STORY: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
ART: Javier Pina
The entirety of Resurrection Man has been a mystery. From the beginning, Mitch Shelley has struggled to figure out who he is and how he came to have the incredible powers he possesses. In it’s 12 issues, this series has taken us all over the United States, introduced an exceptional supporting cast, and showcased a host of awesome powers at Shelley’s disposal after his disposals. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning created this character 15 years ago, and Shelley’s ‘New 52’ reboot put him into a world that isn’t ready for superheroes, turning him into more of an outcast than his previous incarnation. Unfortunately, sales numbers didn’t lean in it’s favor, and Resurrection Man #12 stands as the final (chronological) issue of the series. It’s also the best one yet.
In many ways, Resurrection Man is a type of narrative that actually can end after a relatively small number of issues. Even though,the premise of Shelley’s situation is one that could be mined for years if done effectively (looking at you, Wolverine), should it? After a while, the series would be in danger of falling into a simple and uninteresting ‘power of the week’ format that focused on what cool new moved Shelley had instead of quality storytelling. Just look at NBC’s Heroes, a show that started off so strong, so promising, only to end up wallowing in a convoluted train wreck involving a superpower-centric carnival. I’d hate to see Mitch Shelley teaming up with Flash or Green Lantern, to be honest. I’d like to quickly clarify that I’d read any and all issues of this series if it had been allowed to continue. I love the character, the premise, and the cast. In Abnett and Lanning’s hands, Mitch Shelley’s adventures would have been awesome going forward. But that’s not the case, and the Shelley’s creators send him out with a bang and a big cliffhanger that we’ll get the inside scoop on in Resurrection Man #0.
At the mercy of Director Hooker, Shelley is sent through stress tests with virtual reality simulations so Hooker’s scientists can research the deaths and resurrections to find a way to replicate the ability in others. While this may seem cliched, it’s actually quite graceful in it’s execution. Hooker takes a moment to give readers an abridged explanation of tektites, a form of nanotechnology that unlocks different abilities in different people. For Hooker, it’s immortality; for the Body Doubles, it’s strength and regeneration. And for Mitch Shelley, it’s coming back to life with a new superpower each time he dies. From Hooker’s own mouth, “Mitch Shelley is the Holy Grail.”
I’m not going to give a lot away about the plot of this issue, as it’s the last and the surprises throughout the issue are awesome enough that they warrant secrecy. Suffice it to say, a lot of bombs are dropped. As I suspected, Abnett and Lanning really do pull out all the stops for this issue, bringing resolutions to a lot of loose ends while simultaneously raising a whole bunch of new questions that will hopefully be adressed in Issue Zero. A lot of what felt like filler throughout Resurrection Man‘s run now seems a bit more important now that we’ve reached an end. And really, the last page cliffhanger makes the entire issue and series worth the read.