WITCH DOCTOR VOL. 2: MAL PRACTICE (Image, 2013; Softcover)
Collects Witch Doctor: The Resuscitation and Witch Doctor: Mal Practice Nos. 1-6 (cover dates December, 2011- April, 2013)
Writer: Brandon Seifert
Artist: Lucas Ketner
Colorist: Andy Troy
Image has been scoring tons of home runs with all of their creator owned titles lately. Fatale, Revival, and most certainly Witch Doctor, are all worthy of your attention and hard earned money. And this is before today's Image Expo announcements. Needless to say, my discretionary income will be stretched to the limit.
There is a charming purity to the tongue in cheek macabre happenings in the life of Dr. Vincent Morrow, an “Occult Doctor” who treats patients plagued by magical maladies. Everything here feels very British, and I imagine Morrow talking with a British accent even though there is nothing in his backstory that would corroborate this.
We meet a potential love interest and/or arch nemesis for the Doctor in Catrina Macabrey, a ne'er do well Necromancer/Pathologist of the occult. I love the faux scientific and medical explanations for these spells and curses. Seifert goes to great lengths to keep the characters playing it straight even when the events are whimsical, at least in a macabre black humor sort of way.
I also loved the introduction of the Surgeons. Truly creepy stuff there. The artwork and the coloring are effectively moody without being overly dark. If Andy Troy used darker hues the lighthearted aspect of the title would be lost amidst the murkiness. Things are “dark” here without being depressing. It's like a big fat witchcraft party or something.
The names of the characters are great. Dr. Morrow instead of Dr. Moreau (as in The Island of...), Penny Dreadful (Google it), Catrina Macabrey...macabre...get it? Great tongue in cheek stuff there.
According to the biography blurb on the inside back cover, Brandon Seifert was a student of Brian Michael Bendis. Well, this is one case where the student far exceeds the ability of his teacher. Seifert has a far better grasp on what makes a solid, entertaining comic that can stand alone yet be part of a larger tapestry than Bendis does. Bendis would have milked the amount of story in this book for three or four trades.
While I would love to see this title cranked out on a more regular basis I am more than happy to have these trades come out every other year as long as the quality is there. There are tons of other things to read to help keep me occupied until Volume 3 makes the rounds.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.
The OCD zone- Image makes decent quality trade paperbacks, with the exception of their choice of cardstock cover lamination.
Paper rating: 5 out of 5. Nice thick coated stock paper with a very, very slight sheen to it. This grade of paper works well for comic books colored on computers.
Binding rating: 4 out of 5. Glued binding.
Cardstock cover coating rating: 3 out of 5. The portions of the cover that are colored have a screen printed coating, while the blacks have that horrid thin dull matte finish coating that will scuff if you breathe on it too hard.