After losing face in the mystical realms of magic, Stephen Strange was deemed unworthy of the title of Sorcerer Supreme by the very powers that he once commanded. In the pages of the New Avengers, Strange desperately attempted to seek out his replacement actively, but in the end his enchanted amulet had a mind of its own and chose Jericho Drumm, also known as Brother Voodoo.
Created by Len Wien and Gene Colan for the anthology series Strange Tales, Brother Voodoo is like a more modern (and far spookier) take on a supernatural superhero in comparison to the Greenwich Village mystic, Dr Strange. An educated psychologist, Jericho Drumm returns to his Haitian home to reconnect with his brother, the respected houngan of their tribe. Jericho’s brother Daniel is dying and in order to respect his dying wishes, Jericho visits Daniel’s mentor in order to learn the mystical rites of the houngan. Jericho and Daniel become spiritually linked and Jericho takes on the mantle of Brother Voodoo in order to combat a rival dark magician who threatens his people. Part community leader, part superhero, Brother Voodoo has always existed on the outskirts of the Marvel Universe, which makes the announcement that he is the successor of the Sorcerer Supreme all the stranger.
This autumn, Doctor Voodoo will take up the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme from Doctor Stephen Strange in a new ongoing series by Rick Remender (The End League, Fear Agent, Sea of Red, Punisher War Journal Vol.2 and Punisher Vol. ??) and Jefte Paolo, whom Remender describes as being “like if you mixed together the styles of Walt Simonson, Mike Mignola, and Tim Sale” in Doctor Voodoo: Avenger of the Supernatural. Taking on the role of teacher, Doctor Strange will be taking his new pupil on a journey through the realms of magic, as writer Rick Remender explains:
In the first arc of “Doctor Voodoo,” Sorcerer Supreme related business will take Jericho Drumm to a variety of extra dimensional locales. “He’ll be exploring the Ever Dimensions, the different dimensional planes of the Marvel Universe, and I’m having a lot fun jumping around them,” Remender said. “We’ll be dealing with the different dimensional beings and monsters that inhabit these realms as well. You’ll see places and characters like Nightmare and his plane, the various inhabitants of the Dark Dimension, as well as the hells of Blackheart and Mephisto.”
The look of the series will certainly be key and Remender has chosen his influences well.
For the tone of “Doctor Voodoo,” Remender is taking the fantasy elements of classic “Doctor Strange “ stories and blending them with darker horror elements, similar to those found in the work of legendary horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. “There’s even a nod to Lovecraft in issue #2,” Remender said. “Doctor Strange would team with Spider-Man, but I think it makes more sense for Doctor Voodoo to team with characters like the Son of Satan, who also lives in New Orleans.”
“Ultimately what I think what we have with ‘Doctor Voodoo: Avenger of the Supernatural’ is a rock solid concept for a comic book, and I’m having a ton of fun with it,” Remender continued. “If people give it a shot, I’m pretty confident they’ll enjoy it.”
Doctor Strange, considered by many as the most successful magic-related comic book superhero, has had a spotty history with comics and met the sticky end of cancellation many times. Here’s hoping that his successor Doctor Voodoo will have better luck, if not in his own title then as a supporting cast member in the New Avengers.