Revival is set in a rural American town, which seems to be in the middle of nowhere. It’s cold, it’s snowy and we follow a police officer who has to wear ten layers of clothing just to stay warm. So far, so Fargo. It deviates, though, as one day, just prior to the first issue, the dead came back to life. Thankfully this is not in a zombie sense, rather they are able to heal back to the condition they were in before death and just carry on as if nothing happened. Unfortunately, this is not the case for all of the Revivers, as some seem emotionally disturbed, such as the old mother who kills her daughter and wanders the town threatening and scaring the residents. More interesting and disturbing for me was the old father who was in a vegetative state when he died and so returned that way. It brings to mind arguments about the right to live vs. the dignity of life – is someone’s suffering prolonged when they continue to live but in a very limited way? This is the reason I find myself liking Revival, it doesn’t necessarily say these things out loud, but it managed to plant a lot of ideas in my mind.
The opening issues revolve around Dana Cypress, a police officer in this now quarantined town who is assigned to investigate the Revivers. What is revealed at the end of the first issue is that her sister, Em, was murdered on the reviver day and came back to life. They begin a secret investigation into finding out the identity of her killer. What this first volume is doing is planting the seeds for what is to come in future issues, not just in terms of plot elements but in character relations as well. What I like about it is that while it has the supernatural element of it, it feels more like a story about Dana’s family. Her father is a dick, and yet she is constantly chasing after his approval. Her sister is spiraling downward into someone that is not always easy to like, and yet she is trying to support her. I can’t enjoy a story that isn’t bothered about its characters, and Revival managed to make me care about them very quickly.
One criticism I have is that in this first volume, the comic doesn’t seem to be a hundred percent sure who its focal character is. We are introduced to the world and the family from Dana’s point of view and yet for the last thirty-odd pages, she disappears and Em takes over. I found this irritating as I like to have one main protagonist who is the lense through which I see the events unfold. Perhaps this is a comic that switches back and forth between various points of view, but I would have still preferred it to remain constant within this volume.
That being said, this volume’s main goal is laying the groundwork for what is to come, and has done so successfully. I’m very interested in seeing where this story goes, what is the cause of dead people coming back to life and just how much more strained this family dynamic can get.