By Lucid Crash
Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child #1
Written by Selwyn Seyfu Hinds
Pencilled by Denys Cowan
Inked by John Floyd
Colored by Dave McCaig
Lettered by Clem Robins
Cover by Rafael Grampá
Cover Color by Dave Stewart
Release date: March 21, 2012
Cover Price: $2.99
Marie Laveau and her immortal voodoo legacy are just as integral to the spirit of New Orleans as Mardi Gras or Jazz. Who better to invoke then to fight the demons of a city struggling to find itself, just months after the tragedies of Hurricane Katrina? Combining gritty social commentary with supernatural fables, with Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child #1 writer Selwyn Seyfu Hinds introduces readers to a place where the werewolves, vampires, and voodoo courts may not be as frightening as the street thugs lurking around what seem to be every corner. Characterizations are a bit sparse, yet we know who the protagonist is and that she has fabulously weird supporting cast who leave us to wonder who the villain might be.
Our heroine Dominique Laveau is a grad student at Tulane University who is “called to action” after witnessing a werewolf creature eat her volunteer group. She then promptly gets sucked into a parallel universe after falling into the grave of Marie Laveau, who happens to be her ancestor. That covers about 10% of the events crammed into this first issue and I’ve mentioned less than half of the characters introduced. While it’s true the pace is frenetic and Voodoo Child #1 reads more like improvisational jazz than a linear story, the premise is interesting enough to stick around to see where all this madness is going.
The artwork by Denys Cowan and John Floyd is unique and determinately in your face. Their stark and almost minimalistic line work in the story is contrasted nicely by the ornate art nouveau meets modern flash art style cover by Rafael Grampá. Colorists too often go unnoticed, but Dave McCaig should be given extra credit for making the panels look like early hand-colored film stills. All that vibrant orange looks awesome, when paired against the monochromatic background commonly used for dystopian used landscapes. Stylization also helps the omnipresent graphic violence and gore from distracting too much from the plot. However, this comic is obviously intended for a mature audience.
New Orleans is infamous for being considered one of the most haunted cities in the world and it is no easy task making that well-covered supernatural literary ground new and cool again. That said, if Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child #1 is an indication of the title’s future, my humble opinion this comic is more than up to the challenge. This promising debut is an unpretentious and original take on existing mythologies set in a very realistic time and place.