Is there a doctor in the house?
For years, Doctor Steven Strange held the title of Sorcerer Supreme in the Marvel Universe, and with that title he held the task of harnessing, controlling, and in some cases, subduing the fantastical, morbid and contrary elements of magic in the Marvel Universe. Passed down from his mentor the Ancient One, he held onto the title for years in Marvel comic books far and wide.
That is, until Strange’s fall from grace. With the recent events in the Marvel Universe of Civil War, World War Hulk and others, Strange regrettably delved into dark magic – and his realization of that (along with a couple grievous injuries) led him to relinquish the title of Sorcerer Supreme and look for a new one. This search unfolded in the pages of New Avengers, and the net was cast far and wide which such prospects as Doctor Doom, the Hood, Ghost Rider and even Dormammu amongst others. But ultimately, the title – and all that comes with it – fell Doctor Voodoo #2 Coverto Brother Voodoo.
Created back in 1973 by Len Wein and Gene Colan, Voodoo has been a supporting character in other books – but never had his own book, until now. In the upcoming series Doctor Voodoo, writer Rick Remender and artist Jefte Palo tell the inaugural stories of a new Sorcerer Supreme. Voodoo, who was a psychologist before becoming a sorcerer, steps into the role at a time when the realm of magic is in flux.
To find out more about this, we talked with series writer Rick Remender.
Newsarama: Rick, tell us about the Broth—er Doctor Voodoo, Jericho Drumm.
Rick Remender: He’s a classic Marvel character, tragic past, position of power thrust upon him. He’d left Haiti to live in the states where he went to medical school. His brother Daniel remained behind and took the role of Houngan Supreme, the Sorcerer Supreme of Voodoo. Daniel ran Doctor Voodoo #3 Coverafoul some bad mambo jambos and was cursed, end result, Daniel died and Jericho had to pick up his mantle to save his home city and to make good on his promise to his brother. Currently Jericho lives in New Orleans where he runs a non-profit clinic and keeps the evil Loas at bay. Then one day -- POW -- he’s the Sorcerer Supreme and every major bad ass in the MU is out to take him down.
Jericho Drumm aka Doctor Voodoo is stuck between two lives; that of a voodoo healer and psychologist serving the impoverished communities of New Orleans and that of the new Sorcerer Supreme, defender of the unknown.
As Damien Hellstorm prophesized in New Avengers #54 there are supernatural forces, beings of malevolence and supreme arcane power that lurk in the shadows, conspiring to spread their festering darkness to our world. With premonitions as to the arrival of these terrible forces, The Interior Art From Doctor Voodoo #1Eye of Agamotto has passed the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme onto the one man who has the unique gifts to stave off the shadows; a man who recognizes how to combat the coming darkness-- as it was his birthplace.
Nrama: A key part to Voodoo is the ghost of his brother Daniel, who’s always by his side. How would you explain the relationship between those two?
Remender: They share a body so it’s a unique relationship in that they are always together. They don’t share all thoughts; there is a boundary between them. Daniel sometimes clearly resents Jericho, given all he’s accomplished, all of the things Daniel himself wanted. But at the core of their bond, they are dependant on each other and best friends.
Interior Art From Doctor Voodoo #1Nrama: After years of guest appearances and stories in various Marvel anthology titles, this is Jericho’s first actual series – why do you think it took this long?
Remender: You have to give the character a pertinent role, something important to the Marvel Universe. The Marvel horror stuff is amazing, but it never played a role in the lives of the MU heroes. That’s about to change in a very big way. All over the MU, monsters are amassing; the shadows are seeping into the light. It’s about blow up.
Nrama: After all these years though, Voodoo’s got his own book in Doctor Voodoo. How would you describe the inaugural story arc?
Interior Art From Doctor Voodoo #1Remender: Big. The guys Jericho is up against, it’s a who’s who of A-list villains and a few new ones. Doctor Doom has been after the Eye of Agamotto for years and *SPOILER* in the first issue he finally gets it. It’s a game changer. The first issue is 28 full pages of story and it’s loaded with other good business. Art is by Jefte Palo and Jean-Francois Beaulieu who deliver some of the best pages I’ve been associated with, they are a team supreme. First issue is a lot of what I love about comics -- everyone must try it.
Nrama: Voodoo comes in as the guy in charge in Marvel’s magic arena – what’s the landscape like in that playing field?
Remender: The supernatural world of the Marvel Universe is unbalanced and out of control. Monsters, vampires, zombies and servants of Nightmare and Dormammu spread unabated. Powerful relics with vast arcane powers are scattered across the globe. New sorcerers emerge unrestrained and unknown. Doctor Voodoo, eager to prove his worth to his ancestors and to his benefactors, will bring order to the supernatural world once and for all. All MU relics and magic users will be accounted for and categorized. We will give Doctor voodoo a clear motive and purpose -- to clean up the supernatural…
… BUT THE SUPERNATURAL DOESN'T WANT TO BE CLEANED UP.
Interior Art From Doctor Voodoo #1Nrama: Reminds me of that Kyuss song, “Demon Cleaner”. Anyway, just as Doctor Strange’s adventures were based out of New York, Voodoo calls New Orleans home. Tell us about that.
Remender: Just a natural fit really. He and Son of Satan currently call New Orleans home, Jericho has lived there for a long time, he considers it his greatest responsibility.
Nrama: Going back to what we discussed about Voodoo’s previous appearances in the Marvel U, although he hasn’t had his own series, he has had a variety of solo stories and guest appearances in other books. Did you know them by heart, or go back and research some of them?
Remender: I did, and they are the basic foundation of the character, but you don’t want to lock yourself down top much, by staying too focused on fitting in continuity you can overlook big and fun ideas. Jericho’s the same guy, same character, but in a new league and with universe class threats that demand a new way of seeing things.
Nrama: Voodoo had some old allies – like his deceased mentor Papa Jambo and his manservant Bambu – any chance we’ll see them in this new series?
Remender: Jambo is not seen but he’s mentioned. He’s Jericho’s Obi Wan and all. The rest of the cast is new, except for Daniel.
Nrama: And on the evil side, Voodoo’s got his own rogue’s gallery with names like Black Talon, Mama Limbo, Dramabu and the Dark Lord Cult. Is Voodoo going against old foes, or someone new?
Interior Art From Doctor Voodoo #1Remender: Jericho is up against Dormammu and Doctor Doom -- he’s up against world-class huge MU villains. He could take his old foes down without breaking a sweat with his current power levels. It’s a new world for Jericho; he’s in the major leagues now.
Nrama: Point taken. Being the Sorcerer Supreme does tend to elevate you. Will the new Sorcerer Supreme get any help from his predecessor, Dr. Strange?
Remender: Between the last times we saw them in Avengers and the first issue of this Jericho has been under the tutelage of Stephen Strange. However, with all the amazing stuff Waid has planned for Strange in his own series, Jericho is on his own.
Nrama: And before we go, one last question – about gadgets. One thing I’ve always liked about Doctor Strange is his bag of equipment – the Eye of Agamotto being central to it. What does Voodoo get with the job from Dr. Strange?
Remender: Everything, the entire bag of tricks. And beyond that he holds all the relics of Houngan Supreme, he’s extremely stocked up on cool shit that can do grievous bodily magic town style harm. However, there are serious limits to what he can and can’t do, and we’re setting him up with a clear “kryptonite” He has a big weakness, magic has to have limits.