Review: ‘Witch Doctor: Mal Practice’ #2

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Witch Doctor: Mal Practice #2 delivers a highly imaginative mix of comedy and scares. Brandon Seifert’s writing is spot-on when it comes to black humor and Lukas Ketner knocks it out of the park with his creepy imagery. This is a medical drama with a cool supernatural twist.

WRITTEN BY: Brandon Seifert
ART BY: Lukas Ketner
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: December 19th, 2012

Dr. Vincent Morrow is on a mission to protect the earth from supernatural diseases. In order to examine this sick world, he has to treat the illnesses with every tool, whether they be medical or magical. With Penny and Eric Gast by his side, Morrow has a caseload of patients to keep him occupied. But now, it is Dr. Morrow who needs someone else to diagnose him, because he suddenly feels ill and pale. With no memory of what happened or who he was with the night before, Dr. Morrow wonders what kind of deadly virus is living inside of him, invading his internal organs.

After establishing the relationship of his three protagonists and the medical/supernatural world they live in, Seifert continues to focus on the character dynamics between Morrow and his medical team. The best part, Eric hasn’t reverted back to being the punch line of Morrow’s jokes and is still the action hero. Before, Dr. Morrow always focused on the patient and solving the case as a disease detective. Now, readers get to see what Morrow’s life is like when he is outside the office.

Since the infection, Vincent surprisingly makes foolish mistakes, which goes against his smart-aleck personality. Without his sword and medical bag, Vincent is quite unprepared when he confronts a deadly trio of demons. Seifert examines the relationship between Vincent and Eric, as they become more than boss/co-worker. Seifert hints that Vincent is slowly falling apart, and might possibly need Eric to save him. Because she turned out to be a pivotal player in the previous issue, it seems odd that Penny is missing from the issue.

Ketner does impressive character designs with The Surgeons, a trio of demonic practitioners who use medicine as torture devices. Ketner borrows a lot of elements from the Hellraiser movies, especially with the body horror. The leader of the trio has needles for fingers, which is creepier than Edward Scissorhands. The third Surgeon wears a gas mask and he wants his victims to breathe his foul and unnatural air. Though readers just get a glimpse of the trio, this is a great addition to the story arc and I look forward to how Ketner/Seifert use these characters in action.

Ketner knows how to highlight Seifert’s witty humor with his exaggerated facial expressions. Just as the suspense builds, Vincent and Morrow make these cartoonish reactions, bringing out the slapstick comedy. At the Red Market, Vincent and Eric unexpectedly find themselves investigating a dead body. What I really liked is how Ketner plays around with the shadows and just uses the light source from Vincent’s flashlight. At the Red Market, look for Popeye’s decapitated head and see if you can spot Freddy Krueger amongst the crowds.

“Witch Doctor: Mal Practice” #2 is a whole lot of fun.

4/5 Skulls

Reviewed by Jorge Solis