Or – “The Most Unlikely Relaunch Title, Even Moreso Than Grifter…”

I’ll say this for the relaunch:  They certainly seem to be willing to take chances as well as ready to try and bring back all manner of readers with the depth and breadth of their titles.  Most interestingly for me is the fact that there are THREE Wildstorm titles (which is to say, three former 1990’s Image titles) in play out of 52 books.  Stormwatch was mostly okay, Grifter was quite drab, and now we see the former WildCAT called Voodoo take her place in the spotlight…  But will her feature dance please the crowd?

(On an unrelated note: I defy any of you to say “New Fifty-Two Voodoo Review” ten times in a row without smiling.  It’s physically impossible, I tell you!)

Writer: Ron Marz
Artist: Sami Basri
Colorist: Jessica Kholinne
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Brian Cunningham
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in Voodoo:  Priscilla Kitaen was an exotic dancer who always had a weird touch of what Scatman Crothers would call  “The Shining.”  She had strange intuitions and visions, and even kept seeing some people as inhuman monsters.  A chance encounter with a super-team called the WildCATs drew her into a the life of a superhero, and she developed more powers, all seemingly related to an alien race called the Daemonites.  Why would an unassuming young lady like Pris have all this strange abilities?  Why, because she herself has Daemonite heritage, making her an alien/human hybrid and a serious wild card in the world of the super-dupers.  Where will the new 52 find Voodoo?


Okay, we’re going to start with full disclosure (you should excuse the expression) and discuss the opening splash page:  Voodoo, on her knees in a rain of bills, working the floor at a strip club.  If you’re already up in arms about the portrayals of women in ‘Red Hood & The Outlaws‘ and ‘Catwoman‘ last week, this is probably not the place to go for redemption.  Two things make this issue feel different (at least for me, your mileage is bound to vary):  First, Voodoo was established as being an exotic dancer in her very first appearances, and second, while the character is overtly sexy in the way she is drawn, she is not interested in banging every man within arms reach.  In fact, as we go through the issue, we find Voodoo to be withdrawn from men, women and children alike, and there is a particularly charming conversation halfway through the issue wherein one of her fellow dancers asks her to babysit as a favor, only to get a puzzling and creepy response.  There’s something OFF about Voodoo, something just not right, and giving the character a super-hot facade helps to make that fundamental imbalance a little more pronounced, amplifying the gap between how she LOOKS and how she acts.


There’s danger afoot, with a couple of mysterious secret agent types watching her dance, and I have to admit I got a little kick out of seeing the female secret agent wipe the floor with several teenaged tough-guy wannabees.  (If you remember the old-school Jim Lee titles, you’ll know why it’s important that the woman’s lighter says “Black Razors.”)  There is a heaping helping of “New DC Moral Ambiguity” at play here as well, as the male agent is perfectly willing to pay Voodoo for a personal dance (which is probably quite illegal) and even threaten her to get what he wants.  The downsides of the issue are that the “what he wants” is a big mystery, and the reveal that Priscilla is a shape-shifting alien thing was somewhat telegraphed by the cover.  Sami Basri does some beautiful work in this issue, the same soft-edged, soft-palette texture work that the artist (I don’t know Sami’s gender) did on Power Girl.  It’s a nice issue to look at, and it’s worth nothing that even when the main character is half-naked, it never feels as skeevy as Starfire’s scenes in Red Hood #1.


I predict more backlash about the unbalanced female portrayals in the New 52 about this book, but the climax of the issue makes it clear:  This is NOT a female, and not even a human being we’re dealing with, and whatever her motives are, it’s not about jumping former teen sidekicks.  Overall, this is a pleasant surprise of an issue for me, as Ron Marz takes some familiar bits (the tough-girl agent paired with the chauvanist pig agent, the “Species” bit about a monstrous creature passing itself off as an irresistable human) and adds just enough color and character for me to want more.  Basri’s subdued and tasteful art certainly helps in that regard, as this same story drawn by another artist could easily have been vulgar.  (I won’t name names, but a quick scan of comic racks will easily show you what I mean.)  There’s a sense of menace that helps to overcome the vagueness of plot, and Voodoo herself is a confident, if somewhat murderous, character who ends the issue in a position I NEVER expected.  (Minds out of the gutter, folks.)  I was initially wary of what Voodoo #1 would have to offer, but found it to be better than anticipated, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  I’ve never been a fan of Voodoo or her old teammates, but this one has me sticking around for at least the first arc, which should be testament enough…

Rating: ★★★½☆

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day:  Do you think the proliferation of relaunched Wildstorm books to please the Wildstorm fans, or is it to please Wildstorm owner/DC Executive Poobah Jim Lee?

