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Revival #8
posted April 3, 2013

imageCreators: Tim Seeley, Mike Norton
Publishing Information: Image Comics, 24 pages, March 2013, $2.99.
Ordering Numbers:

I thought this was the best comic book from a large pile of Image Comics comic books I consumed recently that emphasized books with which I had little to no familiarity. There are an impressive number of Image titles, actually, and while it's easy to forget about how many books they put out there when you're distracted the sales figures of market leaders like The Walking Dead and Saga, my guess is that most of the books sell pretty close to the point where creators are losing money on them and their penetration into the core comics market might surprise those of us that still think of comics stores as the places that carry everything. My further guess, reinforced by some anecdotal evidence in talking to about a dozen retailers, is that Revival has begun to gain some sales momentum at least shop to shop where it's carried and promoted to customers, and has a potentially bright future if the creators stay engaged.

This issue and others iin the series are billed as "rural noir." While that's a nice turn of phrase I don't get a noir feel from it, not in the sense of a close approximation of the crime films to which the term is generally applied, nor in the broader, dictionary-definition way that implies a generally cynical attitude permeating the proceedings. It seems to me more of an old-fashioned supernatural mystery with a nod in the direction that its characters drink and fuck. The dead came back to life in a Wisconsin town; local law enforcement has to deal with the fallout within the community, the pressures exhibited on that community from the world at large, and occasional flare-ups that can be traced to the initial supernatural act that kickstarted the implied narrative. This latest issue shows some signs of the series needing to settle into a healthier pace after coming out of the gates with a more immediate force; characters are slipped into slightly different contexts, newer ones are slipped into the fabric established by the old.

Overall, Revival seems to me pretty standard cable-TV fare, something with you could pass the time in "marathon" form visiting the relatives on a holiday. This could change if the payoffs in terms of mysteries end up being special or if the comics themselves move into an exalted state in terms of executing the genre elements, but nothing here indicates the comic will see any significant movement that way, at least for a while. The limitations of the serial television form's pernicious, modern influence are in full evidence here as well. The characters feel like TV characters in the way that a lot of comics characters do these days and the way that the best ones usually thwart that kind of late-night dormitory-hallway casting session. In the end, Revival #8 hits most of its marks, but nothing that would indicate a dead genre come back to life.