Friday, October 16, 2009

Doctor Voodoo #1 Review

As promised, here's my review of Doctor Voodoo #1, starting the adventures of Jericho Drumm as the Houngan Supreme. This issue was written by Rick Remender with art by Jefte Palo and colors by Jean-Francoise Beaulieu.

SYNOPSIS: Jericho Drumm (now calling himself Doctor Voodoo rather than Brother Voodoo) travels to the Dark Dimension to confront Dormammu following the revelations of New Avengers #53-54 in which it was revealed that Dormammu and the Hood had been working together. Drumm, using information given to him by Doctor Strange, traps Dormammu within his throne room inside the Dark Dimension and banishes him from traveling outside of it.

Later, Strange and Drumm have a pointed discussion about Doctor Voodoo's willingness to manipulate certain dark magical energies - including the Scrying Stones of Chthon for purposes of monitoring magic on Earth. Strange eventually departs, having taught Drumm all that he can, and Drumm heads to his New Orleans clinic to treat the sick.

While there he's warned by Alexis (who he may have some form of relationship with) that they've received an eviction notice for not paying back rent. Moments later Voodoo is attacked by a servant of Ogoun, the Loa version of a fire, iron and warrior spirit. The Loa servant explains to him that the Loa are wary of Drumm's sudden acceptance of the Vishanti and other magic influences. But while Drumm is battling the creature he is ambushed by Doctor Doom via a magical portal, making it clear he means to take the Eye of Agamotto.

Doom neutralizes the spirit of Drumm's brother, Daniel, and then redirects himself and Doctor Voodoo to another world after Drumm attempts to teleport them both out of the clinic. On this world Drumm cannot channel the power of the Loa and is forced to resort to sorcery. After a pitched battle Doom's technology defeats Doctor Voodoo and he beats the Houngan Supreme viciously with his armored fists. But as Doom touches the Eye the amulet shows him precisely what malevolent magical force it is that the Vishanti and the Loa are dreading that is fast approaching. Doom departs, leaving Drumm to wonder what the Eye revealed to him.

BOTTOM LINE: Rick Remender and Jefte Palo have churned out one of the most entertaining premiere issues that I have read in years. I enjoyed Remender having Drumm confront Dormammu right off the bat to set the attitude for the book and I really liked Drumm using talking shrunken heads as "null language" to trap Dormammu in his own throne room. That actually freaked me out. I also enjoyed the servant of Ogoun to symbolize that the Loa aren't crazy with Drumm now sharing his time with the Vishanti. It's similar to Strange telling Drumm in the story that he can't split time between being Sorcerer Supreme and working as a doctor, but Drumm insists he can. Drumm comes across as capable but overconfident, and I wonder if having his voodoo ass kicked by Doctor Doom (the highlight of the story) will ground him a bit more and get him where he needs to be.

Palo's art is dark and gritty and aptly suited for a story featuring chattering shrunken heads, crows being used to keep Dormammu a prisoner in his own dimension and a Loa servant creature clawing its way out of a human being.

I loved this comic and I've read it four times now. I can't recommend it highly enough.

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