Since I started reading comics some four years ago, Fred Van Lente has fast become a creator I pay attention to. His stories are always fun, but often they’re also able to stir some real emotions in the reader - meaning they’re not to be brushed off lightly in the way that some light-hearted tales are. With this in mind, Resurrectionists #1 fast became one of my most anticipated comics of November, and having now read the issue I can say that this high-concept story is definitely worth your money. Resurrectionists #1 is a story about a select group of individuals who can not only relive their past lives, but become them. By that I mean the skills that they learnt in a previous life – whether that be reading ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics or fighting like a Viking warrior – are skills that can be freely used in their current lives. It’s a great idea for a story, and one that’s pulled off too much success in this first issue. Van Lente establishes his main character, Jericho Way (who in a sense is actually two characters given that he also sets up Way’s previous life as an ancient Egyptian architect), and leaves plenty of clues throughout about where his story is headed.
Van Lente is also able to explain the relatively complex idea driving his story with no horrible expository dialogue – something I very much appreciate as I believe few things kill a comic quicker than some dragging exposition. Instead he chooses not to tell us everything in one lump of text, but gradually makes things clear to us both through the illustrations of Maurizio Rosenzweig and the surreal experiences of his characters. He doesn’t explain everything of course, and in my first read-through there were some moments of confusion, but what I will say about this issue is that it really benefits from a second read! I wasn’t totally sold on this book at first, but the second time I went through it I realized just how clever this story is and things became a lot clearer and a lot more exciting.
I also feel that Van Lente did a great job squeezing his first chapter into just 22 pages. This issue has great pacing moving along seamlessly as Van Lente introduces his key players, while giving us some great action scenes and leaving room for a museum robbery along the way. While it’s true that I feel his main characters could use a little more development, there’ll be time for that in future issues. And given the limited space he had I think it would be a little harsh to criticize Van Lente too heavily for this, especially as it’s clear he did the most with these characters that he could in the time he had.
One thing I did feel a little disappointed with was the art by Maurizio Rosenzweig. He seems to be relatively new to the world of comic books, and as a result I feel he hasn’t really found his groove yet. That’s not to say the art here is bad! The action scenes in particular have a great fluidity about them, and there are some nice page layouts and facial expressions on display here. However, I also found it to be quite inconsistent with some panels looking far better than others, and so overall I feel it could use a little improvement.
But it doesn’t stop Resurrectionists #1 from being a great opening chapter for this new ongoing, and a series that I’m now more excited for than ever before. The story is clever and exciting (even if it does take two reads to really wrap your head around), and it has a great hook at the end that has left me really looking forward to the next instalment. If the art and characters develop well over the next few issues, this could be a very memorable series indeed. Resurrectionists is a book well worth checking out!
Writer: Fred Van Lente Artist: Maurizio Rosenzweig Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 11/12/14 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital