New 52 Review: Resurrection Man #1

The hero who can't die gets another shot at an ongoing series.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

One of the beneficial side effects of the DC reboot is that certain characters that had fallen by the wayside are getting an opportunity to prove themselves viable again. Case in point, Resurrection Man, a series which ran for two years in the late '90s. The man in question was Mitch Shelly, and true to his nickname he could die a horribly violent death and still find himself reborn later… with a different superpower each time.

The original Resurrection Man writers, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning are also writing the relaunched series alongside artist, Fernando Dagnino; whose style in the early pages of this book remind me of Butch Guice from the first Resurrection Man series.

For the first six pages, Abnett and Lanning do a very concise job of reestablishing Mitch and what he can do through some hard boiled narration. Dagnino's art also captures the bleak mood of the title without slipping into unnecessarily dark pages. From his thoughts, we learn that Mitch experiences a great deal of pain both when he dies and during his rebirth. He also finds himself compelled to do certain things each time he comes back to life. In this case, Mitch feels the need to travel to Portland. But once Mitch gets on the plane, the story starts on a detour that doesn't quite work.

There's a Lady Gaga reference made by Mitch that doesn't seem to organically come from his narrative voice on the pages before. Pop culture references can work sometimes, but not with every character. It actually made Mitch's attraction to a woman calling herself "Sue" seem silly. The name of the airline company was also a little too on the nose. "Lazarus Airlines"? Really?

Needless to say, there's a problem with the flight and Mitch springs into action against an unexpected threat. Dagnino's initial action sequences work, but his figures become increasingly sketchy and the story doesn't flow as well panel-to-panel as his earlier pages. But there are some interesting visuals in the clouds outside the plane.

However, Abnett and Lanning also seem to slip up in this sequence with incredibly simplistic dialog that gets a little ridiculous. Like "What are you doing? A magnetic field?" as someone says to Mitch while he's using his powers. I've noticed that in a lot of the new 52 books and I'm wondering if it was part of an editorial mandate from DC. But the writers need to trust their artists. What's the point of having characters describe what we can clearly see with our own eyes?

In the closing pages of the issue, we're reintroduced to the Body Doubles, a pair of female villains from the first Resurrection Man series. There's also another DC supporting character making her return after getting her own ongoing series pre-reboot. The aforementioned threat from the airplane also reemerges, giving Mitch yet another ongoing threat.

There's a lot of potential in this series and the bulk of the issue is entertaining. I'm not necessarily convinced that Resurrection Man can hold its own as an ongoing, but I'm willing to stick with it for now and see where it goes.

Crave Online Rating: 6.8/10