"The Resurrected": A compassionate comic investigating humanity and liberty
Humanity’s quest for immortality has been a storytelling theme for time immemorial. The Resurrected written by Christian Carnouche and illustrated by Crizam Zamora, spans out in five issues that spins a story on this immortality quest with aboriginal voices from Australia. Set in our immediate future 2037, Australia as we knew has been obliterated, only a handful of its population have survived the techno-plague that broke out five years prior.
Detective Cain Duluth, an indigenous-Australian who has lost his wife and daughter to this technological plague, teams up with Akimi Ozaki in the "Special Division for The Resurrected" to investigate the case of the serum that can resurrect people.
Issue one of the series opens with a heart-wrenching history of colonization of the aboriginals of Australia, a history that had been hidden and systematically erased by government. Cain is a man who is disgusted with the resurrecting serum and it piles up with his guilt at failing to protect his family. Our series antagonist Xander is the quintessential megalomaniac white man who is pulling strings behind the production of this forbidden serum by cultivating nanobots.
From issue two, the story dives into a very predictable pattern. The narrative twists and moral buildup of the climax have been explored before. Though Akimi and Cain never much delve into the serum investigation, their professional relationship was well fleshed out and a refreshing read.
Before Cain can process information he gets bombarded with identity politics and secret history and gets blamed for things beyond Cain’s control from a very reckless female assassin. The resurrecting serum, is not a mere medicine to bring the dead back to life, it is a serum that’s made at the cost of human life. Like diamonds, the price of white men’s thirst for immortality is paid by the indigenous-Australians in the story.
The panels in issue three and four were extremely rigid despite using the gutter space so well. The page layout looked like a collection of mismatched collage art. The most emotional scene was Cain’s meeting with his mother’s spirit in the desert. The constant overemphasis on "Our People" and "re-discovering roots" in the dialogues would have lost its meaning without this scene. The voice of Yindi and Pem’s anguish as indigenous people who have suffered at hands of greedy people came across as borrowed at times.
The characters and this futuristic world are well drawn, especially since the constant shift from location to location is not easy to illustrate. Sadly the facial expressions were very limited to wide eyes, open mouths, and brooding profiles. The action sequences in issue five were amazingly put to use, but the deaths fell into such predictable narrative patterns, I would’ve been surprised if the deaths of the supporting characters didn’t happen at all. Back stories for characters like Akimi and Pem could’ve been better placed and timed in the story or just dropped. Xandar in the final Issue remained the same paper cutout villain from his introduction; his villainous journey could have been cut down and replaced with more of General Gunvaldsson's story.
"The Resurrected" is ambitious storytelling that wants to honour the aboriginal history that has almost been wiped out. But the story had too many things to say, many more things to illustrate, and really limited page space to offer. Hence the story was rushed, from one set of information the reader was pushed to another. As the foreword by Erica Schultz informs the reader that some stories exist to entertain and some to learn from, The Resurrected tries its best to find a balance between the two. The Resurrected has an apt observation to make on the whole racial evolution of humanity: no single race can thrive and succeed at cost of another race’s liberty.