The first day of a new job is almost always tough, so what happens when your new job is protecting the Marvel Universe from all manner of supernatural threats? Now that Dr. Jericho Drumm has inherited the title of Sorcerer Supreme that's his job description and readers will get to see Jericho's first day on the job on October 7th when the debut issue of the new ongoing series "Doctor Voodoo: Avenger of the Supernatural" hits stores. CBR News spoke with writer Rick Remender about his plans for the series.
When Jericho Drumm went off to prepare for his new job at the end of "New Avengers" #54, he had some help in the form of former Sorcerer Supreme, Stephen Strange, but when "Doctor Voodoo" #1 hits stores, some story time has passed. "Stephen has been training Jericho for some time. To a certain extent he's playing the same role as his teacher, the Ancient One, but Stephen is being pulled in a different direction," Remender said. "He's going to have to go off and do his own thing and that will be followed up in a number of books including Mark Waid's 'Strange' mini-series."
Unfortunately for Jericho, Strange picks a bad time to start following his own destiny. "The Vishanti saw that there's a great darkness coming. An ugly, terrible, supernatural entity is headed towards our world and they didn't think Stephen Strange was up to the task of stopping it. So the Eye of Agamotto chose Jericho to be the Sorcerer Supreme for a specific reason, which we'll be learning down the line either in 'Doctor Voodoo' or 'New Avengers'. Jericho will play a big part of what's coming up in that book as well. The big supernatural swarm is looming."
Of course, Jericho isn't going to let the threat of a looming supernatural apocalypse intimidate him. When "Doctor Voodoo" #1 begins, he's approaching his new role as Sorcerer Supreme with a positive and confident attitude. "There's no arrogance in Jericho's attitude - more like he's overcompensating." Remender remarked. "The first issue is extra long, so we get a good look at this guy who originally didn't want this job, now overcompensating and possibly trying to do too much in order to prove that he's worthy of it. So there will definitely be a few missteps early on in his career."
When Jericho does stumble and make some mistakes, he won't have to fix them alone; he'll have others he can turn to for help. In fact, the spirit of his deceased brother Daniel, who was himself a powerful voodoo priest, dwells inside Jericho's body. However, there may be times when Daniel is feeling less than helpful. "Daniel has an interesting dilemma. He was supposed to walk the road that Jericho is walking now," Remender stated. "So Daniel is supportive of his brother and plays a big role in this series, but I think there's an undercurrent of jealousy."
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."
Another important setting in the first arc of "Doctor Voodoo" is Jericho Drumm's home city of New Orleans. "A lot of Jericho's character comes from New Orleans. No matter what happens or what new responsibilities he takes on, Jericho remains committed to the people of New Orleans. He runs a non-profit clinic there, and he's not going to give that up," Remender explained. "Ultimately, when something like that is important to a powerful character, it becomes a target, and Jericho spends a good deal of time trying to protect the city."
In the first arc of "Doctor Voodoo" Jericho will have to protect his city and himself from a pair of ruthless and dangerous enemies. "I hate to give anything away because it's such a cool reveal but Jericho goes up against two of Marvel's biggest villains," Remender hinted. "These are top of the list guys who end up coming at Jericho at different times while he's trying to clean up the supernatural corner of the Marvel Universe. This makes him realize that a lot of people have underestimated him, and he's become the target of many bad folks."
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."
Remender is very satisfied with the work "Doctor Voodoo" artists Jefte Paolo and colorist Jean-Francois Beaulieu have done in order to visually convey the intended mood and tone of the book. "They are a great team," the writer stated. "Jefte's one of those guys that doesn't disappoint. He's like if you mixed together the styles of Walt Simonson, Mike Mignola, and Tim Sale. It's been a pleasure working with him. When our esteemed editor Lauren Sankovitch showed me the colors by Jean-Francois Beaulieu, I almost fell out of my chair. The art team is world class. "
Starting a new series is never easy, especially when you're dealing with a character like Jericho Drumm that hasn't had a whole lot of time in the spotlight. Remender is working extra hard to make "Doctor Voodoo" especially compelling for fans. One of the ways he's doing that is by trying to flesh out and define an aspect that was often ambiguous in the last Sorcerer Supreme, his limits. "With Doctor Strange, it often seemed like there were not enough boundaries and rules to his magic; perhaps too many things were possible. He could be a difficult character to understand in terms of being great against certain things, but weak against others," Remender said. "They never really established what Doctor Strange's kryptonite was, and we're doing that with Doctor Voodoo."
"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."