160 pages $15
“The old is new again” is a mantra that much of DC’s new 52 could have used. The reboot was never about doing something new as much as putting a new coat of paint on something old. In Resurrection Man by Dan Abbnett and Andy Lanning (DnA), with art by Fernando Dagnino, this is even truer.
In 1997 DC and DnA released a new series with the lead character Mitch Shelley, a man who is exposed through the usual comic book foolishness to a sort of nanotech that causes him to resurrect every time he dies. Each time he comes back, he has a new superpower vaguely informed by the last time he died. The series managed 27 regular issues and a DC 1,000,000 issue (man, was that a stupid crossover idea!). Then it was gone. Now for the New 52, RM is back with a new coat of paint. This time around, the origin is in question, but the basic powers are the same. There is a mysterious compulsion to act when he comes back, and the new power each time seems ideally suited to the needs of each new life. The supporting cast is here in an altered form it seems. The Body Doubles are here as antagonists and wearing nice tight clothes! They are a duo of “well rounded” women that are charged by a higher power to bring in Mitch, by force. I would say “by force if necessary””, but force seems to be the preferred method. Anything to get their cloths ripped up a lot and get into sexy poses. This “feature” is so prevalent that it is very much in your face. This is to the book’s detriment as it is just SO obvious in the first couple of chapters that it is unintentionally funny. It reads like a Jim Lee book in that every time you see one of them, the pose is a bit impossible and shows the curves very well.
I am not trying to pick on the art. Dagnino’s lines actually work nicely through most of the book; it is just that as I was reading this, I could picture the story meetings in my mind: “page one—action! Page two—boobies!!! Page three—he dies. Page four—curvy ass!!!! Page five—he comes back with a power guaranteed to allow us to see more boobies!!!” and so on. I think this is intended as good old-fashioned reckless fun, but comes off as gratuitous. Don’t get me wrong. I loves me some boobies, but the way this is done distracts from the story, which is pretty good.
The nature of this book means you are far less likely to be interested in each issue than the story arc as a whole. The questions raised here are interesting enough to make you want the answers, but the individual issues are a bit disposable. I imagine this is deliberate, and it flows nicely. The only complaint I have with the actual story is one I have had with several of the New 52 collections so far; It reads like two separate story arcs in one volume, and not in a good way. Two thirds of the way in, the Body Doubles are left behind, leaving that story hanging at an odd point and things continue elsewhere. This starts another story, or makes up an interlude, that does not really feel finished before the book ends. DC is trying to make the trades more serialized to get readers to come back, I think. I don’t like the approach. DC seems to have forgotten the number of Barnes & Noble type stores that carry these. Customers of these stores don’t want serialized entertainment as much as a complete story in one book. If there is a continuing arc, that’s fine, but to leave major aspects of a story unresolved in this manner is not satisfying. If I was on the bubble about this book, I would cut my losses and not get the next volume, and anyone that might know at this point that the book has been cancelled with the zero issue (for a total of 13 issues) might be even less inclined to read on. For the record, I am not on the bubble. I liked this enough that I will get the second (and presumably final) volume when it is released. My hope is that they will resolve enough of this to make it a complete story in two volumes with no needless dangling threads.
This book is different enough to set itself apart from the rest of the New 52, and is a fairly fun read. You are interested in Mitch and where he comes from enough to keep reading. At least I was. Anyone that has enjoyed the other “dark” titles from DC should find something here to like as well.