Article by contributor Rob Mellesh
To quote Captain Spaulding “Howdy, folks! You like blood? Violence? Freaks of nature? Well, come on down” to Image Comics’ Witch Doctor and bring a flashlight ‘cause weird shit is about to happen.
This is the second mini series featuring Dr. Vincent Morrow who is fighting the good fight against all the nightmares we think are just fantasy. I’ll be honest, I came into this issue without any idea of who or what was going on and still enjoyed it immensely. Issue five gives you a good sense of what’s been happening in our absence and why we should care right off, and leaves you with a hook that makes you want to come back and see how it all ends. This is how serialized fiction is meant to be done. Brandon Seifert’s script and Lukas Ketner’s art do it in macabre style.
Seifert creates well rounded characters through subtly in actions and choice of dialogue, and lets the reader see their flaws and vulnerabilities. The characters of Witch Doctor never feel overpowered, the tension seems very palpable and ordinary people react realistically to extraordinary circumstance. Ketner’s art becomes the perfect enhancement to the script. The characters all have different builds and body language, showing the personality of each. For example, when things aren’t going the good doctor’s way, Ketner draws him shoulders rolled forward, tucking his chin into his chest. Visually, this gives Dr. Morrow the appearance of a petulant child, and without any dialogue you can see he’s upset and this is how he reacts.
Ketner also has a good attention to detail with his backgrounds; it’s the random garbage and stains in the drywall that make an abandoned house fell more realized. His framing and point of view is very traditional comic book style artwork. I would like to see Ketner take some risks with his camera angles and framework to develop his own signature style.
Witch Doctor is tied to Robert Kirkman of Walking Dead under the Image umbrella. Unless you’re a naked native of the Outback I know you’ve at least heard of The Walking Dead. Theirs is the comic to television success story that all others will be measured by. I think Witch Doctor can make that jump just a successfully, but it will take the fans to make it happen.