10.12.2009

Doctor Voodoo #1 Review

Doctor Voodoo #1 (Marvel)
Review by Jason Crowe
Contributing Writer

“I will bring order to the supernatural…”

The verbal incantations in the first issue of Doctor Voodoo serve as a framework to support the extensive use of expository dialogue. While battling Dormammu, Jericho Drumm proclaims that he is “not the Sorcerer Supreme you are accustomed to matching.” Doctor Voodoo maintains an air of intellectual confidence as he challenges and imprisons Dormammu; Voodoo’s dialogue suggests a strong desire to prove himself and overcome the reputation of his predecessor, Doctor Strange.

Doctor Strange serves as one of the mentors for Voodoo, counseling him on the perils of dark magic and warning against the distraction of a second role as a medical doctor.

Voodoo spurns Strange’s warning about employing Chthon’s dark scrying stones; the images on the stones foreshadow glimpses of other mystics in the Marvel Universe that indicate potential story threads. Strange leaves Voodoo to return to a mundane life, phasing out with a comment that no one is prepared to be Sorcerer Supreme.

Writer Rick Remender (The End League) briefly showcases Doctor Voodoo’s civilian life at the head of a non-profit clinic in New Orleans. While walking the halls of the clinic, Jericho is shadowed by the spirit of Daniel, his deceased brother. Daniel considers himself the equal of Jericho as one of the “Sorcerers Supreme.”

Doctor Doom explosively interrupts Jericho’s shift at the clinic, seeking to claim the title of Sorcerer Supreme. Doom believes that only he is capable of using the Eye of Agamotto to prevent Voodoo’s alleged incompetence from destroying reality. Doom’s brutal combination of science, magic and willpower overcomes Voodoo. When Doom grasps the Eye, he is horrified by an unseen image and tosses the Eye back to Voodoo, wishing him useless luck for his cursed future.

Remender writes Doctor Voodoo’s personality as aggressively clashing with the existing mystic order of the Marvel Universe, which seems to be threatened by a dark force. The Eye of Agomotto has issued a cryptic warning about this threat, highlighting Remender’s plans to tour the arcane corners of the Marvel Universe.

Artist Jefte Palo renders the faces of Voodoo and Strange with the careworn lines that reminded me of the recent pencils of John Romita Jr. Palo’s thin lines suggest figure outlines that are further defined by color tones. It is effective, but I feel that the art would be improved by a more confident line weight.

Overall, I feel the treatment of the character is a logical step forward rather than a revision. The history of Brother Voodoo is detailed in several dense text pages that include a breathless 1970’s promotional essay from Tony Isabella and a traditional dossier of the characters abilities and past activities. The dossier highlights the mocking mismanagement of the character’s potential for the last few years. I look forward to reading the next few issues to see if Remender can develop the book into a worthy successor to Doctor Strange. Grade B.

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