Or – “An Old Favorite Returns!”

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An old favorite of MINE, at any rate…  It is an undisputed fact that what we liked best as a kid will stick with us in our adulthood, one way or another.  Witness Stephen and my recent discussions on the podcast of why 1979’s ‘The Black Hole’ is a more transformative movie than ‘Star Wars’ for me.  Early in my comics buying life, I picked up the original run of Marvel’s Official Handbook series, and many of my comic book favorites were shaped by those volumes.  My love of Nova, of the Mimic, of the 3-D Man, all stems from those books, as well as my soft spot for the new Sorcerer Supreme of the Marvel Universe…  But can Gabriel Drumm live up to the standard set by his prececessor?

DV2.jpgPreviously, on Doctor Voodoo – Avenger of the Supernatural:  Jericho Drumm never believed in the Voudo that he grew up with in his native Haiti.  Twin brother Daniel, however, grew up in the faith, becoming the local houngan of their hometown, while Jericho went to the United States to become a psychologist and physician.  When Daniel fell ill (reputedly the work of a rival practitioner) Jericho comes back to Haiti, swore to his brother that he would continue his magics.  Studying under the mysterious Papa Jambo, Gabriel made contact with the spirit of his fallen twin, and took the name “Brother Voodoo” to honor his sibling.  Using their combined mystical might, the brothers Voodoo defeated the evil houngan who cursed Daniel, and spent several years wandering the Marvel Universe as a mystical troubleshooter of sorts.  When climates changed, Jericho registered under the SHRA, became an agent of SHIELD, and continued his works and his magical studies.  In recent months, Doctor Strange took some drastic actions (including summoning the monster called Zom) that led to him being stripped of the post of Sorcerer Supreme in some nebulous fashion. The talisman of that office, the Eye of Agamotto, sought out the next worthy candidate.  In battling down the Dormammu-possessed Parker Robbins, Jericho proved himself to be the man, and was awarded the mantle of Top Mage.

After his recent incursions into the real world, Dormammu sits in his castle, pondering his next move, not realizing that a new foe is about to arrive in his living room.  “We live in the dark times foretold by the Vishanti,” voice-overs Doctor Voodoo, “A prophesized evil will soon swallow our universe.  I will bring ORDER to the supernatural.”  Of course, Doctor V realizes that evil won’t have much use for this plan.  He confronts Dormammu, informing him that he is now banned from crossing over into other dimensions.  Using the powers of Legba, voodoo magics that his predecessor never even considered, Doctor Voodoo seals Big D’s dimension off from ours, and exits with a final word.  “I hope you have made this dark pit well…  It will serve as your tomb.”  That, my friends, is how you kick things off…  Jericho has immediately distinguished himself from Doctor Strange, and successfully removed a powerful player from the board to start his run.  (He also probably just made a huge enemy, now that I think of it.)  Returning home, Jericho collapses to the floor, exhausted by the effort, but also aware that he’s just sent a message to the entire Dark Dimension and all the nasties out there.  Consulting with Stephen Strange, Jericho is dismayed to find that the elder beings are still in a tizzy, and saddened to see that Dormammu is NOT the source of the mysterious threat in their future.

Doctor Voodoo consults with a couple of other mystical sources, and Doctor Strange is horrified to see that he is dabbling in Chthon’s magic, and using the powers of the Darkhold as well.  Strange realizes that perhaps this IS the thing that makes the difference between his way and Jericho’s way, and exits, having taught the new Supreme everything that he can.  Returning to the real world, we see Jericho’s day job, a free clinic on the edge of bankruptcy, serving patients who cannot afford medical care.  Before he can help anyone, though, a portal opens and DOCTOR DOOM steps through, demanding the Eye of Agamotto.  The doctors leap into battle, and Jericho teleports them away to try and control the battlefield.  Doom redirects their energies to land on an empty plain, a land where he holds the upper hand, but Doctor Voodoo tackles him and they both fall off a cliff, plummeting through dimensions.  Voodoo manages to sabotage Doom’s armor, and they pass through dimension after dimension (including cameos of Blackheart and Shuma-Gorath) before crashing to the ground.  Doom overpowers him ,and rips the Eye from his cape to take the power of Sorcerer Supreme for himself.  Doom looks into the eye, and turns away in horror, then slinks away through another portal.  “I wish you luck, Jericho Drumm…  Though as the holde of that cursed relic, it will do you no good.”  Doctor Voodoo is left abandoned in a strange dimension, wondering what it was that the evil Doctor could have seen…

