Rude Chapbooks 01.02.12 | Paging Dr. Morrow, Not Dr. Moe

In Witch Doctor: The Resuscitation, writer Brandon Seifert and artist Lukas Ketner delightfully continue the exploits of their white-clad medico toting the gladstone packed with black magic. Also praised in this inaugural column of 2012: GØDLAND #35 and Incorruptible #25.

 
Vexatiously, ten months have passed since the last appearance of writer Joe Casey and artist Tom Scioli’s über-quirky cosmic comic, whose outré virtues this column extolled in November 2010, but with luck, its antepenult, GØDLAND #35, will return the Image nonesuch to its regularly scheduled irregularity. During its run, reading GØDLAND has always approximated not so much drinking new wine from an old bottle as strange wine (merci, M. Ellison) from a Klein bottle—freakazoid vino with a Hawking hangover. The issue at hand reunites Kirby krackle kommando Adam Archer with his three sisters, in opposition to the Almighty Decimators, R@d-Ur Rezz, and other foes, while the villainous Friedrich Nickelhead runs the risk of going antihero—and if scanning that sentence felt trippy, dear reader, rest assured that composing and keying it had a similar effect. At a certain level, such a dislocation should come as no surprise: Casey and Scioli, in GØDLAND, decode the groundbreaking early-’60s Stan Lee–Jack Kirby collaboration at the “House of Ideas” as one lengthy and touchingly naive non sequitur.
 
BOOM! Studios’ Incorruptible #25 advances the long-awaited quadripartite crossover between that title and writer/creator Mark Waid’s other superheroic saga at the publisher, begun three weeks ago in Irredeemable #32. It also necessitates a visit to the Department of Mea Culpas, inasmuch as this column, in reviewing the opener to the clash between the Plutonian and Max Damage, chowderheadedly remarked that “the latter appears nowhere in the issue proper.” Hook, line, and sinker. If Waid read that review, in all likelihood, he howled with laughter. Without spoiling any details, let’s just (a) confess that “Rude Chapbooks” screwed the pooch with that remark and (b) observe, almost breathlessly, that Waid’s Manichaean adversaries have functioned as such far longer than one might suspect. With increasingly assured visuals from Marcio Takara, moreover, Incorruptible #25 (whose A and B covers, by the way, neatly flip the perspective of the two earlier Irredeemable covers) deepens the dual origin of characters pitifully broken long ago and ever since groping to reassemble the shards of the past into something like a presentable present.
 
In the last six months or so, Marvel has been purging its line of any titles not starring marquee players or involving invidious “events”; after just ten issues, for instance, the company terminated Herc late in November, and it also recently eighty-sixed a Dr. Doom miniseries before publication, with two issues already reportedly completed. This week, Iron Man 2.0 #12 succumbs to publishing oxidation. After a smart start—in fine, for pity’s sake, the series hinged on phlebotomy and virology—this vehicle for War Machine, like Hercules’, likely had nothing to fear but Fear Itself, in which it gamely participated perhaps before it could solidify a distinct readership. In any event, for a few issues now, creatively, the slideshow’s been on the whiteboard, and here, writers Nick Spencer and Will Pfeifer conspire with (please pardon a sigh) artists “Carmine Di Giandomenico and Andy Troy, with Ariel Olivetti and Mirco Pierfederici,” per the credits, to close the curtain on Palmer Addley, the psychotic genius introduced in Iron Man 2.0’s February debut. Disappointing, but not unpredictably so.
 
“It’s certainly not what I’d call a ‘fun’ book,” writer Kieron Gillen told a Newsarama interviewer last June regarding his newest Marvel mutant mosh, and although he meant something else entirely, the successor to Uncanny X-Men may prompt more than one reader to retort, “True dat!” That successor, of course, blossoms from the ashes of the X-Men: Schism quinary miniseries (unofficially, X-schism #743—collect ’em all!) and bears the title Uncanny X-Men, as part of the mainstream’s ongoing, sub rosa pogrom against professional indexers. Fils, alas, feels every bit as forgettable as père, with Uncanny X-Men #3 finishing a first arc centered on Mr. Sinister, whose preeminent powers evidently involve logorrhea and narcissism—a preening bore. Moreover, although this relaunch started strong visually, with pencils by Carlos Pacheco and inks by Cam Smith, it immediately stumbled into the central-casting artistry too often blemishing too many Marvel and DC titles today, with Rodney Buchemi, Paco Diaz, and Pacheco listed as pencillers here and Smith, Walden Wong, and Diaz listed as inkers. Uncanny only in its tedium.
 
Throughout 2011, Image showered discerning readers with quirky miniseries after quirky miniseries, beside which much of the “business as usual” from the Big Two paled into transparency. Among those minis numbered a gloriously ghastly romp from two utter noobs, writer Brandon Seifert and artist Lukas Ketner, and this week, the duo performs a coda to their debut and a prelude to its successor with Witch Doctor: The Resuscitation. As did the quadripartite mini—now tidily and inexpensively compiled by their publisher, incidentally—this special stars Dr. Vincent Morrow, occult G.P. and LOL egomaniac, as well as his assistants, perplexed but steadfast paramedic Eric Gast and the sweetly ghoulish “Penny Dreadful,” in a misadventure blending medicine and magic. More specifically, it involves a kidney transplant gone quite awry, two hilarious variants on a longstanding sorcerous device, ancient Egyptological necromancy, and a potential love connection for the doc. So, dear reader, your Rx? Buy Witch Doctor: The Resuscitation and the compilation of its precursor—and in due course, later this year, preorder Witch Doctor: Mal Practice #1. | Bryan A. Hollerbach
 
Click here for a 9-page preview of GØDLAND #35, here for a preview of Incorruptible #25, here for a preview of Iron Man 2.0 #12, here for a preview of Uncanny X-Men #3, and here for a preview of Witch Doctor: The Resuscitation, all courtesy of Comic Book Resources.

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