Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Voodoo #1 (November, 2011)

The Voodoo Lounge in New Orleans had a tradition of allowing its most popular erotic dancer to go buy the working name of "Voodoo." The mixed race stripper dancing for dollars was earning her rank. A pair of undercover agents were watching the show up close. Tyler Evans was all stubble and sunglasses, enjoying the show while paying lip service to his assignment. Jessica Fallon was disgusted by his attitude and breach of protocol, and excused herself.

Tyler bribed a waitress to learn "Voodoo's" real name was Priscilla Kitaen, that she was a loner who'd been working the lounge a few months, and that she was "real popular with the guys from the military base." While dancing, Voodoo had shown a rare interest in Tyler.

Jessica Fallon had brushed past some underage punks on her way out of the strip club, and their leader demanded an apology. Her Black Razors lighter should have been warning enough, but when the thugs persisted, Fallon kicked their asses.

Backstage, one of the girls was looking for a last minute babysitter. Pris declined, as she was uncomfortable around children. The stripper admonished Pris for not standing by a sister in their surrogate family. Like the multiracial gang from earlier, that was either another magical fictional construct, or the stripper was just totally trying to con Pris.

Pris worked at the club to try to learn about people, men especially, with their defenses down. "I'm still getting my feet on the ground. But I want to travel. I still have so much to learn.

In a private room, Voodoo began giving Tyler Evans a lap dance. He was trying to break the "no hands" rule, so she put them in straps on either side of his chair. Pressed for information, Pris volunteered her name and a back story involving a dead mother, missing father, and the loneliness of growing up mixed race. Tyler called b.s. He'd been surveying Voodoo for weeks, and research had determined that she was an alien who had either been surgically altered or could shapeshift. His superiors wanted to know who she was working for, and what secrets she'd gleaned from the local "soldier boys" with her limited telepathic abilities.

Tyler ignored a cell phone call from Jessica, who left a voice mail. Despite his being a stupid jerk, Jessica felt guilty for running out on her partner, and didn't want to spend the night drinking alone in her cheap motel room. Voodoo asked about the call, and Tyler explained that his partner would be furious if she knew what he was doing. "But I'm not a rules guy, I'm a results guy. So I'm offering you a chance to turn yourself in... before we have to bring you by force. If that happens, you go into that military compound down the road, and you never come back out. We'll strap you to a table... and I'll have them open you up, cutting out pieces just to see what happens."

Pris kept telling Tyler to look at her, probably because she needed his direct attention to apply her telepathy. It makes a good excuse for her running around bare-breasted. In his mind, she saw a grisly vision of doctors with bloodied smocks performing the kind of xenomorph vivisection Tyler had alluded to. Voodoo refused Tyler's demand, shapeshifting into a saurian creature and tearing into his flesh with her claws. Leaving his corpse in the private room, Voodoo quit the club. She then transformed into Tyler, and called Jessica back. "...I'll be right over."

"Keeping Secrets" was by Ron Marz and Sami Basri. I read a lot of too-literal reviews who though Voodoo really was a spy who committed premeditated murder. I thought it was pretty clear Pris was responding to Tyler's aggression, and upon realizing his own murderous intentions (likely involving her damnation regardless of her answer to his summons,) acted in self-defense (long term, anyway.)

Voodoo was my favorite member of WildC.A.T.s after Alan Moore's writing made me care enough to actually select any one member over another. Pris had started out as an earthy character unaware of her half-alien parentage who was dragged into the super-hero game. She ended up abandoned by her supposed friends in an extraterrestrial ghetto, and became something of a revolutionary leader in a bid to gain basic rights for her adopted people. The important thing was that she was a relatively normal person who, thrust into extraordinary circumstances by an unfamiliar heritage, rose to become a hero. Here, Voodoo is a trope-- the sex-ah alien on the run from the big bad government, Sil for the super-set. I don't mind the story, and the art is appealing, but it's such a complete 180° on the character as I knew and appreciated her that I'm ultimately turned off. It seems clear this isn't a launch by creators who are interested in the established character, but a premise grafted onto a preexisting trademark.

New 52's Day

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