Witch Doctor is a fun little supernatural title with jaw-dropping artwork. Brandon Seifert distinguishes his protagonist by making him a man of science and magic. The good doctor diagnoses severe physical trauma, and in the blink of an eye recognizes the intricacies of extracting demons.
Seifert characterizes the Witch Doctor as the Doctor. Seriously, David Tennant could portray the Witch Doctor with grand ease. The Witch Doctor’s witty dialogue delivered through carefully chosen fonts of lettering by Seifert imprints a rhythmic speech pattern that’s practically Tennant’s trademark. I have no doubt however that the similarity is serendipitous. There’s simply too much novelty in the Witch Doctor to suggest homage.
Dr. Vincent Morrow and the Doctor share a love of knowledge. Magic however exists in Morrow’s world, and that means he follows procedures to combat the supernatural. It’s not an exact science, but the area of knowledge can help the fight rather than hurt. In a dangerous twist, the power of prayer is absolutely useless. Being an atheist, I rather savored that.
Seifert isn’t exactly arguing against religion, rather it’s infallibility. Seifert’s explanation for the soul for example is far more satisfying than the traditional belief. These elements give Witch Doctor a pseudointellectual atmosphere and probably would earn it a place on the offensive reading list of the Church. Both good things.
The artwork by Lukas Ketner and Sunny Gho recalls Bernie Wrightson’s anatomic exactitude and Michael Kaluta’s art noveau styled horror visuals. The artists aren’t out to scare you. Rather, they present something genuinely fantastic. The demons are grotesque rather than terrifying. There’s less reliance on shadow and more dependence on textures and quirkiness. Dr. Morrow isn’t frightened. He’s perturbed or amused. His cohort Mr. Gast is a big, bespectacled blonde galoot that’s more naive than terrified, and Penny Dreadful is a spooky little girl that’s a lot more dangerous than the monsters Morrow seeks to remove.
Danny Djeljosevic also reviewed Witch Doctor #1. Read his thoughts, too!
Ray Tate’s first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, “Spider Without a Web,” published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups. In the POBB, as it was affectionately known, Ray reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he’s young at heart. Of course, we all know better.