Uncomfortable Examination: Witch Doctor: The Resuscitation Review

EDITOR’S NOTE: This review may contain spoilers. Hey, it’s not my fault that all the best, most quotable lines give away the plot. Blame the writer. Clearly he’s an asshole.

Don’t mock my faith!

Your god has no junk.

Yeah, Image is gonna get some angry letters about this one, Angry, poorly spelled letters with threats of “deevine retrobyushun.” Because for good or ill, writer Brandon Seifert makes some broad generalizations about the nature of deities – at least in the world of Witch Doctor – of the kind that some lead people to make “God Hates Fags” placards, and other people to begin to suspect, or at least hope, that Seifert is right.

My point is that, if you have the right mean and sick sense of humor, Witch Doctor: The Resuscitation is a comic well worth picking up, particularly if you missed the original miniseries and don’t want to risk fifteen clams on the recent trade without getting a taste first. Not sure if you have the right sense of humor? Okay: what was the last thing to go through Princess Diana’s mind? The steering column! Didja smile at that? Then you should buy this book. If you didn’t? Not only is this the wrong comic for you, it’s the wrong comics Web site.

The nuts and bolts are, a dude wakes up in a bathtub full of ice and an incision in his side with a post-it note stuck to his forehead. Being a guy who knows how to spell Snopes, he goes to the emergency room and finds out (Nun-dun-dunnnn!) he still has both kidneys. Or at least, he has two kidneys. But one looks weird on the MRI, and is incision is already healed, and he has no drugs in his system. Enter Dr. Vincent Morrow.

This one-shot takes place after the events of the first mini, but you don’t need to know what happened in that one to get into this issue. Seifert does an adequate job bringing new readers up to speed on who the doctor is and is assistants are… which is the only complaint I really have about this book. The sequence where they introduce themselves to the patient (Who isn’t given a name in the story, which means that it’s really “Maguffin”) is a little on-the-nose as obvious exposition. It took me a little out of the story, but then again, I know who these people are. If you don’t, you’ll probably be glad the sequence is there.

The art by Lukas Ketner is still spot-on for this comic. It’s finely inked with what looks like painted coloring, with a metric buttload of background detail to set the mood (Apparently everything in the Witch Doctor universe is of Victorian design and architecture. So stab the next steampunk kid you see – he’s obviously a potential vampire). Ketner does a monster like nobody’s business, the downside being that the Big Bad in this issue is a pretty conventional, classic monster. So while it’s a pretty good rendition, it’s still a little disappointing after seeing the weird shit he came up with in the first miniseries. Still and all, it’s good horror art. I doubt we’ll ever see his name on a Spider-Man book, but it serves Witch Doctor well.

As in the miniseries, if you take a step back and think about what you’re reading for more than ten or fifteen seconds, you’ll realize it amounts to: what if Dr. Gregory House was a Ghostbuster? If you allow yourself to think about that too much, it might be a problem – a book that wears its influences on its sleeve runs the risk of looking derivative. To that I can only respond: so what? It certainly isn’t a ripoff – I’ve watched every episode of House, and I’ve never seen him threaten to stab a god in the balls – and if you look hard enough, you can see the influences behind anything. Superman is Moses with heat vision and a cape. The Hulk is Mr. Hyde with purple pants. Shatterstar is Wolverine with a taste for dick.

But if you can avoid getting yourself distracted by the book’s influences, you’ll find yourself one of the most fun books on the stands. And at 22 pages for three clams, you owe it to yourself to give it a shot. Call it a New Year’s Resolution – not as good a resolution as mine to find more situations to shoot my way out of, but a decent one nonetheless.