By Andy Frisk
October 9, 2009 - 18:32
Brother Voodoo aka Jericho Drumm, is now Doctor Voodoo, Sorcerer Supreme. The Relics of Agamotto have chosen him, and one of his first acts is to travel to the dark realm of Dormammu and seal him there. Not bad for a new Sorcerer Supreme as Doctor Strange, the former Sorcerer Supreme, often tangled with the Dread Dormammu and was challenged by him many times. Doctor Voodoo does get some help from Strange though, not the least of which is some helpful knowledge. Doctor Voodoo is a different Sorcerer Supreme than Strange was as Voodoo will manipulate dark magic in order to aid him on his quest to defend his universe (“your universe” as Marvelites like to say) from the forces of dark sorcery. Strange isn’t quite convinced that Voodoo’s use of the Scrying Stones of Chthon to keep tabs on the universe won’t lead to eventual disaster, but as Strange admits, the Eye of Agamotto has chosen Voodoo, so he will have faith in Voodoo as well. When Doctor Doom arrives to challenge Doctor Voodoo for possession of the Eye of Agamotto, he claims that Doctor Voodoo will bring about the destruction of this plane of existence, and Doom must save us all by possessing the Eye. Does Doom have some knowledge that gives him credence, or is Doom behaving true to form and grasping at power for himself?
It is this tension, the tension between Strange, Doom, and Voodoo, coupled with Voodoo’s own self doubt, but desire to live up to the legacy of Sorcerer Supreme, that drives the events of the first issue of Doctor Voodoo: Avenger of the Supernatural. Strange, while hesitant to endorse some of Voodoo’s techniques, supports Voodoo. Doom foresees the destruction of their plane of existence at the hands of Voodoo, but more to the point desires the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme for himself. Voodoo himself subtly reveals through his body language and comments to the spirit of his soul bound brother, Daniel, himself a former Brother Voodoo, that Voodoo has doubts himself as to his capabilities. Through his actions though, Voodoo demonstrates that he has the potential to overcome his limitation and succeed. Writer Rick Remender manages to tie together all this tension and provide his readers with yet another interesting, if oft seen, classic Marvel Comics’ hero storyline. Marvel Comics’ heroes are often plagued by self-doubt, failure, and loss, but always rise to the level of hero when they are needed. They are plagued with the same doubts, losses, and trials we all are plagued with here in the real world, and it will be interesting to watch Doctor Voodoo struggle, learn, and grow into his new role, like many Marvel Comics’ heroes have to.
Jefte Palo’s art is a great match for the story that Remender is looking to tell. He manages to capture the requisite creepiness of the beings encountered by Voodoo, especially the “servant to loathsome Ogoun” she-devil who attacks Voodoo while he is at work in his medical clinic in New Orleans. She’s dark, grotesque, and otherworldly. He also effectively portrays what always seemed to be a challenge for an artist assigned to a sorcery book. Namely, when you have a cast of characters who stand, float, and glide along casting spells instead of bashing in each others’ faces, like most superhero and villains do, you have to have the characters strike poses that don’t come off as silly, like waving a magic wand or something. When they do get down to the eventual fisticuffs that all superhero and villains resort to, whether magic based or not, Palo demonstrates his command of these aspects of superhero art as well. Beaulieu’s colors are sufficiently dark and heavy on the grays and blacks, also fitting for a sorcery book. The dark tones contrast well with the dully lit eldritch bolts that fly about during mystic combat.
Overall, Doctor Voodoo: Avenger of the Supernatural gets off to a solid start artistically and storytelling wise. Making Brother Voodoo into Doctor Voodoo, Sorcerer Supreme is a good move both artistically and from a storytelling point of view. Doctor Strange hasn’t’ really been able to carry a title by himself in recent years, mainly because he’s grown into a bit of a dull character. While Voodoo isn’t nearly as well known, he has a lot of interesting attributes that will at least freshen up the magic and sorcery aspects of the Marvel Universe.
Rating: 8 /10