|Resurrection vol. 2 #1
By Marc Guggenheim and Justin Greenwood
Oni Press — saddle-stitched, $3.99
I DON’T USUALLY REVIEW individual chapters of larger stories, as I prefer to stick to collections or at least full runs, but I enjoyed the recent Resurrection: Insurgent Edition paperback and Free Comic Book Day issue enough that this week’s new #1 had my interest. Writer Marc Guggenheim has come up with a great premise and presents it with a compelling point of view that instills the actions of even the unlikelier characters with believability.
The first chapter of Resurrection vol. 2 is something of a strange animal; similar to several recent film franchise reboots, it is part sequel and part remake. Oni Press has heavily emphasized the new series’ independence from the old one, and it’s true that all the information necessary to understand the premise is there. The first two pages use a very effective time-lapse sequence of presidential addresses to quickly establish the background: in 1998 aliens invaded Earth and, within a matter of days, completely conquered it. The sequence elegantly shows the progression from confusion to panic to defeat that characterized those few days.
The next page jumps ahead to 2007, setting up Resurrection’s real premise, the sudden and unexplained disappearance of the aliens after nearly ten years. This is where the relaunch gets a little weird. Pages three through eight are a word-for-word replay of the first six pages of the previous #1, reintroducing a group of characters who haven’t been seen since then. This certainly vindicates Oni’s confidence that new readers won’t be lost, but it does feel redundant to the returning reader, coming so soon after the collection of vol. 1. You couldn’t ask for a more direct method of recruiting new readers than returning to the series’ ground zero, but I found myself wondering if it couldn’t have been abridged somehow, instead of spending a fifth of the pages on something we’d seen before, staged exactly the same.
A positive effect of repeating those early pages is to flatter vol. 2’s new artist, Justin Greenwood. In every instance where he’s slightly altered a panel, his version is a little more dynamic, with greater depth and movement to it. His work throughout the issue is punchy and tells the story clearly. While David Dumeer’s art in the first series had an appropriate grit to it, it was often a bit flat and occasionally inconsistent, with characters sometimes looking different on some pages than others. Greenwood’s art is cleaner, but still largely captures the desolation of the post-invasion world, though it sometimes looks a little too spare, with small pieces of rubble spread thin against otherwise featureless landscapes.
After the repeated pages, the story diverges from Resurrection vol. 1, as characters go their separate ways. Where the first volume followed Sara, the character who went off on her own, here the story sticks with the remaining members of the group, spending the entire issue with them, and reintroducing various elements of the series’ world through their travels rather than jumping between several sets of characters in different locations, as in vol. 1. No single member of the group ends up receiving as much development as Sara did in vol. 1, but their adventures do have a sense of urgency—there are strong moments of drama that feel earned, and the ending takes the kind of left turn that leaves the reader with no idea where it might go, which is always good.
Following one cluster of survivors instead of several makes Resurrection more closely resemble The Walking Dead than before, with a similar focus on a diverse group attempting to survive in a post-disaster, monster-infested world, facing the potentially greater horror of their fellow man. That being the case, the addition of color was a wise choice, as it makes Resurrection more visually distinct from The Walking Dead, which it is not much like beyond those superficial elements. The colors also further the series’ aesthetic with a desert-dry palate dominated by orange, as though fires just beyond the horizon haven’t yet burned out.
Overall, the issue feels like a recap right after reading the collection of the series to date, and will actually probably read better for someone new to the series than returning readers. After I had such a good time with vol. 1, the new #1 didn’t add much that was new, but certainly fulfills its new-reader-friendly mandate. Since the story quickly moves in a different direction from vol. 1, there’s promise of more momentum in future issues, and this taste of what’s to come—and especially the revelations in the FCBD Resurrection #0, which introduced another subplot and actually advanced the overall story more than this issue—has definitely got me curious to see what comes next.