“WITCH DOCTOR: MALPRACTICE” #4 (Comic Review)
When we last left Dr. Vincent Morrow, the poor man had a demonic parasite swimming around in his body, shadowy ne’er-do-well’s following his every move, and a deadline to deliver the Pandoracopeia, a book of harmful spells, to the hooded antagonists who set the virus loose on him. It doesn’t seem like it could get much worse for him, does it? Well, it wouldn’t be much fun if it didn’t.
WITCH DOCTOR: MALPRACTICE is still riding high on a wave of black humor and even blacker magic since its debut in last November. As each issue continues to drop, fans are grabbing up the releases like they can cure cancer, and who can blame them? An engrossing mix of the supernatural and medical drama, the comic is reminiscent of HELLBLAZER if John Constantine had a medical license. Issue four proves to be just as addictive as the first, delivering on a steady stream of the macabre.
Building up to issue four, Dr. Morrow has been everywhere trying to rid himself of said parasite, a magical entity that, given enough time, will take over his body and make him bend him to the beck and call of his enemies. From a homeless, magical man coined Old Man Moonshine to the dark surgeons of Hell, his search for the antidote had gotten him everywhere he doesn’t want to be, with no answers to show for it. Eventually, he throws caution to the wind and decides to play fair, delivering the book to the shadowy figures, but planning to double cross them. Little did he know that not only were they going to double cross him as well, but even they had no idea how to cure him. Suddenly, secrets and intrigue abound! What do the strange people, revealed to be a second rate magician and two monsters, really want with the book? What are they planning to do to the now captured Penny Dreadful and why is one of the parasites in Dr. Morrow’s lung the size of a small dragon?
Though this particular story arc is only slated for six issues, WITCH DOCTOR has all the right components to become a staple of the Image/Skybound line. Writer Brandon Seifert is still going strong, dropping the good doctor in and out of trouble on a whim, while holding a solid grasp of occult practices and beliefs from around the world. His sharp humor keeps the comic fresh while the blood and horror flows freely without flooding the story. Lukas Ketner, meanwhile, is a perfect match for Seifert, illustrating the story with a quick style that plays well with the subject. With these two behind the series, it’s about as solid as horror gets.