Billed as a Zombie Horror/Heist Black Comedy set in the Vietnam War it just sounded like the first of the five part Voodoo Chile was worth a look.
Things kick off in the midst of another platoon detail in the jungle that turns sour and it’s where our central character, Max Boukman, is given a new destiny that he wasn’t even looking for courtesy of deity of death Baron Samedi. The loss of his friend London sparks a major realization for Max as he now possesses powers to bring back people from the dead and his recently dead friend is the first to benefit from that.
From there it’s a mix of surprises & shocks for Max and while he had hoped to serve his time in the war and get back home the new destiny and the powers it’s brought changes that direction. There’s more fighting to be had as he’s caught between locals and the US army but in among his own country men there’s the discovery of US troop taking advantage of the many deaths of their comrades to help build a smuggling ring back into America. As Max and his alive/dead friend try to work their way out of their current situation and get a clear idea of what the hell is going on…….they find themselves even more trouble.
Writer Casey Allen has a unique plot on his hands here and the blending of the Vietnam war and Voodoo didn’t seem like an obvious choice but the pay-off is apparent pretty early on. The chaos of war, the shadow of voodoo and the reluctance of Max himself make for an intriguing group of ideas but it feels like they fit together well in Casey’s hands. The art from Pete Woods manages to capture all those elements too as he balances the jungle warfare and mystical darkness of Voodoo so well that it captures everything around Max with the gritty realism they both need. The colouring from Wilson Anthony Go enhances that further by giving the glimpses of life & death a glow that adds the additional punch that it all needs. The lettering by the late, great Bolt-01 (Dave Evans) gives the spark to both areas of Max’s predicament too as he captures the dialogue and voodoo madness with real style.
In the end, with Voodoo Chile seeming like a mix of ideas that maybe shouldn’t work it’s turned on it’s head by a creative team that deliver an opening issue where EVERY aspect works. The war, the horror, the humour and the mystical layers all blend together well and with things seemingly going from bad to worse for our central character, it feels like there’s a world of potential still ready to be shown off in the remaining four issues and beyond.
You can get hold of a copy of this issue over on Gumroad and check in on the title’s Twitter page to keep track of what’s next. You can also keep up to date with the creators on the links below to see where this and their other projects are at: