Resurrection Volume One trade paperback
Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Artists: David Dumeer, Douglas Dabbs & Justin Greenwood
Colors: Dan Jackson
Letters: Douglas E. Sherwood
Additional material: Pat Bollin, Robbi Rodriguez, Dominike Stanton, Brandon Graham, Christos Gage & Jon Proctor
Editors: James Lucas Jones & Jill Beaton
Publisher: Oni Press
Price: $24.99 US
Given that the Green Lantern movie has been playing in cinemas for a week now, it’s probably how most comics fans have had (or will get) a taste of Marc Guggenheim’s work this month, as he’s the co-writer of the screen story and screenplay. It looked like I wouldn’t get a chance to get to the theatre for a while, so it seemed to me that the time had come for me to finish reading this creator-owned work of Guggenheim’s and to jot down my thoughts about the book. A cover blurb compares Resurrection to Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, and it’s a fair comparison. Both books explore how people handle the aftermath of an unimaginable disaster, but that’s where the comparison ends. While The Walking Dead focuses on a single group of average people trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic America, Resurrection jumps around, spotlighting the activities of different factions of people in positions of power, all trying to piece America back together. There’s a strong political component to Resurrection that I enjoyed, but the scattered, piecemeal approach to the storytelling makes it a challenging read. Fortunately, it’s one that’s worthwhile.
A race of insectoid aliens came to Earth in the late 1990s and made short work of governments, infrastructure and society in the early days of the invasion, but years later, the intruders from the stars suddenly pick up and leave. In their wake is a broken planet, and in America, key players emerge from their hiding places across the shattered landscape and realize that their once-proud country lies in ruins, both literally and figuratively. As some try to piece together what the aliens’ withdrawal from Earth means, others launch plans to rebuild America — some as it once was and some in with own twisted vision of what it should be now.
Though several artists contributed to this series/collected edition, overall, there’s a consistent look to the artwork. The editors made some good choices when they needed to change artists, it would seem. Mind you, the more stylized, exaggerated approach that these artists employ takes some getting use to. The work is quite expressive, and it conveys the extreme nature of the circumstances well. But the unrestrained nature of the line art occasionally makes it difficult to discern what’s happening or which characters are which. Furthermore, a key, real-world figure shows up in the latter part of the book (and on the cover), but the caricature is loose and not immediately recognizable. Don’t get me wrong… I like the overall look of the artwork, but I wonder if this material wouldn’t have been better served by a more realistic style. For example, Jon (Black Diamond) Proctor artwork to a short story at the end of this book, and he captures the dark, gloomy atmosphere nicely and boasts a strong eye for detail and anatomy.
Proctor’s art adorns a story that’s among those in a series of what’s called “Resurrection Tales,” tangential plotlines set in the world that Guggenheim has constructed. He’s penned most of these shorter stories, but he’s also invited other creators to participate. Marvel writer Christos Gage and Proctor offer a fun story about a guy scavenging the ruins of Los Angeles for pop-culture treasures, for example, but the gem among these “Tales” is a story by King City creator Brandon Graham. I love Graham’s work and pick up anything he’s touched, but this contribution to the Oni Press series slipped by me. I was thrilled when I happened upon it. His story of a group of people who weathered the alien invasion hidden away in an underground bunker stands up well on its own. One needn’t even have read any other Resurrection material to appreciate the story. Graham brings his trademark flair and inventive ideas to the short story. Any Brandon Graham fan would be remiss to overlook this footnote in his comics career.
Guggenheim’s scripts keep jumping about in time, from the beginning of the invasion, to its aftermath, then back into the thick of it. Furthermore, he keeps following different characters in different locales, and the connections among those players are often shrouded in mystery and misdirection. In other words, Resurrection isn’t always an easy read. It’s a challenge. At first, I didn’t care for the challenge, but after two or three chapters, I enjoyed making connections and seeing the larger pieces of the puzzle begin to fit together. I’m not sure if Guggenheim opted for the right approach, with his achronological plotting, but the ideas and political plotlines are strong and interesting enough to get the audience to answer the challenge.
The idea at the center of Resurrection is Guggenheim’s effort to explore the dark side of the human heart and mind. The plot isn’t about the torture and havoc wrought by the aliens, but rather about the evils that mankind inflicts upon itself in the aftermath of the invasion. It’s also about the drive to survive and the strength one can find when it’s necessary, but ultimately, Guggenheim exposes the ugliness that lies below (but sadly, not too far below) the surface of humanity. 7/10
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