If you were to pitch this series to Hollywood, the pitch would be Reanimator meets Doctor Who. Brandon Seifert in this issue introduces the Witch Doctor’s River Song: Absinthe O’Riley, a curator of the weird. He also creates a quirky, eerie faerie underworld that would easily fit in the Time Lord’s bailiwick.
Artists Lukas Ketner and Sunny Gho replicate the lank models of Bernie Wrightson and Michael Kaluta while adding their own macabre style when rendering the creepy faerie mother and the changeling she plants in the crib of unsuspecting parents. These are fantastic nightmares that would have made Lovecraft salivate.
Seifert’s sense of humor is pitch black. When the Witch Doctor, Dr. Vincent Morrow, faces the creature, his solution is at once horrifying and hilarious, doubly so due to the size differences between human and changeling. Then there’s the finale in which Dr. Morrow uses an adaptive sword to end the menace. The comedy on display is equal to the slapstick from Evil Dead II, and the good doctor’s mad reactions just increase the intensity of the laughter.
More than a writer of set pieces, Seifert crafts a smart, cohesive plot. The means in which the faerie mother brilliantly and economically leaves her cuckoos exemplifies selective behavior that could have doomed humanity if these adaptations spread through the race, and that gives Witch Doctor a bit more weight than usual. In addition, the creature developed immunity to Morrow’s outré assistant Penny Dreadful’s claws, which so easily dispatched the menace last issue. Impressive.