Sunday, December 26, 2010

Resurrection Man #25

TITLE: Resurrection Man #25


COVER DATE: June 1999


22 pages


So I basically went through the concept of what this series was about with the previous post, but here's the Reader's Digest version of the Reader's Digest version that i gave you prior, if you're just tuning in.

Hero dies and is resurrected with a new superpower...and then dies and is resurrected with a new superpower...and then dies and is resurrected with a new superpower...etc...

Of course, this was the 90's so the hero was an amnesiac who spent the first part of his series figuring out who, and what, he was.

In theory, it sounds like a one-note series, but in reality it worked pretty well. Credit for that can be given to the solid creative team who, save for a fill in or two on the art, told the whole thing from beginning to end for the entire twenty-eight issues of the run.

As for what I remember about this issue...I have a vague recollection that at the close of this series, there was a bit of a mystery about whether or not the Resurrection Man was in fact the Immortal Man. I know, I know...The Immortal Man! From the Forgotten Heroes! It's hard to believe.

Who is the Immortal Man? I had no idea either when I first read this, so a little of the suspense was lost on me back then. Luckily, twenty years later I'm now the proud owner of the DC Comics Encyclopedia and know that he is one of Vandal Savage's antagonists and that he gained his powers from the very same meteorite that gave Savage his.

I actually recently reread the two-part story by Marv Wolfman and Gil Kane from Action Comics #552-553 that introduced the Forgotten Heroes back in 1983. True to their name, aside from another two-parter the next year in DC Comics Presents, they lay forgotten until this current storyline in Resurrection Man.

So is Mitchell Shelley in fact both the Resurrection Man and the Immortal Man?

Let's find out...

Millennium Then
  • Story: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
  • Art: Jackson Guice and Paul Ryan
  • Letters: Ken Lopez
  • Colors: Carla Feeny
  • Editor: Frank Berrios
To bring everyone up to speed, here's the Forgotten Heroes in all of their glory (in case you have, ya know...forgotten).

For those of you keeping score at home, that's from left to right: Dolphin, Rick Flag, Animal Man, Cave Carson, Dane Dorrence, Congorilla, the Immortal Man, and Rip Hunter.

They've actually come a long way since their debut as a team back in 1983, with more than half of these guys getting a regular gig on an ongoing outside of this team. I guess no character is ever truly forgotten.

Anyways, as the issue begins, we're smack dab in the middle of a flashback as Cave Carson relates how they were on a mission in the past in the Pliocene Era to collect more fragments of the meteor that gave Vandal Savage his powers. And here's the main reason why I find Savage a less than compelling villain. It seems every time he pops up, the story has to revolve around that damn meteor. You think they would have found it all by now, but that's the story that we have, so let's just roll with it.

This particular piece is being guarded by the Forgotten Villains, so while the battle for the fragment is begun in earnest...

...the Immortal Man tries to outflank them and snatch the fragment during their fight. Unfortunately, he fell right into Savage's master plans, as the fragment was being guarded by a sabretooth tiger.

I had no idea that Savage was so scared of tigers, but he lets Immortal Man do the dirty work and then he takes the fragment for himself and escapes back into the present.

And it's in the present, where we catch up with Cave Carson who has just finished describing the flashback to Resurrection Man. He barely has time to process what's been happening over the last couple of issues when their base comes under attack by some cybernetic robots, courtesy of Vandal Savage.

The Resurrection Man uses his current super-power of steel skin to provide cover while the current members of the Forgotten Heroes make a hasty retreat as their base crumbles around them.

Boring through the earth in one of Cave Carson's diggers, the Forgotten Heroes have a moment of calm to discuss their next move against Vandal Savage. It would seem that there's another meteor similar to one that granted him his powers heading towards our planet again, and the Forgotten Heroes aim to get to it before Savage does.

Yea, another meteor in a Vandal Savage story! I'll let it slide, as at least they play to one of my weaknesses as this particular meteor is not travelling through space as before, but time! That right there, is why the Forgotten Heroes have tracked down the Resurrection Man. If he is, in fact, their old team-mate resurrected, then he should be able to sense the meteors presence like the Immortal Man used to. That should give them the edge they need to beat Vandal Savage at his own game.

Savage is no idiot, however, and he knows the Forgotten Heroes escaped his previous assault and are undoubtedly on their way here as well.

And just like clockwork, they arrive at the makeshift base that Vandal has created to await the meteor's arrival.

And just like clockwork, the meteor shows up shortly thereafter.


Unfortunately, we never did learn definitively whether or not the Resurrection Man was in fact, the Immortal Man resurrected. Even so, that sentence was fun to type out so I'll call that a win. I want to say that I don't think he ended up being one and the same, but I'm not 100% sure. At least there was only three more issues after this one, so if you're desperate for an answer it should only cost you a couple of bucks in the dollar bins.

That's actually a bit of a shame, as this series was pretty good and deserves a little bit more to its legacy than that. But alas, it never did quite catch on and the Resurrection Man has been more or less forgotten until very recently, appearing in a grand total of four issues over the last decade. One of those was not too long ago in the pages of Brightest Day #13, so if Geoff Johns has his eye on 'em maybe a comeback is right around the corner. Or his comeback mojo seems squarely fixated on Aquaman at the moment (and speaking of Aquaman, stay tuned over the next two weeks or so for some bonus Aquaman content!!).

Overall, this was a fairly solid, if unremarkable issue. I would have preferred it if the Randomizer would have picked an issue with a little more meat on the bones, but it was fun nonetheless. It's been over a year since we've had a Butch Guice issue to page through and I always enjoy his work. Although I fear that nothing will be able to compare with the work he did on Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme in the late eighties

Abnett and Lanning are at their best when they are left to their own devices, not having to worry about tying into the flavor of the month crossover event, and that's what this series was about. Yeah, it had a brief detour into the 853rd century as a part of DC One Million, but it never hurt the overall storyline that they set out to tell. At its heart, it was a story about a man learning to become a hero.

And so now we say goodbye to the Resurrection Man once again, for what I'm sure will be another decade or two, but I wouldn't complain if he started popping up every so often once again.

All characters and artwork reproduced are (c) DC Comics

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