Rick Remender is a name that I’ve heard a lot, in reference to his run on Fear Agent and over series, but I have only ever read his work as the new writer of the All-New Atom not so long ago.  I have to say, though, he handles this character well, giving Jericho an interesting voice, allowing him to stand toe-to-toe with Doctors Doom and Strange and not immediately get taken down.  His use of different magics gives Voodoo a new take on the post, as well as a built-in weakness down the line, and I enjoy the fact that he was able to stand against Doom, but NOT to easily defeat him.  A new Sorcerer Supreme shouldn’t immediately be the new baddest badass ever just to give the character an immediate rub to start his book.  Overall, the art adds to the creepiness of the affair as well, with Jefte Palo creating a dark and sinister tone throughout, reminding me in places of Mike Mignola’s early work.  Although I liked the fact that someone like Doom wasn’t so easily taken out, I wasn’t entirely sure that having Jericho’s first issue end with him a bloody, beaten mess at the hands of Latveria’s evil king is where I would want to start.  All in all, though, this is a good start for the new kid, and I’m interested in seeing how it all shakes down in the long run.  Hopefully, Marvel won’t immediately turn things back and revert Doctor Strange to the S.S. post immediately and undermine the whole business.  Doctor Voodoo: Avenger of the Supernatural #1 earns 3.5 out of 5 stars overall, a nice kickoff for what could be a whole new ballgame for Brother Voodoo and for the entire Marvel Universe.

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The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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8 Comments

  1. TheTaken
    October 8, 2009 at 5:10 pm — Reply

    Enjoyed the writing and pencils on this book. Is it me or did the coloring on this book look remarkably like a three year old’s?

  2. October 8, 2009 at 8:13 pm — Reply

    Three-year-olds don’t use nearly as many photoshop digital effects. And I should know, I’m the master of gratuitous lensflare.

  3. Winter
    October 8, 2009 at 10:27 pm — Reply

    solid opening issue.
    i’m a bit more excited what this title would read like a year or 2 in.
    :-D

  4. October 9, 2009 at 10:14 am — Reply

    I enjoyed the issue, was completly lost for a good bit of it, but I enjoyed it.

    The idea of Strange playing the role of mentor/teacher is good, but I have one question, when did Dr. Strange start looking like a really old British military man? That has to be the oldest, most unattractive I have seen anyone draw Stephen Strange.

    Other than that, loved the issue. Going to be hunting down old Brother Voodoo apperances now!

  5. Steven R. Stahl
    October 10, 2009 at 1:11 am — Reply

    I’m sorry to say that you seem entirely unaware of the flagrant mistakes in the issue that run from the invalid series premise to the naming of individual items. Remender ridiculously has the Vishanti warning incessantly about an approaching danger, when the Vishanti are the preeminent magical force accessible from the Marvel universe and Dr. Strange’s greatest source of power. What, exactly, is the point of having the Vishanti warn Doctor Voodoo about anything? If a priest warned parishioners at Sunday Mass that God saw a terrible menace approaching, what would they do? Load up on shotgun ammo?

    In basing the series on Bendis’s NEW AVENGERS material, Remender gives readers an incomprehensible treatment of the Eye. Agamotto created and powers it, so it’s no more powerful than Agamotto is, and it doesn’t operate independently, has no volition or motivations, so, aside from misinterpretations, the Eye is of no more use to Dr. Doom than it would have been to Dormammu. It’s simply a means of invoking Agamotto and isn’t even needed for that. Standard incantations would do.

    The treatment of Dormammu is just as ridiculous. Dr. Voodoo can’t trap Dormammu within his dimension, and there’s no point in even trying. Dormammu doesn’t gain anything by simply appearing in Earth’s dimension. Bendis seems (and Remender seems) to have confused him with Chthon. In inventing the “Scrying Stones of Chthon,” Remender seems unaware that the Orb of Agamotto does the same thing, without making it necessary to invoke Chthon.

    There are also voodoo-related mistakes. Bondye is another name for God, not a realm. Papa Legba is an analogue to St. Peter — telling St. Peter to keep Dormammu imprisoned within his dimension doesn’t make much sense, does it?

    To sum up, in writing DOCTOR VOODOO #1, Remender and his editor have turned the magical concepts in the Marvel universe upside down and inside out. The story can’t work, it’s impossible for it to work. The issue shouldn’t have been published.

    SRS

    • October 10, 2009 at 10:40 pm — Reply

      I’m sorry to say that you seem entirely unaware of the flagrant mistakes in the issue that run from the invalid series premise to the naming of individual items.

