a redemptive moment, each member of the cast is treated as though, just like real people, there is at least one thing about them that makes them beautiful. Even the Check brothers, some of the nastiest, most unlikable characters to be introduced in the series, are used to effectively remind readers that all of us matter to someone. Seeley’s writing in this issue coveys multifaceted scenarios with shrewdness and skill. Following Ibrahim Ramin, an agent of the Center for Disease Control, to the home of local gun enthusiast and conspiracy theorist, Edmund Holt; he exposes a layered conflict full of misunderstanding, suspicion, and hidden agendas. Introducing Wayne Cypress into the situation raises the stakes, generating even more complex lines of thinking, and reminding the audience of the margin for error that comes along with humanity. Martha Cypress’ character begins to grow more involved with the mysterious forces at work in the rural town. She seems to have a unique understanding of, and connection to, the white creatures who go bump in the night. She crosses lines, and invites the audience to consider the unique hurdles and obstacles that face someone in her unique circumstances. Quilting together a complete picture from scraps of limited perspectives, Seeley’s writing allows the cast of “Revival” to build a world, a story, and a link to the audience.
Norton’s reserved but commanding character work highlights the importance of the role of these fictional people in connecting readers to the story. His mastery of expression and stylistic consistency allow subtle moments to shine. Gems of genuine emotion are polished by his ability to portray a feeling, and capture a fleeting thought. Moments of motherly concern, self-satisfaction, bitter disappointment, growing desperation and deceitful calculation play beautifully on the faces that Norton renders. One scene near the issue’s end gives death a new voice, and creates a heartbreaking understanding of just how frightening it would be to live in this world. In a story where nothing can be taken at face value, yet the reader only has access to the concrete actions and reactions; he serves as a powerful translater between the outward appearance and the internal motivation of the characters. Norton’s art is a window into the depths of these ordinary people trying to reconcile the fact that the town’s dead are coming back to life.Continued below
This issue ends with Martha reciting a poem she has composed, to her sister, Dana. A beautiful reflection of the first issue’s beginning, the verse reminds us that as the world grows more confusing the characters still feel, and think, and want, and hope; just as they did in the moments we first met them. Amid the horror, violence and pandaemonium that the events of this thrilling supernatural mystery have incited in this small community, Seeley and Norton find a heart that continues to beat strong. The team is sure to keep breathing new life into this series again, and again, and again.
Final Verdict: 8.8 – Seeley and Norton deliver a strong issue, and remind readers that these characters are the reason that “Revival” comes to life.