Victor Morrow is back. He's brought the whole gang with him, and what looks like a simple reversed kidney theft — as if such a thing were simple — turns out to be the precursor for a monster mash.
The Mummy is my favorite monster of all time, but writer Brandon Seifert earns extra points for looking to mythology to find a simultaneous Frankenstein Monster to boot. That was just insightful. I was a devotee to that particular pantheon, and I missed the parallels completely.
Seifert then combines black arts worship with unlicensed medical practice to craft a singular villainess. At once ditzy and brilliant, she adds further complication by being attracted to the good Witch Doctor.
Before all this occurs, Seifert plays on the old Urban Legend of waking up in a tub of ice only to find yourself sans one kidney, if you're lucky. Two of course would be fatal. The difference here is that somebody with scalpel deftness grafted another kidney in place of the other.
Kidney Deposit, Kidney Return
At first I thought this was the good Witch Doctor's handiwork, fixing a tragedy and leaving before any questions arose. I believed I had come in on a James Bond styled opening, but it turns out that Dr. Morrow is innocent, and there's something more hilarious and insidious at work. Of course, technically there's two somethings like that. First, we have the crackpot villainess. Second, artist Lukas Ketner is on hand to provide a rich, textured occult world situated in the antiseptic medical arena as well as create laugh out loud comedy.
Penny for Your Thoughts
In addition to the main event, Seifert, Ketner and colorist Andy Troy craft a unique monster as almost a throwaway gag. Hopefully we'll see more of the Smoke Ghost in a future encounter.
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
I would be remiss in my duties however not to mention some errors. While the the kidney images are decent enough, Ketner presents the organs far too closely together. Kidneys aren't lungs. They reside on opposite sides of the body. Their distance in fact may be one of the reasons for their independence and why a person can only function with one. There can, however, be no excuse for the following.
The kidneys reside in the abdominal cavity, not the chest. Thorax would have been acceptable. Since Witch Doctor claims to offer scientific pleasures as well as pure entertainment, Seifert must be held accountable for a glimmer of the poorest research.
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, where he 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.