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The Resurrection Man is back! But then again, when is he not? Possessing the power to constantly return from death with an all-new power, Mitch Shelley is always “back”. What makes this so exciting is the writing team of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, Resurrection Man’s creators,is back twelve years after the original series ended. In the New 52, that makes this title one of the few to remain virtually unchanged in any way, shape or form by DC’s universal shake up.
In this issue, Mitch has revived, orienting himself to his new magnetic powers while following a strange compulsion to catch a plane to Portland. While in flight, he’s approached by an angel who’s there to collect his immortal soul. Now Mitch, beyond his resurrecting powers, is a pretty normal guy so it goes without saying this ends with him fighting and ultimately killing the angel. We’ve all been there, especially on cross-country flights, when you’ve read everything you’ve brought and going to the bathroom is no longer a break in the monotony and you just think, “I would fight and kill anything if it meant getting off this plane sooner.”
Having Abnett and Lanning back on this book is a real treat, especially for those who read the original series. A great amount of consideration and detail is put into Mitch’s perspective and how his powers effect the way he interacts with his world. That sort of creativity, using his powers to identify sky marshals or to understand the inner workings of an ATM, illustrate to a reader how passionate the creators are about their subject and that sort of passion is contagious.
However, it’s hard not admit a possible bias having always been a fan of the original series. In truth, the angel’s presence in the book and the revelation that both Heaven and Hell are after Mitch’s soul doesn’t have the power that it probably should. Perhaps that’s a result of promise-fatigue. So many of these New 52 books are promising something of consequence down the line and none of them are providing much now. The angel could have insinuated Godzilla and King Kong were getting married next issue and I wouldn’t care, these books have been coming out for three weeks and we need to see something of a value happen now.
For those who have never read the series, it’s an excellent alternative to the standard superhero epic. For one thing, while most heroes normally come out on top, Mitch, by the necessity of his power, very frequently ends up on bottom. Focusing on a man who is defined by what death does to him means it’s not a sure thing he’ll win every fight and that makes him interesting. This issue demonstrates that very well as he not only fails to save himself, he doesn’t save anyone else, either. That mortality and fallibility makes Resurrection Man constantly intriguing and one of the most exciting, if not wholly surprising, releases in the New 52.