REVIVAL #10 is the latest turn of the screw in a layered, complex story that gets deeper -- and creepier -- with each issue. It's not just walking dead with personalities anymore; there are demons, murderers, and religious zealots to contend with, and the story is truly starting to take shape. A healthy serving of small-town drama with a distinctly Midwestern flavor keeps the quietly terrifying story just on the edge of believable.
The gist, for those who haven't been reading: Tim Seeley and Mike Norton have created a different kind of zombie story; living dead who retain their personalities and intellects are an entirely distinct flavor of scary, especially in a genre saturated with hordes of mindless walkers. Ten issues in, we've come to learn that the real monsters may not be the recently-revived (though they've had their share of villainy in previous issues) but those whose hearts never stopped beating.
We don't learn a lot of new things in Issue #10, but tension definitely ratchets up a notch on several subplots. The Checks have crossed the line from organ-harvesters to kidnappers-maybe-murderers, Ibrahim is in a delicate situation (and by delicate, I mean a literal trap), we catch a glimpse of how the ghosts work, and even though we don't know what it is, we know something is going to happen with May. It's a solid set-up for the next issue, which closes out the second volume of the series -- there are a lot of loose ends and precarious situations.
The point-of-view shifts frequently, but there's a payoff in this -- events have more context, and the town feels more real when we get to spend time with more than just a few characters. It's more of a television conceit than something we're used to in comics, and I can't help but think that REVIVAL would be deliciously creepy on tv.
Jenny Frison delivers another gorgeous, macabre cover. I'm not sure how anyone can keep painting gory scenes that are so beautiful, but she's doing it.
Although I'm enjoying the small reveals that come with each issue, I'm starting to feel a little bit stir-crazy (not unlike the quarantined residents of Wasau!) because of the ultra-deliberate pacing on the main arc. We still don't know much about the nature of the revivers, and I find myself feeling frustrated on behalf of the characters who are trying to sort things out. I'm hoping that Issue #11 will have big action, answers, or both.
REVIVAL has been a consistently clever stand-out in its genre, and each issue so far has been nuanced and character-driven. I'm invested in the bigger story, and although the pacing can be a bit frustrating, the many subplots (the organ black market, Martha's mystery killer, May's investigation, etc) are keeping things interesting. It's worth picking up in trade if you haven't been following along (Volume 2 wraps with the next issue!), and I've found it to be a nice "gateway book" to the horror genre.