Bagged and Boarded Comic Reviews: Witch Doctor, Number 13, and more



New comic book Wednesday has come and gone. The dust at your local comic shop has settled. An eerie silence descends as you finish reading your last superhero book of the week. Now it's time for something a little more sinister. Welcome to Bagged and Boarded: comic reviews of the sick, spooky, twisted and terrifying!

Witch Doctor: Mal Practice No. 4

The good doctor (good in big air quotes, here) has had his spirit ripped from his body and he needs it reattached, quick. Once he's brought to his nemesis (well, one of his many) and revived, it's time to take care of the problem of larvae hiding in his body. Things take a turn for the weird/awesome as he sends his spirit, now tiny-sized, into his bloodstream (and brain!) to find the culprits.

Bag it or board it up? This is some of my favorite type of fiction. I love the "shrink yourself down to microscopic size and enter the bloodstream" motif in science fiction. The Fantastic Voyage was one of the first science fiction stories I encountered. To see it with a supernatural spin on it is really cool. I mean, the guy's using telekinesis to rip apart larvae in his own body!

Number 13 No. 3

In a post-apocalyptic world a plague has ravished humanity. It's turned everyone into either a half-human/half-monster mutant or a carrier for said disease. In the midst of all this chaos, a young boy named Number 13 has been created (yes, engineered) to destroy all the mutant monsters and "save the day." The problem is that not all of these mutant monsters are mean and nasty (in fact, most of them aren't) and Number 13 is beginning to understand this sobering truth.

Bag it or board it up? This comic is a whirlwind of action, violence, strange creatures and moral dilemmas. To add to the confusion of this comic, it's illustrated like Ben 10 or Teen Titans or some other Tween-centric action cartoon. This comic reminds me a lot of the comic Fatima: The Blood Spinners by Gilbert Hernandez, except that Hernandez's illustrations are insane looking, and they match the frenetic nature of his comic. Here, the drawings are bubblegum while the writing is insanity.

Hellraiser: The Dark Watch No. 1

A man has solved the box and awaits his torturous trip to hell with the Cenobites. But… no one comes to greet him! Disappointed, he ventures into hell as the doorway opens to see what's up. Here he sees that all is not as it seems in hell. I don't want to spoil much of this issue, because there are a lot of little surprises for fans of the comic and movies alike, but there are twists upon twists in this opening issue.

Bag it or board it up? So, a problem I normally have with Hellraiser comics is the difficulty of jumping into them. You normally need to know exactly what happened the comic before, where in the continuity you are, etc. With this issue, while there are still some general concepts you should know (like Leviathan and the Labyrinth), and while it wouldn't hurt to have read the comics leading up to this, it does feel like a fresh start. Things are changing. You may not know exactly where everything left off, but this is clearly the start of a big, new story.

B.P.R.D. 1948 No. 5

This issue is the conclusion to this mini-series about a bunch of giant monsters attacking the American Southwest in 1948. The thinkers of the series have intense psychological and philosophical debates over the nature of the beasts. The fighters of the series blow them up with rocket launchers and guns. In this juxtaposed action and inaction, a sense of the small-time/big-repercussions problems really shines through.

Bag it or board it up? By now you should know how I feel about B.P.R.D. comics. Generally speaking: I love them. But this series doesn't quite do it for me the way the Return of the Master series does. The drama is here, but the threat feels small and the characters less interesting. Still, a so-so B.P.R.D. comic is usually leaps and bounds above most of its peers.