Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child #1 - 3

Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child
Writer - Selwyn Seyfu Hinds
Penciller - Denys Cowan
Cover - Rafael Grampa & Dave Stewart
Inker - John Floyd
Publisher - Vertigo

Another new title from Vertigo, one that I have put off reading until I had a few issues in hand, as I had heard mixed reviews of the first instalment and wanted to base my judgement on something more meaty.

Having said that, I am still undecided on whether this title is for me or not. While I like the concept - having chosen to write a dissertation on voodoo in New Orleans whilst at university - I can't help but feel that they are trying to fit too much in too small a space. A number of the references to slightly obscure areas of the religion are fine by me [see earlier comment about studying] but I would imagine they would bypass the average reader, and simply confuse the storyline.

The basic concept - descendent of voodoo queen unaware of her ancestry but at risk from numerous others who know of her bloodline - seems like an over-used trope from bad pulp fiction, and sadly the first three issues don't seem to be adding much. We have a "love interest" who seems a bit trigger-happy, a mysterious, shadowed character known only by a pseudonym, a 'strong' woman acting like a bitch because she's scared of losing her power, etc etc. It's all been done before, often better.

The occasional narrator also makes me feel uneasy - which can never be a good thing. At times the voice is written in what I can only assume [having never visited] is supposed to be a New Orleans accent, but being from the south coast of England, it loses something in translation. On top of that, I can't decide if s/he is going to emerge as an established character, or if the musical references and insider knowledge are simply there to move the plot on.

The artistry and colouring themselves are committed well, with a nice differentiation between different areas of town, but there is nothing inherently gripping that made me finish issue 3 and wish I could pick up 4 straight away. 

I just can't get past the feeling that the creators here have been too ambitious, and have maybe bitten off more than they can chew, which is a shame. Here's hoping the next issue meets my expectations slightly better.

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