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Friday, July 11, 2014

Witch Doctor: Mal Practice. Brandon Seifert (Writer), Lukas Ketner (Art), Andy Troy (Colours) Image Comics ( 2013)

A great cast, clever plot and gorgeous art all combine to deliver deliver a superbly engaging and entertaining comic. Dr Vincent Morrow finds himself in considerable trouble after a night with a woman he met in a bar. She was not quite what she appeared and Morrow is neatly caught in a trap set for him by a mysterious figure who want something very precious from Morrow. After trying and failing to solve the problem by himself, Morrow decides to face the problem head on and the story takes off in unexpected directions and reaches a brilliant finale.
Dr Vincent Morrow, the Witch Doctor of the title is a astonishing creation, bursting with life and arrogant confidence that make the moments when he is overwhelmed even more effective. He is wonderfully competent without every being overly so, he makes colossal mistakes and deals with them in smart and unexpected ways. One of the very many pleasures of the book is the way that Brandon Seifert gives Morrow problems that are actually severe enough to test him and have to solve them in line with being a witch doctor. The supporting cast are no slouches either, Catrina Macbrey, a pathologist and witch doctor is capable of providing head to head competition for Morrow, while  Penny Dreadful , Morrows haunted assistant who eats monsters has unexpected depth. Eric Gast, the ex-military paramedic supporting Morrow and still feeling his way into the world of medicinal magic balances Morrow and Penny and the rest of the cast are all full of life and vigour and demanding and deserving the readers attention.
The wonderful cast hide just how tightly plotted the book is, the action is very cleverly set up and nothing is wasted, the reveals are carefully staged and nothing is wasted. There are so many ideas that the book feels as if it is barely contained within the covers, the very funny, pitch black humor gives considerable bite to the action.
Lukas Ketner's art is so exact and purposeful that it too hides its craft in plain sight. The cast, human and otherwise, are just so confident and expressive and they move through such a detailed and exact physical context that it all just seems normal. The expressiveness of the cast, their fluid actions bring out every nuance of the story and make the emotional context visible and unobtrusive.
Andy Troy's colours are astonishing, they are subtle and explosive when required, they add depth and draw out the details of the art, they are so natural that they are invisible and worth savoring in their own right.
This is a great comic by a really talented team.

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