"Witch Doctor #3-4" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Brandon Seifert
Illustrated by Lukas Ketner
2011, 24 pages each
Comics Published in October and November 2011
Click images to enlarge.
Terrorizing innocent people can really take its toll on a monster. When they get sick, they turn to Dr. Vincent Morrow, occult physician in Witch Doctor. Written by Brandon Seifert for Image Comics' Skybound imprint, the comic is a fun romp through a side of the supernatural that we rarely see: the waiting room.
Issues #3 and #4 are a two part story that begins with the "Patient from the Black Lagoon," a fish person brought in by Absinthe O'Riley, curator of the Museum of Supernatural History. Morrow, along with his paramedic Eric Gast and...patient? Penny Dreadful, investigate what ails this creature and stumble upon a larger plot that could bring about the end of the world. All of this is told in a flashback as Morrow defends his actions in front of the council at Mystics Without Borders.
Witch Doctor moves at an incredibly fast pace, but it never leaves you behind. The story is packed with information and these two issues are easy jumping-on points. Morrow as a character is great. He's quick-witted and clearly doesn't give a shit what anyone thinks. He's also brilliant, which makes him a bit of a douchebag, but a loveable douchebag. Morrow is like House without a limp and he deals exclusively in supernatural patients. He also has a sword called Excalibur instead of a cane.
Lukas Ketner drew these two issues and his work is phenomenal. The characters are well-defined with an incredible amount of detail. Right on the first page of issue #3, there's a close-up of an unshaven Morrow with mussed up hair and rings under his eyes. It's a great shot, but also sums up the character's attitude in the scene quickly. Ketner shines with the monsters, though. The patient that's brought in front of Morrow is huge and vicious looking before he even wakes up. He's made all the more brutal when he gets off the gurney. Similarly, the character of Penny Dreadful -- who's one part River Tam from Firefly and three parts monster -- is like something out of my nightmares, at times harmless and at others, sickeningly frightening.
Witch Doctor is easily the most fun I've had reading a comic all year. It's quick, smart, and exceptionally well-drawn. There are a lot of concepts and supernatural creatures thrown around, but Seifert keeps them on a tight lease and they never get confusing. Some of the dialogue reminds me a bit of Warren Ellis and that's certainly not a bad thing. My only real complaint about Witch Doctor is that this marks the end of the mini-series. The character will return in December with a one-shot called "The Resuscitation", but I want more Morrow now!