      Once again, I appreciate your intent, but please be aware that your tone and word choice are incredibly condescending, and bordering upon inappropriate… It is not necessary to denigrate those who disagree with your opinions on a given comic review, because they (and for that matter, the entirety of my review) constitute entirely that: OPINION.

      What, exactly, is the point of having the Vishanti warn Doctor Voodoo about anything?

      One presumes that the writer is foreshadowing a coming apocalypse…

      In basing the series on Bendis’s NEW AVENGERS material, Remender gives readers an incomprehensible treatment of the Eye. Agamotto created and powers it, so it’s no more powerful than Agamotto is, and it doesn’t operate independently, has no volition or motivations, so, aside from misinterpretations, the Eye is of no more use to Dr. Doom than it would have been to Dormammu.

      I have an extensive Doctor Strange collection, from Lee and Ditko to Englehart and Rogers to whomever wrote the Butch Guice run, and I don’t see anything about the use of the Eye here that is directly contradictory of previous handling thereof. May I ask which stories you’re referring to in your interpretation of the powers of the Eye? Or, for that matter, the powers of Agamotto?

      To sum up, in writing DOCTOR VOODOO #1, Remender and his editor have turned the magical concepts in the Marvel universe upside down and inside out. The story can’t work, it’s impossible for it to work. The issue shouldn’t have been published.

      In your opinion…

      For me, at least (and I say this as a fan of Brother Voodoo’s previous appearances in Strange Tales, in Tales of the Zombie, and elsewhere, as well as someone who finds the concept of super-magic hero to be a difficult one to handle, what with there being little in the way of hard and fast rules for the character) it was an enjoyable issue, and the art was interesting. What you view as “flagrant mistakes” seem to fall more under the heading of “changed premises” and “reinterpretations.” Speaking frankly, nobody was clamoring for a Brother Voodoo series until Bendis revived him, so it’s natural to utilize at least some of Bendis’ take on the character. To say that any book “should never have been published” should probably be saved for the openly horrific books, such as Civil War: The Return, or Jenna Jameson’s Shadow Hunter…

  6. Steven R. Stahl
    October 11, 2009 at 10:08 am — Reply

    Mr. Peterson, if anyone’s reaction to the content of DOCTOR VOODOO is inappropriate, it’s yours. What is someone supposed to do when the premise of a story and, by extension, the series, is mistaken? Just shrug and say, “Oh, well. There aren’t any rules. Remender can write magic and the characters however he likes. . .”

    The onus is on you to find an example of the Eye acting on its own and channeling the Ancient One, as in NEW AVENGERS. Good luck. Conversely, a story by Thomas in DR. STRANGE, SORCERER SUPREME #43 had Agamotto bring Galactus’s ship and its occupants to “his” dimension because Strange was misusing the Eye.

    If voodoo were able to do what Remender had Dr. Voodoo doing with it, then why didn’t writers have Strange turn to it in the context of the War of the Seven Spheres instead of having him use Gaian magic (Quinn) catastrophe magic (Ellis), etc.? It’s probably because nobody considered voodoo relevant to what Strange does. As an amalgam of Christianity and mythology (the loas, etc.), there was no reason to consider it relevant.

    Frankly, you should be embarrassed by resorting to the use of the word “condescending,” instead of doing something as simple as checking the Wikipedia entries for the Vishanti and Agamotto to see if Remender’s use of them was consistent with their histories. Remender deserves some credit for giving Voodoo’s actions a dramatic tone, but that doesn’t mean that what Voodoo did made sense. I was pointing out that the story didn’t and doesn’t make any sense — and throwing out everything I know about the characters and writing fiction to try to make the story acceptable isn’t an option.

    SRS

    • October 11, 2009 at 2:47 pm — Reply

      Frankly, you should be embarrassed by resorting to the use of the word “condescending,” instead of doing something as simple as checking the Wikipedia entries for the Vishanti and Agamotto to see if Remender’s use of them was consistent with their histories.

      And there we have the crux of the matter. You don’t like it because you don’t find it consistent. That is factual. Everything else is smoke and mirrors to make your personal point of view seem more important. With all due respect, this issue is hardly worthy of the scorn you’ve heaped upon it. We’re all passionate about our hobby, but there comes a point where one has to step back and accept that others will disagree with us. I, for my part, can’t understand those who love Wolverine. Either way, every thing that I’ve said in my review stands. Thank you for your feedback.

      I will finish with a word of caution: Your words here are, once again, bordering on personal attack. Please note that all Major Spoilers comments are moderated, and while everyone’s opinions are perfectly welcome here, personal attacks will not be tolerated.

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