I’ve been enjoying Voodoo for the most part. And I feel the same way about the New 52 in general. Sure, they each have their problems – Voodoo danced (unsatisfactorily, so far) with some tricky sexual politics; the New 52 has had some major writing shake-ups and PR slip-ups – but they started off as ambitious, interesting ideas, something unpredictable in a market that desperately loves the smell of stagnation. But lately, I’ve been having trouble with both as their flaws became more and more evident. What does that mean for Voodoo #5?
Earlier this week, John Rozum posted an absolutely fascinating article about his time with Static Shock. In it, he talks about how artist Scott McDaniel’s love of ‘spectacle storytelling’ led to livening up dull comics with ill-advised decisions like a pointless clone subplot. I bring this up because Rozum’s treatment seems similar (though far harsher) to that of Ron Marz, who was dismissed without explanation from a book that experienced heavy editorial oversight. His replacement, Josh Williamson, entered the book with issue #5, and his first major creative choice is… a clone subplot.
Now, it’s entirely possible that the clone subplot was Marz’s idea. His run on Voodoo thus far has hardly been flawless. And I’m not really faulting the editorial process here – editors are necessary and, in general, tend to be pretty darn good at their jobs, especially at Marvel and DC. They can and should fire anyone who isn’t working well on a title. The worry here is that Voodoo, which had a surprisingly subtle first issue, is tossing what made it work out the window in favor of more ‘spectacle’ (which this issue undeniably does). Because I can’t think of anything that would kill my interest in the book faster.
Not all is grim, of course. Sami Basri’s art is still top notch, smooth and crisp, though I think he’s better suited to the slower, shiftier series of the first couple issues; Voodoo’s fight with a Daemonite traitor had some neat images, but it’s a very static fight scene, with no sense of movement or action in the panels. And Voodoo remains a conceptually compelling book – the idea of following a shapeshifting alien spy running rampant in the new DC Universe is a profoundly cool one, and I still have hopes that Josh Williamson can live up to the book’s promise. But this was still a profoundly disappointing issue of an otherwise mostly enjoyable series.