As fans and appreciators of the graphic arts it’s important for all of us to keep searching out the smart, fun and new works available to us. Everyone at one point laments the lack of new ideas, I remember the last time I did. Right before I saw Shaun of the Dead I actually said to someone “All the great ideas are done. Cinema is dead.” (PROTIP: it’s only ok to sound like that much of an asshole while you’re on the good side of 25, if you still say things like that when you’re 30 you’re a dick) That’s what I love about Witch Doctor, it’s the blood and guts reminder that genre is only as dead as you want it to be. And no one is dying on this doctor’s watch! Well that’s not true, but if I don’t work in some hammy medical sounding lines I feel like I’m failings an Internet comics reviewer.
This issue, the last in the series is satisfying on every level especially to those fans who were saddened by the lack of Penny action during the last few issues. Penny is back and in flawlessly deranged form. Ketner does some of the best work of the series as his monsters ooze, bleed and scream right off the page. Gast pulls a classic Sam & Dean Winchester move, but instead of zapping an angel, summons fan favorites (I’m assuming) the Surgeons! Morrow gets his big showdown at the Arkham Reservoir and it ends as it only could end, with sword fighting and water sports.
Seifert effortlessly melds comedy, drama, mystery and horror in a way where the reader never feels pandered to. It doesn’t feel like a paycheck, a TV show waiting to happen, or an excuse to make new tee shirts. The story defies convention and stereotype right to the very end, with characters behaving like they are practically self aware in a satisfying Venture Brothers like way. In the end though new mysteries are revealed and old mysteries are…well also revealed. It’s hard to write in a suspenseful voice all the time.
The lingering look from Morrow, what he spies in his book, is chilling. Beautifully illustrating the power you can pack when you get the audience to let their guard down, the true disarming wonder of comedy. You cheer Morrow on as he behaves like Spider Jerusalem’s boogeyman great grandfather, and in that, in between flirting and buddy cop moments, we forget that something truly dark is underneath Arkham. And while Morrow might put his best face on, his destiny is tied up in something truly frightening. In the back pages I didn’t see mention of a third volume, but it’s out there, creeping in the dark, slouching toward Oregon waiting to be born