New Orleans resident, Dominique Laveau and her friends volunteer to help rebuild the Treme area of the city, still destroyed from Hurricane Katrina. She is horrified to find all of her friends slaughtered, their entrails hanging out! She flees from a giant monster that she may or may not have even seen, to Louis Armstrong Cemetery, where she calls someone named Allen and warns him to flee. The monster locates her and attacks, but mysterious energy snakes appear and knock the beast back. She collects herself and runs, but is observed by a mysterious stranger.
She reaches the Iberville housing projects and Allen, apparently her boyfriend and a cop. They are interrupted by two gangsters who start shooting at them. Allen fends them off and orders Dominique to run.
In the French Quarter, Chancellor Malenfant comments that the treaty between supernatural beings in New Orleans has been broken. An innocent boy has been bound and a ritual set up in a chamber in his office. Malenfant summons forth an Ogun, who demands “blood of most-hated Kalfu and child of my Marie.” Malenfant admits he has yet to locate the quarry and the Ogun is angered.
Dominique goes running through another cemetery and locates the burial place of famed Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. She suddenly has a vision of dead bodies, but doesn’t understand them. She then witnesses a man who resembles the one that was spying on her unawares earlier, who comes in and finds his brother Amedee slain, as well as his “lady.” He vows revenger before sensing Dominique’s presence. He lashes out but she suddenly snaps back to the real world, unharmed. She goes to her Aunt Giselle, only to find her injured and almost dead. She is then confronted by the man from her vision.
This first issue is really frantic! Dominique spends most of it bewildered and running. Nothing yet is clear, but it seems to be building to a supernatural conflict among the many magical factions from New Orleans’ rich history. Comics legend Denys Cowan provides art chores here and delivers a solid job. It’s crude and sketchy, but it suits a Vertigo title perfectly well. There’s nothing too bold or stand-out here, but it’s solid.
I’m not familiar with Selwyn Seyfu Hinds. He was the editor-in-chief of ‘The Source’ magazine and an acclaimed journalist, author and television producer. There’s not enough in this issue to determine whether he is suited to comics. I certainly don’t mean that as a criticism, there just isn’t enough here. I’m not sufficiently hooked, but I certainly wasn’t bored or turned off.
Well, not completely. The one complaint I have is simply that there are a large number of references to New Orleans that felt heavy handed and “name-drop-y.” Every page, it seemed featured some “insider” reference to the city. Nearly everyone in the book wears a Tulane sweatshirt. There are constant mentions of landmarks and neighborhoods. I suppose it’s meant to firmly ground the book in this enigmatic and infamous city, but like I said, it felt forced after a while.
I’m not yet sold on this series, but there’s a lot of buzz about it and the first issue was good enough for me to come back for more, so…
DOMINIQUE LAVEAU VOODOO CHILD #1
Written by Selwyn Seyfu Hinds
Art by Denys Cowan