Or – “Nobody Promised Mitchell Shelley Forever…”
The return of Resurrection Man as part of the New 52 last fall was one of the pleasant surprises of the relaunch for me. As a fan of the character’s original 1990’s incarnation, it always seemed a shame that only the Body Doubles survived the book’s cancellation, and that only through the power of sexy-sexy times. Now, Mitch Shelley again finds himself at the end of the road, but how does one kill what cannot die? Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
Previously, in Resurrection Man: After an experiment with nanotechnology (known as Tektites) went horribly awry, Mitch Shelley found himself unable to be killed, re-animated repeatedly with a different super-power each time. Pursued by his former colleagues in The Lab, Mitch Shelley took the David Banner route and walked the Earth having adventures. Last issue, he was finally brought in by Hooker, a former colleague who likewise has Tektites in his bloodstream, and returned to the proverbial scene of the crime…
SEEMS ODDLY FAMILIAR…
Things start out confusingly for Mitch and for the reader, as Mitch is suddenly on the loose, flying through the skies of Gotham City, only to get shot down by the GCPD. It doesn’t take long for me to realize what’s really going on, as first Batman, then the entire League of Justice arrives, with Mitch dying over and over again throughout the adventure. Back in the Silver Age of comics, DC had a similar character, The Immortal Man, who died several times per issue to get a new life and powers. The problem with that character came in the fact that getting killed 3 times per month made him seem particularly incompetent as a hero. This issue’s open worries me a bit, reminding me of those tales, but as the other shoe drops, it becomes clear that Mitchell Shelley never escaped The Lab in the first place. When the Trans-Human brought him in, Hooker placed him in a simulator which keeps killing him to analyze his powers, and now, even though T-H is having second thoughts, The Lab intends to test the powers of the Resurrection Man to destruction.
THE SHOCKING REVEAL!
Visually, the issue is lovely, starting with Francavilla’s moody cover, and continuing with the interior book. One of my complaints about the original series was in Jackson Guice’s art, a very angular look that (in my mind, anyway) did the character a disservice. This issue also puts Carmen and Bonny, The Body Doubles, in armored battle-gear rather than their usual mix of schoolgirl and fetish-wear, a decision that I enjoy, even as part of me regrets it. The climax of the book surprised me greatly, and there are a couple of supporting character deaths that COMPLETELY took me off-guard, making the issue enjoyable on multiple levels. Though this is the last normal issue of Resurrection Man, things are actually going to continue in next month’s Zero issue, a revelation that generated just a little bit of irritation on my part to mar a strong overall reading experience.
THE BOTTOM LINE: I WISH THIS WASN’T THE END.
The sad truth of the New 52 is that not every title is going to be a long-term prospect. As much as it pains me to say it, I pegged this book to be a questionable long-term concern from the get-go, and wasn’t surprised by it’s ending this soon. That said, it’s kind of a shame that a character like this, with a writing team like this, couldn’t quite pull together enough of an audience to break the previous volume’s record of 28 issues. Resurrection Man #12 is a last issue that isn’t a last issue, but moreover, it’s a last issue that SHOULDN’T be a last issue if there was any justice in the world, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall.