One of the big arguments to come out of the New 52 was DC’s portrayal of women, spurred on by books like Catwoman and Red Hood and the Outlaws. Various contributors here at read/RANT had fairly different opinions on those two, which led to at least one friendly argument. But, coming at the tail end of the New 52 (and after the controversy mostly blew over) came Voodoo, a book reviewer ‘lebeau’ (who also defended Catwoman and Red Hood) claimed had “more T&A than both those books combined. And I liked it too.” And yet, unlike the previous week’s releases, people couldn’t seem to muster up much outrage for Voodoo, because… well, because it was honestly pretty darn good. Voodoo #2 has a fair bit of skin on display as well, though nowhere near as much, and while there’s plenty to be disgusted and offended by, it continued the trend of being a darn enjoyable spy thriller.
Priscilla Kitaen, we learned last week, was a stripper. Scratch that, she was a secret agent of some sort. No, wait – she was an alien agent, a shapeshifting telepath working at a strip club near a military base to learn our secrets from her diverse patron base. Here, she should be on the run, but instead she’s sticking around New Orleans, staying close to her hunters in an attempt to find out what they know and what they intend for her. Unfortunately, they catch on, forcing her to pick her fights as she tries to escape.
Priscilla is already fairly well-characterized: unlike most reckless, charming comic book spies, Voodoo is patient, thoughtful and quietly confident. The book is patient, too. The opening issue was a master-class in misdirection, a titillation grounded in character and designed to lull us into a false sense of security – you know exactly what kind of book you’re reading, and you get angrier (or, for some readers, hornier) and angrier as you read… until, all the sudden, the carpet is pulled out from under you. It’s a trick you can only play once, but Marz played it well.
This issue, to its credit, doesn’t try to repeat it. It’s a dark issue, though. Voodoo sleeps with Agent Fallon in her now-deceased lover’s body, effectively raping her, before going on the run. She learns a lot about the people hunting her, but she also makes a lifelong nemesis out of Fallon – not to mention the fact that she violates someone who is, by all accounts, a perfectly good woman. Priscilla is a woman with drive, and she’s not about to let anything get in the way of her mission. This makes her a prickly character, easy to dislike, but Marz does a good job at making her seem largely sympathetic, aided in large part by the relaxed, innocent look artists Sami Basri and Hendry Prasetya give her. I’m still not sure how long Marz can keep this balancing act, but I’m excited to see him try.
– Cal C.