Tag Archives: Andy Lanning

Why wont you stay dead?! Resurrection Man review

Resurrection Man vol 1 Dead Again

DC Comics          


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.



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More JMS and some DnA

Just as I was about to write off J. Michael Straczynski completely, I decided to try another of his books.  I picked up the first collection of Supreme Power and I have to say I enjoyed it a great deal. 

First off, this is not the most original book I have ever read, but when this came out in 2003-ish it was something that had not been seen as much as it has in the last few years.  8 years on, it feels a little “done before”, but that does not make this any less enjoyable.  JMS and artists Gary Frank and Jon Sibal offer a sort of “what if” story.  It is a redux of the Squadron Supreme from the 70’s era Marvel, but to be honest, you really get the DC vibe more here. The characters are all pretty direct analogs of  the main DC heroes and there is no attempt to cover that.  Since the original book was a direct “marvel version” of the DC Justice League, that really should not be a surprise.  In fact I can not think of a less subtle way of doing it.  This book’s versions of Superman and Batman have origins very similar to the DC ones and somewhat altered premises based on Green Lantern, Flash and Wonder Woman, in a very brief cameo, are all here.  The obvious corollaries end there, though.  These folks live in a very real world, surrounded by the real events that we grew up with.  That changes the dynamic greatly.  Suddenly, Batman is a racist, his African-American family having been killed by southern white supremacists.  The people this character, called Nighthawk,  helps are exclusively black.  The Green Lantern variant here appears to be schizophrenic and the Flash, here called The Blur, is a fairly ordinary guy that wants to be a hero and has no problem cashing a check for doing that.  The closest relation to the source material here is Hyperion, who stands in for Superman.  Having said all that, if you feel this is a bit tired, you would not be entirely wrong.  We HAVE seen this before and since.  There are small touches here of what would become Superman:  Earth One.  The thing that set this apart for me was the complete feel of the book.  Even well-worn ideas can seem fresh and exciting when done well by people putting their best work on display.  Gary Frank’s work here is superb, the static feel his art sometimes gets a bad, and unjustified knock for, creates a stillness that works perfectly for the story.  JMS hits all the right points to make this seem very real and believable.  There have been other revisionist takes in comics.  Watchmen, Planetary and even much of the New 52 try to do this, all with varying degrees of success.  Where this book succeeds is that it is not at all self-aware.  It feels like it is just as organic as any other origin story and does not reference anything outside of itself.  I never feel as though this is ripping off, or standing on the shoulders of some other work.

Next up this week was Nova by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.  I have come to really enjoy the writing of these two, known in the industry by the collective title DnA.  This book is no exception.  I have read the first two trades covering issues 1-12 and an annual.  I was almost put off the duo by The Annihilators.  The story was fine, the art was just this side of awful.  Tan Eng Huat has generally been a good artist, but this book felt very rushed.  While that one was a struggle to get through, Nova was the opposite.  Having read some of the other DnA works like Guardians of the Galaxy, The Thanos Imperative and Ressurrection Man ( the last, a great title from DC from the 90’s, ressurrected for the New 52), I was ready to jump into more of this universe.  Clean art and strong storytelling, mixed with characters that these guys really appear to understand, made this  a very good read.  Many fans today are a bit down on the cosmic books, and for a while, I was one of them.  These guys have made this a staple of the work they have done at Marvel, and made themselves the go-to writers in the genre, the same way Jim Starlin was through the 80’s and 90’s. 

Both of these books have made me want more.  Fortunately, there are 6 total volumes of Nova and 2 more Supreme Power with this creative team.  While it appears unlikely that JMS will return to write more of his book for Marvel, DnA are only just warming up.  It is clear they will keep building the Marvel cosmic universe for a long time to come, and I cannot wait for more.

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Well, it is certainly hard to ignore…

52 #1’s in September.  The reactions have begun to get at least a little more varied.  Ranging from “Oh boy! 52 jumping off points!” to ” But I actually LIKED where Batman inc was going”.  There have been piles of announcements ahead of the full official list and there are a few interesting things.

George Perez writing and drawing Superman (confirmed).  Just freaking cool.  I’m there.

Grant Morrison doing another Superman book (still unconfirmed).  I loved his All-Star book.  I’m there.

Batman inc is on a break until sometime next year.  I went on a break from a girlfriend once.  That didn’t work out all that well.

David Finch on Dark Knight.  What?  He pumps out 2 cruddy issues in 6 months and they are “rebooting”?  I can see the solicitation for  September 2012 already…”superstar Finch to release 4th fabulous issue!”  Ooh!  Can hardly wait to miss this one.  But since it will not be on time much, we will all “miss” it.  On the whole the Batbooks seem to be getting kind of the short end of the stick.  There is a little shuffling of names from one book to another, but nothing really cool.  Greg Capullo on a Batman book is pretty cool.  He is always a fun artist and getting away from Todd MacFarlane will do nothing bad for his career.  Looks like Jason will still be around, and they will continue to clean him up and make him an anti-hero.  Damian is still Robin, and Dick Grayson will go back to being Nightwing.  The part that bugs me is that Barbara Gordon will be Batgirl again.  Not from a continuity point does it bug me (The Killing Joke was never intended to be in canon), but rather the fact that I liked the Oracle angle.

A couple of things HAVE gotten my interest though.  Justice League Dark looks to be written by Peter Milligan and has a fabulous cast.  Any chance to see Madame Xanadu back in a book, since her great series by Matt Wagner and mostly Amy Reeder on art, is a real treat.

Also looking good is Animal Man.  A possible cover is below, along with the third book that looks super cool, Resurrection Man, a character from the late 90’s being brought back by its creator’s Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.

At least from the odd corners of the DCU, things are looking interesting.  But to be honest, the whole “women need to cover their legs” thing is really stupid, and Power Girl in pants is gonna suck.  It is as if DC thinks that no one will notice the huge boobage on all the femal characters if thier legs are covered.  Take PG out of the mix and the cup sizes are still pretty spectacular.  We shall see, but I’m guessing this last only as long as the readers keep coming.  Sale dip, and off come the pants!

Justice League Dark cover by Ryan Sook

The return -again- of resurrection Man

Animal Man


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