Tuesday, February 28, 2012

52 Catch-Up: Resurrection Man #1 - 6

The original Resurrection Man series was a lost treasure of DC Comics. When I heard that a new Resurrection Man series would be part of the New 52 I was both excited and fearful - Excited because I was glad to see such a wonderful concept being revived and given a second chance and fearful because I was certain the series would be one of the first to be canceled. But somehow, Mitch Shelley has beaten the odds and remains to fight another day. For now.

The first issue seemed to have changed very little of the base concept of the original series. Mitch Shelley is a man with a unique gift, even in a world where magical is real and men fly. Not only is Mitch immortal, being continually resurrected no matter how serious his injuries but every time he comes back to life he is reborn with a unique superpower. He is continually pursued by two assassins known as The Body Doubles - a pair of women as dangerous as they are beautiful.

The first issue only revealed one major change from the original series but it was a big one - in addition to The Body Doubles, the forces of Heaven and Hell are hunting after Mitch as well. Why? Good question. But they want Mitch bad enough to risk attacking him overtly on an airplane and to send formless demons and angels who look like Lady Gaga after him.

The reason why I feared this book was an early cancellation risk is because good as it is, this is a very quirky book. There's a lot of high-concept ideas apart from the main theme of the book.

One of the cooler concepts is the introduction of The Transhuman - a retired super-villain who lived in the same rest home as Mitch's dad, who quickly comes to Mitch's defense when The Body Doubles show up looking for him. The true story behind his origin however, is worth of its' own series.

As the series has continued, we've gotten more and more hints as to just how things are different in the New DC Universe, making things new again for old fans. For instance, The Body Doubles have healing factors now - a change that has made them more formidable adversaries and taken them further away from the Danger Girl parodies they eventually devolved into once the original Resurrection Man series ended. Issue #5 also offers us a flashback sequence, which suggest a much deeper connection between all the characters this time around.

Issue #6 is a solid stand-alone issue and a good jumping on point if you can't get the first five issues. In it, Mitch finds himself confined within Arkham Asylum. Naturally they don't believe his story about having superpowers, keep him so doped up he can't use his current power set to escape and are quick to stop any of his attempts to kill himself or goad another inmate or guard into doing the job for him. It's a glorious bit of dark comedy but also a suspenseful thriller.

Every issue so far has been gloriously illustrated by Fernando Dagnino. I can't say enough good things about Dagnino's style, so I shan't bother. Just look at the page scans above and revel in their splendor. And once you're done with that, head to your local comic bookstore and pick up the back issues of this series. You'll be glad you did!

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