Resurrection #1

By | Monday, June 08, 2009 Leave a Comment
There are any number of ways to open a story. I have to admit to being a sucker for ones that start right in with action: sword fights, gun battles, high-speed chases... BAM! Just hit the ground running! I'll figure what's going on as I go. How better to grab the audience's attention than with explosions, right?

Of course, at some point, the explosions have to stop. You can't have ALL ACTION ALL THE TIME, after all, otherwise people realize that you don't really have a story to tell and you're just blowing stuff up. So eventually, you have ratchet things back down. And that's where Marc Guggenheim's Resurrection starts: after all the action.

The set-up is that, in 1998 aliens land on Earth and start blasting us to kingdom come. In 2007, they just vanish, and what's left of the human race start climbing out of their hiding places. This is where Guggenheim picks up the story. The first volume of the series started in Belspring, VA and followed Sara Lisco to Washington, DC where she and a few others she ran into look towards rebuilding America. The second volume (whose first issue should be out on Wednesday) starts in the exact same spot but, instead, follows the people Sara left in Virginia.

It's a very compelling story, really. What happens afterwards? We've all seen the hero ride off into the sunset, but what happens then? There is no "happily ever-after" in real life; people's lives continue on and they encounter new conflicts -- some similar, some altogether different. And that's what makes Resurrection interesting. Guggenheim drops enough clues intelligently to let readers know how we got to this point, but leaves plenty of room to expand in any direction he wants.

Which is sort of where volume 2 comes in. As I said, he starts in the same spot (going so far as to showing the same opening scenes -- redrawn -- as volume 1) but is still able to head off an entirely new direction.

I should note here some of the other distinctions between the first volume and this new one. Most noticeable, of course, is the addition of color. (More on that in a bit.) Guggenheim has also dropped the song lyrics he used to open chapters of the first volume -- a wise choice, I think, since music played almost no part of the story otherwise, making the lyrics seem decidedly out of place. The story is different structurally, too, since Sara gained allies on her trek while the group that starts here is continually losing members. It will be interesting to see if Guggenheim continues that theme throughout the series to reinforce a message. (Although rather early to say for sure, I'd say that thematically, the stories tell us that aiming for mere survival isn't enough, and that you really have to make an attempt at progress in order to survive.)

It's easy to say that the new volume is new-reader-friendly and that you don't need to have read the first to appreciate the second -- indeed, that's precisely what I was told -- but since the second volume doesn't even follow the same characters AND starts at the same point as the first, it really does apply particularly well here. If they opt to continue with other volumes in a similar manner, I might go so far as to suggest not numbering them at all and letting readers who happen across the series in a bookstore start on any volume at random. Resurrection: Sara's Story, Resurrection: Frank's Story, Resurrection: Latisha's Story... something like that.

Which is all to say that I really liked the concept and thought it was well written. I was pulled into the story, and really liked Guggenheim did with it.

The art chores in the latest volume are handled by Justin Greenwood, replacing David Dumeer and Douglas Dabbs from the first volume. As I had a few issues with storytelling in the original story (notably, some of the action scenes weren't particularly clear) I think Greenwood's a welcome addition. Though I've seen his work on this one issue (I missed the FCBD edition) he seemed to handle himself well, despite a larger number of dramatic scene changes. I'm curious now, too, to see his interpretation of the aliens. Fairly solid work throughout, and I hope to see that level throughout the remainder of the series.

Volume one worked well in black and white, and I suspect volume two would have as well. But the addition of color adds a surprising amount, I think, conveying a lot about each scene's mood and tenor, further emphasizing the points Guggenheim and Greenwood are already making. I don't see a colorist credit on the preview copy I have, but whoever it was that did the work did a nice job, following Greenwood's more high-contrast and somewhat blocky art style, as opposed to filling in a lot of gradients and blends that are common (not necessarily in a bad way) in other comics. The color here enhances the story and never seeks to overwhelm the reader. (Though I must admit that I was particularly impressed with the coloring on the sunset and campfire scenes -- not something most people would notice, I expect, but I liked it.)

I remember being intrigued by the previews I saw of the first volume when it was first coming out but I somehow managed to miss it as it came out in pamphlet form. (Probably because I was making some dramatic changes in purchasing habits around that time.) But I'm looking forward to seeing the new issues as they come out, and I expect I won't be the only one.
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