Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child is another new title by DC’s Vertigo imprint and looks to blend True Blood, Dylan Dog, and a post-Katrina world into a hard hitting, sophisticated comic.
The 2012 Vertigo preview guide describes the premise and first issue of Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child as follows:
DOMINIQUE LAVEAU: VOODOO CHILD is the story of a half-breed, outcast and heir to the Voodoo Queenship of New Orleans, if she can live long enough to claim her birthright. New Orleans is the most haunted city in America: a town of centuries-old ghosts and newly drowned spirits; where vampires, voodoo spirits and loups-garous make their home. Ruling over this all are the powerful Voodoo Queens, whose influence stretches into politics, business and crime as they maintain a delicate balance between the mortal and supernatural worlds. But in the aftermath of Katrina, all that has changed, for someone or something has murdered the Voodoo Queen and most of her court. The number one suspect is Dominique Laveau, a grad student at Tulane who is about to discover that her entire life has been a lie. Now Dominique must forge alliances with those out to kill her while seeking to uncover the truth behind the royal murders, as she is ultimately forced to deal with a destiny she could never have imagined. Voodoo Child is a new monthly series written by Selwyn Seyfu Hinds, former editor-in-chief of The Source magazine, award-winning author, journalist and TV producer, with art by Milestone Media co-founder Denys Cowan (THE QUESTION) and covers by Rafael Grampá.
The idea behind Voodoo Child is sound and fairly intriguing, however, the setup is not very coherent, resulting in a shaky foundation for the very first issue. Selwyn Seyfu Hinds’ dialogue is fluid, but the plot is rough and has a tendency to jump around from locale to locale and from character to character. This storytelling method results in an issue overloaded with too much information and not enough transition, which could potentially leave audiences confused and in the dark about the title’s intentions and goals.
The main character, Dominique Laveau, hits the first couple pages running from a werewolf as it chases her through the streets of New Orleans only a scant four-months after Hurricane Katrina battered the jewel of Louisiana. As she passes bodies she has glimpses of other unseen horrors; eventually she runs into a clearing and fends off the creatures with some mystical powers of her own. The story then jumps around between Dominique’s travels throughout the city and visions of otherworldly events that seem to be tied to her newly found power—the very same power that fended off the werewolf (Like I mentioned, the idea is there, but the execution is poor).
Denys Cowan’s pencilings create a gritty New Orleans, and the gruesomeness and darker motifs are excellently rendered. The werewolves, demons, and other paranormal creatures are very reminiscent of the UK’s famous Hammer films. They look as if they were plucked straight from the classic monster films, but placed within a new medium and contemporary setting. Cowan’s artwork as well as Rafael Grampá cover are by far the highlight of the issue
This comic has its problems, but personally I have read worse first attempts that have eventually turned over solid story arcs and continued on to bigger and better things in later issues. That being said, I will be giving Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child #1 three-out-of-five stars, and I will be picking up the second issue to see if it improves.
Don’t forget to pick up any and all of Vertigo’s titles and Merlyn’s on Main in downtown Spokane, WA.
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