The original “Resurrection Man” series in the late ’90s from Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Butch Guice was a fun comic; it didn’t take itself too seriously, but built up stories and subplots, resolved them, and kept throwing curveballs at the audience. (It also had a fantastic two-parter guest-starring the cast of “Hitman,” which is what initially got me to check the comic out.) So when DC announced that Abnett and Lanning (along with artist Fernando Dagnino) were bringing “Resurrection Man” back, it was great news.
Abnett and Lanning re-introduce readers to Mitch Shelley in just the right manner; we start with his coming back to life for the umpteenth time, watch him get used to his new power, and then all hell breaks loose. Part of the recurring theme of the old “Resurrection Man” was how Shelley was unable to escape the craziness around him, and it’s nice to see this carry through to the new book. At the same time, they’ve added an idea that when Mitch comes back to life, he does so with a compulsion to get a certain “thing” done, which (like his secondary power) varies from one rebirth to the next. It’s a clever way to provide a lot of story seeds, and it’s what they use in this issue to push him onto an ill-fated flight to Portland.
With “Resurrection Man” #1, we don’t just get a new trick in the form of Mitch’s abilities over magnetism, though. We’ve got a new overarching villain, and it’s an intriguing one that wouldn’t fit into any other comic like “Resurrection Man.” It’s nice to see one custom-built for the protagonist, and it begs the larger question on if Mitch is in the right to try and fight this new adversary. At the same time, Abnett and Lanning also bring back one duo of foes from the old book, but in a way that doesn’t leave new readers out. It’s a nice nod to the earlier stories, but keeps the characters feeling fresh.
Dagnino is the new addition to the team for “Resurrection Man,” and he’s doing a good job. I like how he is almost channeling Guice in places, with a scratchy ink line on the characters’ hair, and a more controlled, less rounded overall look to the comic. I’ve seen a lot of Dagnino over the last year or so, but I think this is his best-looking book yet. Little moments like the portraits of the characters on the plane as seen through the windows look great, and the fight in the plane is energetic and easy to follow. It’s great to see Dagnino illustrating a book that clearly clicks so well with his style.
There are a lot of nice little moments throughout the comic that I could just list all day. Even things like Mitch learning how to use his power and how he can “taste” the metal in the area is memorable, and Abnett and Lanning’s character sketches of the other passengers are short but still make them feel real. This is a strong opening issue, with just enough hooks to bring new readers on board. As a rebirth, “Resurrection Man” has sprung quite nicely back to life.