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52apolooza: Resurrection Man

Written by Fieldy Snuts, Lord Simian and Tricia Long on Monday, October 17 2011 and posted in Reviews

You can't keep a good dead man down.  Let's see what the team thinks about Resurrection Man.

Welcome to 52apolooza, the Outhouse feature focusing on DC's September Relaunch.  All of DC's 52 titles will be reviewed by our pool of reviewers to point out the best and worst that DC's new comic book line has to offer.  To see how this book ranks among the other new DC titles, be sure to check out our 52apolooza Rankings!

Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning bring the Resurrection Man back for a new solo series.  Will the new book soar to new heights, or die once again?  And if it dies, will it just get new powers?

Marvel Reviewer: Fieldy Snuts

This is the title I honestly couldn't wait to read once the full list of the New 52 was released. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have been a creative team that's stood out immensely for me ever since they took control of Marvel Cosmic, and that feeling also translated into their street-level title Heroes For Hire. And now they're writing Resurrection Man, a title centered around a character they created in the 90's: Mitch Shelley.

The Resurrection Man's ability is pretty self explanatory. Once he's killed, he is resurrected... with a twist: each resurrection gives him a different metahuman power. A new development with the reboot is that with each resurrection Mitch Shelley is also drawn towards certain places thanks to a deep instinctual feeling. In this issue for example, he's drawn towards an airport in Portland where he feels compelled to catch a flight.

As a new title, I find this does a great job of laying down the groundwork for a new series that effectively establishes the character's personality, powers, status quo and some of his supporting cast, featuring familiar faces like Madame Xanadu and the Body Doubles from the old series. It's a fresh story featuring a preexisting character that avoids the pitfall of becoming bogged down with the character's prior history.

As for what this book is about, DnA tackle the spiritual ramifications caused by Mitch's countless deaths over the years. As a side effect, his soul has somehow become extremely powerful and further refined with each death to the point where is is the ultimate prize for both Heaven and Hell. And maybe there are science teams hunting him down too given that the Body Doubles are back.

In summary, this is definitely not the sort of book you'd expect from mainstream DC and that is a huge plus for me. It's a fresh concept that thankfully hasn't been toyed with much since DnA's original run, and with Mitch Shelley's power set I have total faith in them to work wonders with what they have on their hands. The writing is deep enough to give us an insight into Mitch Shelley's character and the book has a decidedly darker tone that you'd usually find in a book like Hellblazer. Just, you know, not as graphic or profane obviously.

While the original title had art by Butch Guice, Fernando Dagnino is on the art duties here. I suspect people here will be familiar with his work on Justice League: Generation Lost. It's a great job, which surprised me. The style is fitting for this book and quite different from what he did on JL:GL. His art is clear and conveys the story while giving it the mood, shadows and hues a title this dark deserves. The somewhat muted coloring at times also helped portay this, along with the inks.

So, as a part of DC's New 52 initiative I believe this title did a damn good job in catering to new and old readers alike. It's a fun read that keeps a certain level of seriousness for deep storytelling while being very new-reader friendly. A solid book, nothing groundbreaking or revolutionary to the genre... but it's a damn good comic by a damn good team. For me this will be a book well worth buying monthly.

Writing: 20/25
Art: 19/25
Accessibility: 22/25
Enjoyability: 20/25

TOTAL: 81/100
Grab Bag Reviewer: Lord Simian

Mitch Shelley was dead, to begin with. Then he got better. Which, frankly, was the premise for the entire run of Resurrection Man the first time around, and now it's back by original creators Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, this time with art by Fernando Dagnino. This time, apparently people (by which I mean what appear to be Angels and Demons), are chasing Shelley for his soul. Presumably, his many many many resurrections have served to make his soul a valuable tool for them. Ok, it's a neat premise. I liked the introduction and setup. I'll be definitely reading this book every month.

The only downside is the art: it's very muddy and dark. Hopefully this gets better as we go along.

Story: 21/25
Art: 13/25
Accessability: 20/25
Enjoyability: 19/25

Total Score: 73/100
New Reader Reviewer: Tricia Long
If DC ever had a chance to hook new readers with a totally new story, Resurrection Man was it. Unlike many comic book properties in recent years, to the best of my knowledge there has never been a TV show or film script centering around Mitch, the man who does not die. Well, I should rephrase: the man who does not stay dead. I picked up Resurrection Man and looked at the very cool cover (See the little skull in his eye? Definitely about death... or pirates. Either way, awesome.) and was intrigued. Thankfully, this is one new book that doesn't disappoint.

I think the thing that really hooked me in Resurrection Man was that Mitch always comes back with an unusual ability. In the opening he has a strange affinity for metal, to the point that he can magnetize it. Later, he collapses into water and flows away from the people who are chasing him. I could see this being a convenient ability for writers: "How should he escape this time?" "Ok, so after he's done defeating the fire by being a giant storm cloud, he'll be able to pick up the cupcakes in time thanks to super fast running." Like I said, convenient and a definite opening for stupid plotlines to get through – but if the good writing from this issue continues (fingers crossed!) then maybe it won't get too bad.

There are only two things I can criticize: the art and the ending. After the really cool cover, the art was hit or miss. Landscapes were drawn well, conveying a spooky, gloomy vibe with the appropriate colors and shades. But the people were sometimes sloppily drawn. Not a huge deal to me, but compared to some of the other books it was a bit under par. The writers did a nice job of building tension until the end, where the story collapsed into a whirlwind of unnamed would-be antagonists. There were the two scantily-clad ladies beating up the morgue workers, a woman with Tarot cards, what I assume was an angel specializing in being a fireman, and that demon that showed up on the plane. (Side note: I thought they were going to play it safe with a good-old-fashioned murder attempt, but kudos for going whole hog with a demon.) Clearly all of these antagonists are after Mitch's shiny soul, but to what end? That's a great question to have that will keep me coming back for #2, but in the mean time I feel like they could have kept it to the hoes in the morgue, or the demon, and ended with the same question. I just felt a little overstimulated, which is too bad because the story had a nice flow up until that point.

All in all, I definitely recommend Resurrection Man. It was an enjoyable read that shows promise if the writers keep on their path.

Writing: 22/25
Art: 16/25
Accessibility: 20/25
Enjoyability: 22/25

Total 52apolooza Score (with One Review In): 81

Written or Contributed by: Fieldy Snuts, Lord Simian and Tricia Long

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About the Author - SuperginraiX

SuperginraiX is the biggest sap on The Outhousers' payroll (wait, we get paid?). He reads every issue of every crappy Marvel crossover so you don't have to. Whats worse is that he pays for his books, thus condoning Marvel's behavior. If The Outhouse cared for his well being at all, they'd try and get him into some sort of rehab center. But, alas, none of us even know how to say his name. For a good time, ask Super why Captian America jumped off the Helicarrier in Fear Itself. Super lives in the frozen wastland that is Minnesota with 15% of the state's population living under his roof: a wife he makes wear an Optimus Prime mask, two gremlins, and his mother-in-law.


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