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Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child #3 - Requiem, Chapter Three: Crescent City Night Review3
by Sara 'Babs' Lima on
The Voodoo Queen discovers the secrets of her history, the Voodoo Court and more in the latest issue of this Vertigo series.
As you probably guessed, this series is set in New Orleans; present day. This is cool because there are not a whole lot of comics dealing with the issues we see in this series, set in the location this book takes place. In that sense, it is unique -- and that's what makes it good. The comic book revolves around Dominique Laveau, a young woman living in New Orleans who is a "Voodoo Child." She resides between the New Orleans underworld that is shrouded in mysticism and mystery, and the streets. She deals not only with mystics, but with a whole lot of violence as she runs away from the mystical forces that are after her.
In this issue the Voodoo Court is after Dominique because she is a direct descendant go Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen. In this issue, Dominique finds herself at a cross roads and things become more clear to her thanks to Benny, who acts as her guardian. This issue delves into the history behind voodoo culture and heritage in New Orleans, and also dives into Lady Marie's past. The readers begins to learn about the battle between Kalfu and the Ogun, and how their animosity has grown. The rivalry is directly depicted in the very first pages of this issue.
A lot happens in this issue. First, we find out about the history of the Voodoo Queen and the rivalry that is present in this book. We also get a peek at Domique's character and the people in her life that are important to her. I think that all the ingredients for a good story that is unlike a lot of books on the market right now are here.
I have to admit, I wasn't crazy about the art in this issue. There were moments where the colors felt sloppy and muddled, and it was hard to understand what was happening in the panels. I understand that some scenes are meant to be violent, but there's no reason why they should be so abstract that it's difficult for the reader to even distinguish what is happening.
Dominique doesn't strike me as a very interesting character. She has all the potential to be a strong, interesting female character but there is something about her that feels forced and cliche. Perhaps it's the dialogue? Or maybe it's because she needs to have Benny around as her protector and savior? The question is, why? Why does she need him there as her shadow?
Another problem I had with this issue was the decision to have a very violent moment immediately follow a sex scene. This really left me uneasy. Tying these two moments so close together can lead the reader to associate them with one another. In this moment Dominique had just had sex, and the next moment she is in her lingerie and a mysterious man has a knife at her throat? It feels like violence against women is the underlying issue in this scene -- it feels subliminal. To make things worse, Dominique didn't get out of the situation on her own; she is portrayed solely as the victim. This scene is in no way empowering and it feels unnecessary. Her body guard Benny had to be there to save her. She just feels too much like a damsel in distress that is very easily taken advantage of whilst in a vulnerable position and that really turned me off.
If you are a fan of Witchblade, you might enjoy this series due to the many similarities between the two books. Like WITCHBLADE, readers will find some of the same elements in those books, in this one. A central female character, sexual situations, violence, mystical elements and the unknown and even cops! The difference between Dominique and Sara, however, is that Sara is a far stronger, more independent character. And while DOMINIQUE LAVEUAU: VOODOO CHILD has all the elements to create an interesting story (it's not often we see a comic about voodoo and monsters with a backdrop in New Orleans), there is something lacking and there were moments that left me uneasy, which I described above. Overall, I had higher hopes for this series but I find that it feels lackluster. There are certainly things about this series that are interesting; like the history, for example; but if you don't have a compelling central character to guide the story, then you're not going to have a very good book.