Resurrection Man is certainly one of DC’s lesser known properties, as he had his own series between 1997-1999, and was created by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Jackson Duice. While making a few appearances since then, Resurrection Man has remained a mostly unknown hero but now stands in the spotlight with his own new series as part of DC’s New 52, with creators Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning returning to writing duties and Fernando Dagnino doing artwork with Santi Arcas handling colors. Resurrection Man #1 surprised me with its great quality and interesting premise, and I was not very familiar with the character at all until this issue.
The book’s premise is that Mitchell “Mitch” Shelley has a problem: he comes back to life every time he dies. Each time he is reborn, he is born with a new and different super power, which also seems to guide his actions after dying. Why is this a problem? Shelley has died and been reborn so many times that his soul has become very attractive to individuals on both sides of the afterlife, and he must stay on the run. I really like how Resurrection Man’s powers are described. In fact, in the opening scene, Resurrection Man is coming back to life and the details he uses to describe coming back to life make for an inviting hook to read the rest of the book. The rest of the book continues to show these powers and the struggles Resurrection Man must go through.
It’s a really different super hero book, certainly one for more mature audiences. Like both Swamp Thing and Animal Man it reminds me of classic Vertigo while still being set in the DCnU and having a super hero feel to it. The book has such a cool vibe to it, that it makes me wonder why this character’s first series only lasted a couple years. Perhaps it was a bit ahead of its time in the late 90s? Whatever the reason, I hope people don’t hesitate to give the book a try now: it’s great.
Spanish artist Fernando Dagnino, who previously worked on Superman prior to the New 52 launch, has a presence that definitely brings a lot of fantastic energy to the book, with great illustrations of Resurrection Man’s powers, people, buildings, planes and a pair of hottie bounty hunters—whatever he draws comes to life well on the comic page. Resurrection Man doesn’t have much of a costume, as it seems he is always reborn naked, but the look of the character is someone who has been carrying on for a long time and is tired for it. The overall tone of the art is somewhat dark, but it suits the nature of the comic quite well.
The end left me wondering if Resurrection Man’s problems were only starting, and I was disappointed it came to an end so soon. It plays out great as a first issue though, introducing the premise, the character and the problems he has very well to first time readers. Lanning and Abnett do such a great job here that I’m hopeful DC capitalizes on the new series and releases some trade paperbacks of the original series so I can see their earlier work with Resurrection Man. I definitely wasn’t expecting to like Resurrection Man #1 as much as I did. I totally want to see where this book is going, so I plan to stick around. A grown up super hero comic, Resurrection Man #1 is a fantastic new series that is certainly going to be one to watch.