Like the movie ‘Fargo,’ ‘Revival’ is a rural noir thriller that’s more than a little off beat. Set in Wisconsin instead of Minnesota, the characters still have a similar accent which adds to the uniqueness of the book. And it’s also set during the winter.
The book focuses on small-town police officer Dana Cypress, a single mother. Her father is the town’s sheriff and they are experiencing problems with Revivalists, people who have come back from the dead.
The book’s opening is set to a poem written by Dana’s somewhat estranged younger sister Martha for a college course as we view bleak and desolate images of the countryside. This is interrupted by the arrival of a zorse – a hybrid zebra and horse – spewing blood from its mouth before it finally collapses dead.
Dana gets dressed for work, while listening to talk radio, wherein the religious repercussions of the Revivalists is hotly debated. It is revealed that Dana is a single mother when she goes to collect her son to drop him off at his dad’s. But before that happens, her son, Cooper encounters something not of this world.
Upon arriving at work, she is called into her father’s office and they discuss the Revivalists. He reveals that the government has quarantined their small community of Rothschild until they understand the phenomenon. He places Dana in charge of a small unit assigned to deal strictly with events involving the Revivalists.
Later, Dana spies her sister Martha standing alone on a bridge and picks her up. Dana gets a call to investigate the death of the zorse and Martha accompanies her to the farm where it happened. She encounters the farm and zorse owners, Mr. and Mrs. Stankiewicz arguing with their Asian neighbor, whom they blame for the death. He vehemently denies it. Dana finds some high blood pressure medicine in the zorse’s blood and asks to see Mrs. Stankiewicz’s mother, who is one of the Revivalists. What happens next is a gory affair that not everyone will walk away from.
This is a really unique book. It incorporates drama, religion, the super natural and possibly aliens… not to mention a passing nod to the current zombie craze, and it does it pretty well! The opening is moody and dramatic. The pace is slow, fitting the rural setting as well as the fact that this takes place during the winter. And it’s quirky. I just really liked it! It’s slow and subtle, but interesting. And when the action kicks in, it does so with a bloody vengeance!
The art is really solid. Like the writing, it’s very smooth and understated. It’s not in your face or super stylized, but it’s just very well paced and rendered. It services the story perfectly.
This book may be too slow for some. I don’t think it will prove to be a SMASH hit. It’s not very commercial at all. It’s not going to be Image’s next ‘Walking Dead’ but if you like Vertigo-style books that skillfully weave together various paranormal elements in a thoughtful manner, definitely give this book a try.
Verdict: Buy or at least Borrow, if you’re looking for something new
Written by Tim Seely
Art by Mike Norton
Cover by Craig Thompson