Written by Brett Reistroffer
Witch Doctor: Mal Practice #1 (Image) – It’s been a little while since we’ve been treated to the good doctor in Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner’s supernatural medical drama, so I’m glad we get not only get treated to a new series this week, but the beginning of a six-issue story arc, rather than a self-contained single issue story. Not that the format the boys were using up until now was unfavorable by any means, it worked great, but Witch Doctor is a world that could easily accommodate a more long-form, fleshed out story. The regular gang is here, Penny, Eric, and Dr. Marrow, taking care of business as usual (diagnosing, operating, exorcising, and spell casting), and while the issue starts off in ordinary fashion, or at least ordinary for this book, the focus shifts from supernaturally vexed patients to the arcane physician himself. It’s a good start to a new volume, showcasing a pinch of just about everything that made the series what it is; supernatural horror, snarky banter, comedic interchanges between the prime cast members, and a decent helping of creaturely action. And of course, since this is a multi-issue arc now, it leaves off on an appropriately hangey cliff hanger that sets up the book’s namesake in an interesting conundrum. This is an obvious pull for any fan of the title thus far, though if you’re just coming into it you may want to read the first volume and probably the one-shot that came afterwards, but it remains to be seen just how necessary that will be. Either way, pick it up, you won’t be disappointed.
R.I.P.D. #1 (Dark Horse) – As a lead up to next year’s blockbuster, Dark Horse is resurrecting the series R.I.P.D. series to act as a prequel starting this week. For those not familiar with the original’s premise, it’s a story about a freshly dead cop recruited into the Rest In Peace Department, a supernatural agency that makes sure the dead go where they’re supposed to, signing a hundred year contract in exchange to find and deal with his own killer. He is partnered with a grizzled veteran of the department, who is actually the focus of this series’ beginning. The debut issue starts off while the two are on a mission, and soon morphs into a related flashback origin story for the gun slinging old-timer, while also serving as a decent introduction to the agency itself and what its functions exactly are. The book is pretty interesting and it’s cool to see the world of R.I.P.D. illustrated by a new artist, especially since I was a little apprehensive of Tony Parker as the penciler (from past experience with his plastic, expressionless character rendering), but if this book teaches you anything it’s the under appreciated worth of a good colorist. Whether you want a head start on next year’s movie, want to see an update to Peter Lenkov’s original volume, or are just completely new to the title, go ahead and check it out, for supernatural action it should scratch your itch.
Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi – Prisoner of Bogan #1 (Dark Horse) – Earlier this year, Dark Horse treated us to a waaaay back origin story of the Jedi order with Force Storm, and now we get the continuation of that series with The Prisoner of Bogan. The first issue of the new five-parter picks up right where we left off with Xesh, force hound of the Rakata, exiled by the Je’daii masters to Tython’s moon, Bogan. There, he comes across another outcast, exiled for a mad vision that may be connected to the appearance of Xesh. Some of the issue is devoted to a sort of recap of the Force Storm volume, so as far as developments go not a great deal happens right off the bat, but we do learn in the first few pages that another force hound, one of Xesh’s own brood-mates is sent by her Rakatan master to track him down. I like the series for a couple reasons (outside of the fact that I’m a Star Wars junkie…). First of all, I have wanted a Jedi origin series for a while because I’ve always found the pre-New Hope eras of the Star Wars canon to have a much richer and broader history, and a look back at the Je’daii order and the Infinite Empire is pretty much as far back as you can go. Secondly, it’s an interesting script with good art, plain and simple. John Ostrander has been penning great SW books for a while now and Jan Duursema’s pencils work great with the world of force users and lightsabers. If you missed the first volume of Dawn of the Jedi, you might want to do some back-reading, as this is a direct continuation of it, and once you’ve caught up you can jump straight into this, so pick it up geeks!
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #1 (IDW) – Why am I reviewing a My Little Pony comic? I have no fu@*ing clue. I’m not one to be mesmerized by the unbelievable cuteness of sparkly eyed magically anthropomorphized farm animals, I don’t have an insatiable sweet tooth for brain-searingly bright candy colored hues, and I am certainly not a ‘brony’ (really guys, I know any good pop culture fad requires a little forsaking of dignity, but really. No, really…). Is it cute? Sure. Is it overbearingly colorful? Most definitely. Will it appeal to the somewhat mentally fragile horde of pony cartoon lovers out there who have been eating this shiny Technicolor acid-trip-for-kids up for years. Without a doubt. The book embodies everything that makes the Saturday morning sensation what it is, and as to whether that is a good thing or not, I have no friggin’ idea. It’s as cute and whimsical as it ever is, with ample supply of simple, slap-stick comedy, and those moments of somehow slightly unnerving creepiness that always manage to creep up in the series (or is that just me?). Basically two things about this book: 1) If you like the series, you will like this comic, and 2) If you like the series and are over the age of, say, not being able to communicate with language, get help. Please, it’s scary.