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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  1. Newcomicfan
    September 29, 2011 at 1:32 pm — Reply

    this month ive seen these characters in various forms of undress or worse:
    wonder woman
    im going to count the cover of suicide squad for harley quinn.

    im surprised the mystery woman hasnt had a sex scene at this point.
    i understand that the majority of readers are male. but when every female character has the same unrealistic figure wrapped in skin tight costume do we really have to see them naked? i know i know voodoo is new and a hideous alien ok. but when i opened the book my first reaction was “here we go again.”
    i wanted to get my fiance to start reading comics and was going to use the new 52 as a good way to get her into it. i took a previews home and listed them off and asked what she would be interested in reading. she told me batwoman, supergirl, wonderwoman, and catwoman. i suppose it was a mistake to pass her catwoman first without having read it myself when she finally got around to reading some.
    im having a hard time convincing her to read another. and now when i read any book with a woman on the cover she gives me a look.

    • September 29, 2011 at 4:10 pm — Reply

      I do think you should have screened the books first, but it’s still closed-minded of her to form an opinion because of one title. At least to me it feels this way. I’ve read Wonder Woman and the nudity and undress there didn’t strike me a cheesecake. Not everybody wears PJ’s to bed, you know.

      • Kevin
        September 30, 2011 at 12:25 am — Reply

        I can’t say it’s completely close-minded of her in this case. Comics in general are marketed as part of one big universe, when even western titles tie into superhero ones. This is especially true with the DC relaunch. It implies one vision, one editorial direction, one mindset. That would give a new reader the right to assume that the same attitude toward women would apply to all DC’s new books.

      • litanyofthieves
        October 5, 2011 at 9:20 pm — Reply

        Just because the nudity and undress didn’t strike you as cheesecake doesn’t mean the same is going to go for everyone. Comic books are especially full of women in tiny and skin tight outfits, so I think comic book fans don’t realize just how strange it is to non-comic readers. And just because people don’t wear PJs to bed doesn’t mean they want to walk around all day in skintight leather.

    • September 29, 2011 at 7:11 pm — Reply

      Also worth noting: I’ve been married a long time, and multiple attempts to get my wife to enjoy comics have met with utter failure, and were a bone of contention at one point. It can be kind of okay if she doesn’t enjoy your hobby…

      • Noobian74
        September 30, 2011 at 8:49 am — Reply

        Mr. Peterson, I got my wife into some comics (ex: Chew, Irredeemable, Incorruptable, etc.) and she loves them. Granted, she told me she’s not interested in many of the female superheroes because they’re not “bad-ass” enough.

    • September 30, 2011 at 7:02 am — Reply

      Sad she didn’t see Batwoman, Supergirl or Wonder Woman first, those were actually pretty good, even though all but Supergirl had the characters in states of undress, it was plot and character driven in those.

  2. Jason Smith
    September 29, 2011 at 2:20 pm — Reply

    My biggest problem with this comic is there is really no reason for her to be a stripper (in the context of this comic) than there is for her to be say a waitress except that.. she’s naked a lot. It’s clearly “built in” cheesecake to make the story “OK”. and that BOTHERS me. The majority of the story takes place in the strip club with women stripping or in various state of undress. It felt contrived for the sole purpose of getting characters naked. There really wasn’t a REASON for her to be a stripper. We get no sense of WHY she’s a stripper except supposedly to “learn about men”, but she’s a shape shifting alien-thing, so she could have done any number of things to learn about men. I see no reason to even get attached to this character since we know nothing about her except now that she’s a cold blooded killer and maybe the villain of the story.

    Over all though, I’m just not sure this is the KIND of title we need for women and I’m feeling that the new DCU is VERY alien heavy. A good percentage of the titles deal with aliens in some way. It’s become a tad heavy for my tastes and it doesn’t speak of a real different direction. I think they could have done more and maybe it would have been more interesting if Voodoo had had some sort of mystical or unexplained powers, not shape shifting alien.

    • fire hazard
      September 29, 2011 at 5:35 pm — Reply

      I believe the reasoning behind the stripper part of story is to tie it back into what is previously known about her. This way ols fans of this character dont feel alienated. (no pun intended). I personaly enjoyed this issue and will be picking up the second issue to see what is going on.

