Review | Voodoo #1

There's one sure compliment you can give Voodoo: It's pretty to look at. True, that ought to be a given for a visual medium, but there are an awful lot of ugly comics out there. Artist Sami Basri, however, clearly earned all As in anatomy class.

Too bad those beautiful drawings service a boilerplate sci-fi plot from Ron Marz, slathered in sexploitation. This first issue is set in a stripper bar, so I suppose there's at least a better context here for all the T&A than in a few other recent titles. But just for kicks, I counted: 14 pages out of 20 feature the title character (or one of her stripper coworkers) in some stage of undress. And—spoiler alert—that count actually goes up to 15 if we include the page where she shapeshifts into a nearly nude reptilian creature, but you'd have to be pretty kinky to get turned on by that. Still, it's part of a bondage-fueled snuff sequence, so maybe that's the point.

It all might've even worked, if Marz didn't expect us to believe the federal agents tracking Voodoo would behave like morons. The nadir occurs when the male agent explains the (presumed) premise for the series in one of the silliest exposition info-dumps I've read in a long time. Agents always voluntarily tell their suspects exactly what intel they've collected. So the result is some soft-porn horror hybrid, as if the TV show V had been remade for the Playboy Channel. Which means this is another wasted opportunity. If I hadn't read a few really great titles amid these New 52 over the past month, right now I'd be full of despair about the state of mainstream superhero comics.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)