Typically, I despise romantic subplots. It’s usually a crass reminder of what producers of creative content think the lowest denominator is. Yet, I think in regards to #13 of ‘Revival’, it is exactly that element I liked so much, and the reason why I’m going to give the issue such a high score. Though, I should say, that I don’t necessarily think it’s the precise romance element that did it for me.
So let me try and explain where I’m coming from, and why I liked this issue so much. Basically, from the beginning until this point, every interaction between characters has been between two characters at best. The complexity of the storyline had to be that way in order to introduce every single character. Unfortunately, it forced the comic to feel somewhat two dimensional in its character interactions; Dana and Dad don’t get along; Em and her professor had an affair; Dana’s ex is a bit of screw up. We have hints at a more complex world, but no real view of it because we only get it two by two.
This issue was different. Enter, as Ibrahim so eloquently states, the weirdest triple date anyone has ever been on. And whatever you think would make it weird, triple that, because for some reason Leonard, Bonnie, Ibrahim, Dana, my favorite character who doesn’t get near enough frame-time, Brent (Dana’s partner) and his boyfriend, Ian are there. So, if you’re counting, that’s an interracial couple, a gay couple, and a couple with a huge age difference… and since I’m from Wisconsin, I can safely say this: yeah. That’s a weird triple date for Central Wisco.
Anyway, through this lens of karaoke, we’re allowed to see deeper interactions even though social events may make it seem shallow. Seeing characters being false can be almost more enlightening than when they’re being real, and their disseminating sometimes hits far closer to the truth than when we get a simple straight forward reaction.
The other highlight of this issue is seeing just how dark Martha’s (Em’s) character can get, though I think we already sort of knew it. Her fierce devotion to Dana and Cooper belies her seeming dislike of her older sister, which makes her a far more powerful character than we saw in the beginning. Granted, this arc started a few issues back, but I feel like it really hit its stride in this issue even with its short amount of frame-time.
There are, of course, horror elements to the story. The “ghosts” appear again, and Jordan, the reviver girl who Martha babysits with Cooper in the issue, swears she can hear them calling her. It’s important to note that Jordan states that this has something to do with being younger, as Em can’t hear them. It’s also important to note that Cooper heard them in the first few issues. My conclusion, Cooper is a reviver too. In fact, I’m betting on an issue with a very tragic non-death in the near future.
My same issues still stand with this issue as they do for other issues. Reading ‘Revival’ from issue to issue is difficult. There are a lot of characters, some of which aren’t important to the plot yet, but will be, and because of that, it’s hard to keep track. Though I’m excited to read the next issue, I can’t help but long to be reading it in trades where I can keep better track of what’s going on.
Story by Mike Norton
Art by Tim Seely