resurrectionistsJericho Way’s life is a mess. When a bridge he designed collapsed, killing innocent people, Way was sentenced to six years in prison for manslaughter after a trial in which both his boss and wife testified against him.Three years into his sentence, the now former architect is recruited by his old cellmate into a ring of antiquities thieves. Way is convinced there is something suspicious about their enigmatic client, while his newfound ability to read hieroglyphics and the strange dreams he’s having about past lives are enough to make a man start to doubt his sanity. But then the real madness begins, when a mysterious woman tells Way that he needs to be “unlocked,” right before she nearly kills him. Not only is this not Jericho’s first rodeo, it turns out he’s been engaged in a battle of wits and wills with the men behind the curtain for a very long time. He and his team of misfits must embrace their pasts if they have any hope of saving their futures.

Resurrectionists is a fabulous new adventure from writer Fred Van Lente. Unique, fast-paced, and full of twists and turns, the story seamlessly blends Egyptian mythology with modern crime drama. The saga begins with an act of betrayal in Egypt during the XXI Dynasty; an ambitious high priest with eyes on the throne of Pharaoh attempts to murder a master tomb maker to protect the secrets of the royal tomb. That duplicity launches a feud that stretches across millennia, as Tao, the Maker, and his team of tomb robbers seek vengeance on High Priest Herihor for his perfidy. The action moves through time, from the Valley of the Kings of ancient Egypt to the present, with occasional stops in between as we see Way and his comrades flash through their lives, struggling to break the cycle that holds them captive. The art by Maurizio Rosenzweig is a perfect complement to the unfolding quest, the essence, the soul, of each character seen in their eyes and expressions as they’re born and reborn throughout history. Whether in a royal tomb or a city street, the figures, their time and place, are perfectly captured to draw the reader into the story’s drama. Personalities emerge as each character is drawn with careful detail and uniqueness. Rosenzweig never flinches nor allows the reader to blink as dark deeds occur, and lives are lived and lost.

Dark Horse rates Resurrectionists for ages 16+ and the title is well-suited for older teen or adult collections. Adventure seekers and fantasy fans looking for something other than superheroes will find Van Lente’s story an engaging change of pace, and readers interested in mythology or Egyptology might find this new take to be an intriguing read. There are certain issues that may be problematic for some readers, including profanity, violence, criminal activities, sexual situations, and homosexuality. Others may be concerned by the supernatural elements of the story, including the focus on reincarnation and the idea of souls being held captive. Also of note, the story includes the death of a pregnant woman and her unborn child, and the story offers a graphic glimpse of the Egyptian mummification process that may be disturbing to some readers.

Near-Death Experienced collects issues 1-6 of Resurrectionists. Dark Horse lists the title as an ongoing one, though there is no date listed for the next volume in the series. Given that the story ends on a cliffhanger, I can only hope the answer is soon. Resurrectionists is definitely a story that deserves to be continued.

Resurrectionists, vol. 1: Near-Death Experienced
by Fred Van Lente
Art by Maurizio Rosenzweig and Moreno Dinisio
ISBN: 9781616557607
Dark Horse, 2015
Publisher Age Rating: 16+

  • Beth Rogers

    Past Reviewer

    This reviewer is not longer actively working on our site, but we would not be here if not for our many dedicated contributors over the years. We thank all of them for their reviews, features, and support! Beth Rogers is Coordinator of Reference, Instruction, and Outreach at the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library at West Virginia Wesleyan College, where she has worked to introduce and develop the library’s graphic novel collection. Also a part-time lecturer in English, Beth has taught courses on graphic novels for college students, lead book discussions on graphic novels including Watchmen and American-Born Chinese, and guest lectured on superheroes in American culture. She also maintains a book review blog, Do I Wanna Read THAT?!?!? When she’s not working, Beth enjoys action movies, knitting wee Avengers, and spoiling her dog.

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