Comic Review: Witch Doctor: Mal Practice #1
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Witch Doctor: Mal Practice #1
Written by Brandon Seifert
Art by Lukas Ketner
Colors by Andy Troy
Letters by Brandon Seifert
Image Comics
Release Date November 28, 2012
Price: $2.99

Witch Doctor: Mal Practice begins with Dr. Vincent Morrow in his lab battling what can only be described as a severe case of demon larvae infection. Think one of Cthulhu’s many brethren only pink, gigantic, erupting from a young man’s chest, and mad as all hell. This possession case is the perfect introduction into Morrow’s world.

Dr. Morrow feverishly works on a cure, Penny Dreadful supernaturally sedates the host and paramedic Eric Gast operates the physical containment apparatus. (That’s the Diablosuction Pump in magic/medical terms.) This easily establishes everything we need to know about our heroes in a one page spread. We get to see our heroes doing what they do best. And what they do best is daring do against the forces of infectious darkness.

What I love most about the world of Witch Doctor is that it has strong elements of the Buffy/Angel universe. Only this universe is more grounded in an adult reality. I mean, if you’re going to have demons as viral contagions I’m pretty sure the Witch Doctor world is how it’d play out. Now I know that statement is going to turn off a lot of non-Whedonites. But I also know that it will prick up the ears of the Whedonesque. The humor, the pacing and the monsters all feel like a Joss Whedon show waiting to happen. Only this time the writer is Brandon Seifert and I have to say his dialogue is a tad sharper that Whedon’s. If only because there’s not a flood of Buffy-speak to wade through.

While this is Dr. Morrow’s story we do get a glimpse inside Penny and Eric’s minds. Eric is the war veteran suffering from PTSD. His flashback to the war is demonstrated with eloquent simplicity in a three panel sequence. Penny Dreadful(a name that I’m jealous of not thinking to use first) is a young girl who is struggling with her obvious demon heritage. She is also bound to Dr. Morrow in some way. I hope more light is shed on this mystery as the mini series moves forward.

Then there is Dr. Morrow the sardonic magic/medical man of the hour. He has one lucky night which morphs into one confusing morning and quickly falls into more trouble than any amount of drinks are worth.

Lukas Ketner‘s visual storytelling is masterful. Ketner’s art fully establishes Morrow’s reality. The background details are superb. The character details defining. The action flows easily and his monster renderings will put any decent hypochondriac into a germophobic bender for at least a week.

I’m not a person who’s normally a fan of horror comics. I’m a great fan of this horror comic. The jokes are the dark humor that drives me. The writing and art will hold your attention from beginning to end. I want to see Witch Doctor become an HBO series. I want to watch it become an animated movie. More than anything, I’ll be happy when I get to read the next issue.

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