Dropped in Midstream Review: Resurrection Man #4 by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Fernando Dagnino

Author’s Note: Normally I try to write this introduction before I actually read the comic book. The idea is to capture my thoughts and feelings of why I chose to read and review a specific title. Sometimes, I write it later, but capturing the thoughts that I had prior to cracking the first page. This is 100% not the case, as this introduction has to do with a topic sparked by Resurrection Man #4. And I have to address it first, and then I can get to any sort of review, such as it is.

I’ve never understood the appeal of Hooters restaurant. I have friends who love going there, but it just doesn’t appeal to me. That’s not to say I don’t like attractive young women, especially ones showing off as much skin as possible. And it’s not that I’m a prude.1 It’s that I’m a pretty compartmentalized sort of guy. If I want to go eat something, I’ll go to a restaurant that has nice food. If I want to look at scantily clad busty women, I’ll go to a place that caters to that.

As such, I’ve never understood the OVERuse of objectifying women or fan service in genre fiction, especially comic books: 2

  • First, if I wanted that, I’d go surf the internet, buy an FHM magazine, or watch the Victoria’s Secret lingerie show.
  • Second, any good story is automatically dismissed by its inclusion.
  • Third, comic books already depict young, attractive, athletic women in non-bulky clothing. Males are attracted to them regardless. You don’t need to make them more sexual.

The reason for me mentioning all of this is that Resurrection Man does A LOT of this. Now, as a guy, if there’s one highly sexualized woman wearing skimpy or fetish outfits in stripper poses, I probably won’t notice, especially if it fits the character. If there are two, I will probably roll my eyes, and just go, “Ehhhh, they’re going after an audience. I don’t like it, but I understand.”

In Resurrection Man #4, there are only six named characters in the book, and only three of these characters are women. All three of them are drawn in ridiculous stripper outfits and poses, and fight in angles where the clothes miraculously cover the ‘naughty bits’:

    3

Now, maybe some of you read this book and thought that all of this is meant as a spoof. How can it be a spoof if it commits the same crimes as what it’s spoofing?

Maybe you think the artist is having fun, and I should just let them have some fun. I’m sorry, but just reading a comic where ALL of the women in the comic are nothing but sexual objects is insulting.

Or maybe you think I’m some p-whipped girly man who is taking up female issues for PC or street-cred reasons. If you want to think that, you can. Then here is a simple solution: create real female characters who in the story show their sexuality when, oh I don’t know, having sex or trying to seduce the main character. I’d rather the characters, showing off their “assets” to seduce Shelley, and then putting on gear to kick his ass.

To me this fan service is insulting to me, even as a guy. And for a title that was going to be a tough sell from the get-go, this is really unnecessary.4 There, I’ve said it… You can ignore the rest of the review if you want.5

Resurrection Man #4: Double Take

Published By: DC Comics
Writers: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Art: Fernando Dagnino
Release Date: 12/15/2011
Cover Price: $2.99
Review: Digital Copy (from Comixology)

Resurrection Man is Mitchell Shelley a man who gains different superhero powers after he is killed and brought back to life.6 He had a short run in the late 90s, and has been brought back in the DcnU.

Synopsis

  • The Body Doubles, Bonnie and Carmen, two attractive female mercenaries have been hired to bring Mitch Shelley back dead or alive.
  • After drugging Mitch, they are attacked by The Transhuman, a man who is wearing a shielded armor battle suit. He attacks both of them, as they threatened him and Mitch last issue.
  • Mitch confronts Bonnie, who convinces him that they were attacking because that’s how he wants it. He goes with them willingly to get some answers.
  • A woman named Suriel, who is apparently a Special Angel. Mitch blasts her with his sonic cry when she tries to take him. She transforms into full angel gear and turns him into dust.

Analysis

Okay, I wrote about how the women are outfitted and drawn in this comic book. It will weigh on my ‘verdict’, but I’m not going to mention it again in these pages.

This is really really REALLY not a good comic book, at all. The only thing that is impressive about this book is that it did not quite reach “insulting” levels. It borders on it, but it doesn’t quite reach it.

I can’t believe that in 2011 that we have a comic book where all 22 pages only show the main story. No side characters with a minor story arc. No looming villains setting up their own agendas that come to fruition in future issues. No characters from earlier issues that are resolving plot points. Nope. 22 pages of clichéd action.

Six characters. That’s all. Six characters for a single comic book. I don’t remember reading a superhero comic book that only had six characters in it.7

He has a sonic cry that blasts the clothes off of people? Let’s reiterate that more clearly: Mitch’s newest power is that he can emit sound waves from his mouth, and these sound waves cause cloth8 to shred off of one’s body. But the body, skin, flesh, of the person underneath remains intact. My suspension of belief just fell off the tight rope.

I love how at the end of the comic book, Mitch tells himself, “Gotta be careful here, she’s playing for keeps.” And in the next panel he gives her the loudest sonic cry he can, after the first two didn’t do anything. So, if I punch someone twice, and they aren’t really hurt, the CAREFUL thing to do it to hit them a third time as hard as I can?

The idea of Suriel coming down and revealing how much she knows about all of the characters was actually well done. It was a nice plot device to have an omniscient character reveal the basic origins of the characters in a page and a half. This is actually really very effective.

The idea of sociopathic, over-evolved, martial arts, female mercenaries who choose to dress like strippers has been done to death. I know it seems like a joke, but actually it really really REALLY really isn’t one.

I liked the character of Darryl. He was interesting and amusing. I would keep him in the comic book as a sidekick/support team.

And given what I railed against at the beginning of this review, the fact that the commander is named Director Hooker really tickled me.

Verdict

Wow, did this suuuck. I thought I’d give some of the other DCnU titles a try and that may have been a mistake. There is nothing here that is worthy of my attention or anyone’s really. I don’t know who greenlit bringing this series back and especially this individual issue, but they have issues of their own. I see this title being mercifully killed at the DCnU 1 year anniversary, if not sooner.

Overall Grade: 3.5

Footnotes:

1 – I’m not a prude, but there is a time and place for everything. In a superhero action comic, I don’t need it.

2 – I can handle it with comic books that state that out right, like Lady Death or Vampirella, or even some indy titles looking for attention. But this is a DC Comic, and will get more buys on its own.

3 – This is a sampling, but the rest is much the same. The best image is of the character Suriel, giving a pouty look with her finger on her lips after killing Resurrection Man.

4 – Not really a household name.

5 – As if you’ve even read this far.

4 – So it’s basically Dial H for HERO, but killing him is the dial.

7 – This may happen all the time, and I don’t notice it because they are more quality books.

8 – It may only work on women’s clothing. That’s what the art suggests.

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