    • Damascus
      October 26, 2011 at 4:51 am — Reply

      She explained that she was there to learn about people, men especially and that their defenses were down out there while they’re looking at her body. The male agent says that they believe that she is a shape-shifting alien with some form of telepathic abilities (which are proven when she sees the visual image he’s projecting while talking about her being dissected) and that he thinks she’s there to harvest information from military personnel from the nearby base. To me, that explained exactly why she was a stripper in the context of this story. It actually took something that was a little silly about the characters’ original incarnation and gave it a plausible reasoning. Plus, it sounds like you think this character is some all-new creation for the DC New 52, but it’s a character that has been around for almost two decades, give or take a year, so they aren’t likely to completely change what the character is and change her/his/it’s alien heritage.

  3. Seneca
    September 29, 2011 at 3:29 pm — Reply

    I want to see the Wildcats get thier own comic in the DCU.

  4. Russ Catt
    September 29, 2011 at 4:16 pm — Reply

    Personally, I feel this issue was one of the more successful “New 52” titles.
    Overt hyper-sexuality aside, this title gave me interesting characters, a good hook and a decent twist.
    I’ve never heard of Voodoo before this issue and I initially thought she was a rogue green martian (a la Brightest Day.)

    This book gave me a strong case to pick up issue 2.

  5. September 29, 2011 at 6:23 pm — Reply

    The litmus test for the new 52 for me is re-readability. Trying to remain completely digital, I don’t have the advantage of reading through the entire issue before deciding to buy. There was something clean and elegant about the art that was enough to draw me in. The story piqued my interest, particularly as I misinterpreted the final panels and believed she was being followed by the man as she left the club.
    Voodoo has always been a cheesecake character. While that could be argued for all the Image females in the 90s, Voodoo was one of the few that turned the subtext into text.
    It didn’t bother me at there was no explanation for why she was an exotic dancer, I took it as read. Just as I do with various other characters with strange occupations (ie… virtually every superhero that doesn’t explain their backstory in every issue). For me, where they start is only relevant at the end of the story so I can see how far they have come. At the beginning it’s just one of those base assumptions you need to agree on otherwise you get nowhere.
    I liked Voodoo, it’ll be one of the few titles I’ll continue to collect.

    • September 29, 2011 at 6:42 pm — Reply

      It didn’t bother me at there was no explanation for why she was an exotic dancer, I took it as read.

      It might be significant that she quits her stripping gig in this issue…

      • darklighter1
        October 1, 2011 at 10:44 pm — Reply

        Have you sen the cash those girls make?!?!? No explanation required..

  6. Mirabai
    September 29, 2011 at 8:30 pm — Reply

    I get the reasons why fans have been upset over some of the portrayals of women in this new 52. This was not one of those times. I was pleasantly surprised, I thought Voodoo was going to suck so I’m having high hopes for this comic.

  7. Mark
    September 29, 2011 at 10:20 pm — Reply

    I’ve never heard of Voodoo either. This issue did a good job of introducing the character, setting up some intrigue, and drawing me into the next issue. :)

  8. bigez
    September 30, 2011 at 12:23 am — Reply

    Not being a huge fan of Wildstorm universe, I was expecting this the be the worst of the bunch in the NDCU and was quite surprised. Definitely better than Grifter and a toss up with Stormwatch. I was sure this was going to a one then gone purchase, but might stick around at least for the next couple of issues, which was more than I planned to do on Tuesday.

  9. September 30, 2011 at 7:09 am — Reply

    Not as bad as i was expecting, but far from anything that would drive me to be excited for the next issue. (for the record, i’m buying every one of the new 52 for three issues, then deciding which to ditch, and yes, it’s getting pricey but it is interesting so far)
    One thing i’m getting tired of is how most, and the Wildstorm ones seem to be the worst offenders, is the “Bad guy as main character” who kills left and right, has no real appeal to me, and the side characters seem more well rounded, even if they are the antagonist of the book. I found the shape shifter character as bland as could be, but was actually interested in the woman who left the club and her partner, although only one made it through.

  10. Noobian74
    September 30, 2011 at 9:03 am — Reply

    If they were going to integrate the Wildstorm Universe into DC, I think they could’ve chosen different ones. I’ll allow Stormwatch, but if WildCATS was in the mix, it would’ve been a nice contrast to the other team books. Grifter in a solo series? Nah. If anyone from there should’ve had their own series, it should’ve been Jack Hawksmoor, the guy from The Authority that was linked to cities.

    • Damascus
      October 26, 2011 at 4:55 am — Reply

      I think Grifter, if written well, could’ve played very well. Was it written well, not even a little. I guess I just like that whole “They Live” vibe and was really hoping he could hold his own. Looks like I have to get used to disappointment.

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