Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Artwork by Fernando Dagnino
Resurrection Man #6 opens with notes from Arkham Asylum. The notes just so happen to be describing one of the two things I truly fear in life; being locked away in a mental institution with no chance of being let out. I’m not saying I’m crazy, and I know it’s an irrational fear, but it’s an intense phobia nonetheless. Mitch Shelley has been admitted to Arkham and has been deemed ‘insane’ because he tells the doctors he can’t die and that he has super powers. In this rebooted DC world, the idea of individuals possessing ‘powers’ is a relatively new one. Thus, Shelley is kept against his will.
Featuring yet another prison break from Arkham (seriously, that place has the worst track record), Shelley becomes savvy to a prison guard taking payouts to cause riots so various criminals can escape in the chaos. It’s a simple, yet extremely effective, narrative trope that writer Dan Abnett has made fresh by making his main character unable to do anything about it until he dies. Of course, most of this title’s “ah-hah!” moments come from Shelley’s resurrections and powers, but it’s great seeing it from the perspective of a group of characters whose job it is to gauge sanity.
Fletcher, the aforementioned corrupt guard, incites a cell-break for Sumo, one of Batman’s rogues, as a diversion to allow Sumo escape through the service tunnels. Before Fletcher or Sumo can escape, Shelley attacks and brings down the obese super villain. Seeing the man he’s tortured for days finally displaying a semblance of power, Fletcher shoots Shelley through the temple even after Commissioner Gordon’s expressed cease fire order. Deemed a hero, Fletcher takes medical leave. The final pages show Shelley going to take his revenge against the ‘hero’ who gambled Gotham’s safety against a few bucks. It’s a great, single-issue arc that really captures what the ‘New 52’ wanted to do; present easier-to-digest stories that could be accessible to new readers. Resurrection Man tends to hit this mark more times that not, and each month, Mitch Shelley’s journey becomes more and more enigmatic.