Overview

Witch Doctor: Mal Practice #1

Review

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Witch Doctor: Mal Practice #1

Credits

  • Words: Brandon Seifert
  • Art: Lukas Ketner
  • Colors: Andy Troy
  • Publisher: Skybound Entertainment
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Nov 28, 2012

Dr. Vincent Morrow returns with another creep-filled romp through the esoteric field of occult medicine.

2011’s Eisner-nominated cult hit Witch Doctor returns this week with a new terrifying diagnosis for a rather unexpected patient. Highly anticipated since Halloween, Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner’s sophomore outing under Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment imprint, ups the ante for occult MD Dr. Vincent Morrow, as he finds himself the target of a supernatural assassination attempt.

One of the most acclaimed and accomplished debuts in years, the first volume of Witch Doctor blew fans away with its original concept, quirky characters, and a lush, timeless visual style reminiscent of classic horror comics of the 1970s. Seifert’s sharp dialogue and spot-on character development, combined with Ketner’s stylish, robust visuals left bewildered fans panting for more and wondering just where in Hades these two upstarts came from. With Mal Practice #1 both creators solidify their places amongst an elite group of up-and-coming comics talents that includes hot commodities such as Joe Keatinge, Cullen Bunn, Mitch Gerads, and Nick Pitarra just to name a few.

Having set the bar so high in their stunning debut, Seifert and Ketner so far succeed in rising to the challenge of further developing Witch Doctor’s cast, while elevating the tension, suspense, and sardonic repartee to the next level. More immediate danger equals increased risk and a more relevant, resonating central conflict, with Dr. Morrow’s own life hanging in the balance as he desperately attempts to unravel the mystery of his own occult illness.

Seifert deftly plays his cast off each other, with paramedic Eric Gast and the ghoulish Penny Dreadful proving to be perfect foils for the good doctor’s well-meaning yet rampaging ego. Both Gast and Penny are more than mere supporting cast members, though. Rather, each one acts as an extension of Morrow’s own flawed make-up, filling gaps in his physical and occult prowess as necessary.

Lukas Ketner’s artwork continues to horrify and delight in roughly equal measures. Each panel is crafted with an obsessive attention to detail, showcasing an intuitive understanding of page design and visual storytelling. Nothing feels muddied or confusing; transitions flow fluidly from page to page and each image is layered with texture and a real weight that brings the book’s cast alive. Evoking such greats as Bernie Wrightson and Neal Adams, Ketner’s work is some of the most thrilling, well-crafted visual storytelling on the shelves today. His covers are brilliant, genuinely servicing the story while invariably drawing the eye away from the competition, bringing to mind the craftsmanship of Brian Bolland or Ethan Van Sciver.

In reviews of Witch Doctor’s first volume, I gushed over the potential of both the property and its creators. With Mal Practice #1, Seifert and Ketner turn in another brilliant masterpiece of occult medical comedy-drama that only validates my initial prognosis. Genre-bending, hilarious, and often down-right disturbing, the (Witch) Doctor is definitely in, just in time for the holidays.

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