Leave your preconceived notions at the door and enter freely and unafraid. I did just that, although I must admit it was hard to ignore the similarities in appearance between the titular character of this title and Baron Winters of “Night Force” fame, the mental image conjured by the term “Witch Doctor,” and the immediate comparisons that spring to mind once I read the words “demonic possession.” I even bypassed the accompanying text that claimed Warren Ellis had dubbed this tale, “Mental.”
I sat down and I read. I read and I enjoyed. I found myself thinking that I have been really lucky to find mystical comics that I dared sample yet really enjoyed, as I have with this book and with “Hexed” from BOOM! some time back.
This book doesn’t try to be Doctors Fate or Strange. It doesn’t try to be Phantom Stranger or Brother Voodoo. It simply tries to be an original story about the creepy corners of comics that comic book readers so frequently ask to visit, but never really get to see.
The protagonist of the story is Dr. Vincent Morrow, a “cunning man” as he prefers to label himself. We meet Morrow as he is en route to exorcise a demon from a boy. That encounter introduces us to Morrow’s world including his assistants Eric Gast and Penny Dreadful, and his base of operations, Stonebride Mental Hospital.
Brandon Seifert’s story is strong and confident, inviting readers to settle in for an appointment of world-building and character-defining. Seifert delivers the requisite comic book magic mumbo-jumbo and comic science fiction, but the accompanying art by Lukas Ketner makes it all seem new and bold. Sunny Gho jumps in to round out the creative team and brighten up the pages making this story a robust visual spectacle.
“Witch Doctor” offers readers a refreshing comic that is not tied to events or relaunches, nor is this book padded to fill out a presumed collected edition. This is a straight-forward magical story that appears to be done in one, but leaves plenty of reason for the character, the creative team, and especially the reader to come back for more. I certainly will.