STORY: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
ART: Ramon Bachs and Jesus Saiz
Mitch Shelley is a huge ass. At least, the real Mitch Shelley. Not the Mitch Shelley we’ve been following over the past 13 months. Last month, it was revealed that the main character of Resurrection Man was actually a clone of the true Mitch Shelley, who it turns out is the evil mastermind behind the entire series’ worth of criminal activities. It was an eloquent – if not slightly sadistic – way to technically end the series. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning were given this chance to explain things a bit more with Resurrection Man #0, and thus the issue gives readers a more comprehensive historical account of the real Mitch Shelley, as well as the events that led to the creation of “Resurrection Man” Mitch Shelley. The biggest shortcoming of this “Zero Issue” is that Abnett and Lanning seemed to have planned for Resurrection Man to continue, as foreshadowing and set-ups for future plot lines are littered throughout these pages.
For the same reason I’ve had a love/hate relationship with this series for the past few months, Resurrection Man #0 ups the ante by continuing to be one of the best titles from DC’s ‘New 52’ even though this is the very seriously final issue. I tried to not get too attached to this series, as I knew the adventures of Mitch Shelley would soon be coming to an end. It didn’t work, and just like the frustration of watching Firefly after it had been cancelled, I found myself upset that a series this good was so underrated. Honestly, I was holding out for a last-minute renewal, similar to Community‘s miraculous fourth season (SIX SEASONS AND A MOVIE!).
The plot of Resurrection Man #0 would seem straightforward enough. Fortunately, Abnett and Lanning don’t take the easy way out, instead opting to make this origin story as wacky and sci-fi as possible. The first thing we’re made to understand is that Resurrecting Mitch’s memories were actually Proto-Mitch’s memories. This means that it was the jerk-wad Mitch who was in the Middle East with Deathstroke and Hooker five years prior. This also accounts for all the other horrible flashbacks Living-and-Dying Mitch would have about his “past”. At some point in Iraq, O.G. Mitch is badly wounded then attacked by some fish monster thing and injected with the tektite solution – a self-healing agent – which becomes the catalyst that starts the proverbial ball rolling. To save the rest of his horribly wounded team, Mitch Sr. orders the tektite solution used to treat all of them. This is how Director Hooker receives his powers, as well as the Body Doubles.
In the hoopla of the explosions that cause all the harm, the Original Mitch Shelley loses his arm. Even with the tektites flowing through him, the reattachment is unsuccessful. Shelley orders his dead arm incinerated to keep the tektite solution out of enemy hands. But as Jeff Goldblum said in Jurassic Park, “Life finds a way.” The tektites survive the incineration and escape through the smoke into nature where they instinctually sap all surrounding matter to ‘resurrect’ Mitch Shelley from the blueprint of his DNA grafted onto them. It’s a bit complex, a bit high-concept, and is just plain cool. The tektites simply reconstitute Neu-Mitch whenever he dies in the same fashion, giving him a new power each time in the process.
Resurrection Man #0 also looks toward the (now nonexistent) future of the series. Who is the fishy-man who injects the first Mitch with tektites originally? How does Deathstroke’s involvement with Mitch Shelley connect with his time with Team 7? How will Mitch make amends for the terrible crimes of his source material? Where does Kim Rebecki fit into all of this? And why is the Devil being set up to become a major character? Alas, it’s highly unlikely any of these questions will ever be answered, unless Mitch joins the Justice League Dark or something. (Hint, hint, DC.)