REVIEW: Resurrection Man #1

I’ve mentiond it numerous times now, but the highlight of the DC relaunch for me thus far have been the horror/supernatural themed titles assembled under the stable of DC Dark.  Swamp Thing and Animal Man were the two best comics of last week, while Demon Knights and Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. were my top picks for this one.  Such was the unblemished quality of the Dark line that my decision to buy Resurrection Man #1 was cemented.  I hadn’t been planning on getting it until the 11th hour, when I realised I was getting every other Dark book and that I might as well give it a try and complete the set.

I’ve not followed any of the marketing for Resurrection Man, and all I really knew about the character was that he starred in an obscure, short-lived ’90s series, and that he is brought back to life with a new superpower every time he dies.  Thankfully, this first issue – written by the original creators of the character, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning – doesn’t require any previous knowledge, serving as an accessible enough introduction to the dark world of Mitch Shelly.  I was surprised by the inclusion of angels and demons, making the comic more mystical and otherworldly in tone than I was expecting, and a more obvious fit for the DC Dark line.  The central setpiece of this first issue is a plane-set sequence with an unexpected resolution that makes for an effective narrative gut-punch.

But I must admit, while the story was interesting enough, it never really grabbed me.  The narration and dialogue is at times clunky, giving Mitch an inconsistent voice that illuminates his powers, but not much of his personality.  And aside from the introduction of some interesting new villains that seem set to be hunting our protagonist, and the surprise appearance of a character who popped up in another New 52 comic this week, there wasn’t much of a hook to bring me back for the next issue.

The artwork of Fernando Dagnino is solid, giving a gritty vibe to the pages that’s reminiscent of Sean Murphy.  It lacks the jaw-dropping quality of Yanick Paquette or Diogenes Neves, or the unorthodox approach of Travel Foreman or Alberto Ponticelli, but Dagnino still provides some impressive visuals, with one creature reveal in particular.

With how excellent the other DC Dark titles have been, I had high hopes for Resurrection Man #1.  This is probably a bit of an oxymoron, but I read it expecting it to surprise me.  But this issue ended up being the weakest of the Dark comics thus far.  But by regular comic standards, this is a good debut, and there are enough intriguing elements at work here for Resurrection Man to gain a fan following.

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