Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New 52 Review: Resurrection Man

Resurrection Man, volume 1: Dead Again. Issues 1-7, by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, and Fernando Dagnino.    

Mitch Shelley can't die. That is to say, he can't stay dead. He always wakes up a short time after each death, alive and possessing a different super power than last time he died and resurrected. Each power comes with a particular drive to be in a particular place at a particular time, to aid a particular person. Mitch's memory only stretches back a few years, and in these first two arcs, he struggles to discover the source of his power.

The nature of this story -- life and death, resurrection -- does raise religious issues, and I give Abnett and Lanning credit for spending the first four issues dealing with this. Shelley is tracked down by both Heaven and Hell, or at least really hot lady angel beings representing Heaven and Hell. The Angel Suriel is coordinating the efforts  to deliver his overdue soul to Heaven. There is no resolution to this part of the story, which I hope gets resolved in the next batch of issues -- especially since this book was canceled after 13 issues (including the special #0 issue). The cancellation was not a surprise, as Diamond Distribution reported sales figure for issue #7 of just over 15,000 copies, more than a 60% drop from issue #1.
The angelic creatures disappear after Mitch doesn't actually die at the end of their battle, and somehow gets himself transferred to Arkham Asylum. His claims of an ability to die and return with a new power are greeted, as one would expect, as the ravings of a madman. Arkham immediately puts Shelley (who does not appear in any world database) under suicide watch, and he finds himself for the first time unable to die -- he is protected too well to die. But he manages to take advantage of a prison break to escape, to then be heroic, and to escape. Issue 7 ends at a nice point, bringing to a satisfactory conclusion that story arc.
The best art in these issues is on the covers. The first six issues had covers by the great Aquaman (and now Justice League) team of Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Rod Reis. Fernando Dagnino does a fine job on the interiors, but the strength of these issues for me were the stories, and the art does nothing to distract from that.

Source: public library.

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