Resurrection Man

Resurrection Man

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Resurrection Man
250px Normal resurrectionman Resurrection Man
Resurrection Man as he appeared in DC One Million
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Resurrection Man #1 (May 1997)
Created by Andy Lanning
Dan Abnett
Jackson Guice
In story information
Alter ego Mitchell “Mitch” Shelley
Team affiliations Forgotten Heroes
Abilities Immortality via resurrection
Each revival grants a new, different superpower

The Resurrection Man is a fictional character, a superhero whose adventures were published by DC Comics from 1997 to 1999 in a serialized comic book of the same name, created by Andy Lanning, Dan Abnett and Jackson Guice.



  • 1 Series overview
  • 2 Fictional character biography
  • 3 Notable deaths and resurrections
  • 4 Elseworlds
  • 5 External links

Series overview

Born in Viceroy, South Carolina, Mitchell “Mitch” Shelley became a lawyer who found himself an unwilling test subject for experimentation in nanotechnology, involving specialized devices nicknamed “tektites” by an organization known only as “the Lab”. The experiments rendered Shelley initially amnesiac for several months, and effectively immortal albeit with a twist: he could still be killed, but the death would last a matter of seconds, perhaps minutes at most due to the tektites; their presence in Shelley’s body would inevitably revive him, and with a different superhuman power after each “resurrection”. A comment by the Phantom Stranger in RM #18 about having worked with Shelly in previous lifetimes suggests that there is more to his powers than just the tektites. However, the series never expanded on this point.

Shelley’s travels in search of the truth of his identity and his newfound powers would take him across the United States, leading him into an ongoing feud with assorted adversaries including Vandal Savage, the Body Doubles and others, as well as alliances and friendship with various members of the Justice League (although he did not feel comfortable acting in a traditional superhero role). At least one alternate future has established Shelley’s survival and longterm League membership into the 853rd Century. By then he had developed a device, the Resurrector, attached to his wrist, that could kill him in a way that allowed him to select specific powers (as opposed to the “Luck of the draw” system his normal deaths went by). Vandal Savage was able to use this device against him, reprogramming the Resurrector to constantly kill Shelley, never giving him the chance to resurrect, until the Martian Manhunter destroyed the device’s infestation. However, Shelly later returned alive in the subsequent DC One Million 80-Page Giant #1,000,000 (1999).

Fictional character biography

Resurrection Man’s power works a little differently from a traditional superhero’s. Whenever he is killed, he returns to life with a new power (or “gift” as he often refers to it) that correlates in some way to his death. These range from minor, almost dismissive abilities, such as the changing of his skin color and making pyrotechnic butterflies, to the extraordinary, such as the ability to transform into a Hulk-like monster with a bullet-proof hide. He can become more powerful than any single member of the Justice League, if he “resurrects” right.

Originally a lawyer on the take from the mob in Viceroy, South Carolina (the home of the fictitious soda Soder Cola of Superman comics), he spent the first few issues remembering who he is and what happened to make him the Resurrection Man. The comic starts with Shelley, a drifter with no memory, stumbling across his power (after dying). He fought an incarnation of Amazo and was brought to the attention of the JLA in issue #2. He was pursued early on ( and throughout most of the series ) by the Body Doubles – 2 curvy, fashion-themed female assassins that were hired by a mysterious organization called “the Lab”.

This “Lab” did give Shelley his power of resurrecting immediately, but he is also something much more, his origin stretching back far into the past of the DC universe. (If the Phantom Stranger is to be believed, Shelley’s gifts have existed in his previous lives, but not changed over the course of a single life.) It is revealed that Shelly has fought Vandal Savage throughout time, from the time of cavemen to the present day, each time attempting to foil Savage’s plots before getting killed by Savage in battle.

He returned to the DC Universe in DC Infinite Halloween Special #1. In it he is a bounty hunter trying to take down Killer Croc. Croc was able to kill Shelley and then ate him. Mitchell manifested a new power with caused Croc to run into a gas station and caused it to explode. Mitchell is then seen later leaving a bar after watching that Croc has been apprehended.

He was once again resurrected in Supergirl #28.

Notable deaths and resurrections

  • Method of death: Unknown

Resurrection: ability to fly

  • Method of death: Shot several times in the chest.

Resurrection: manipulating air to ‘blast’ targets, ‘hardening’ to form a shield, and making precision cuts.

  • Method of death: Explosion of fuel tanker and gas tanks.

Resurrection: immunity to flame/heat, generates fire from his hands, telekinetically controls fire, boosting jumps with superheated air

  • Method of death: rocket launcher

Resurrection: power to turn into a pyrotelekinetic flaming skeleton and back to normal at will

  • Method of death: unspecified (at the hands of Tommy Monaghan)

Resurrection: (eventual) ‘quantum telekinesis’, including sensory expansion on a near-cosmic scale (mentions hearing the ‘universe singing’), flight, molecular disintegration of targets, among others; also includes an undefined resistance to the ‘reality warp’ power of Mr. Skism.

  • Method of death: hit by truck

Resurrection: shape-shifting

  • Method of death: nuclear blast

Resurrection: as a living shadow

  • Method of death: pain overload via experimentation

Resurrection: as a woman


During the run of Resurrection Man Abnett and Lanning also wrote an Elseworlds graphic novel, The Superman Monster, which retold the story of Frankenstein as a Superman story. This featured an actual “resurrection man” (i.e. a body-snatcher) who was drawn to closely resemble Mitch Shelley.

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