Review by Jacen
I was in a local comic shop yesterday picking up the issue of Green Arrow that sold out everywhere else in Huntsville this week. Having found it, I decided to scan the shelves for something I haven’t read before. Something different to break up the rather large volume of superhero books I read every month. And that;’s the state of mind I was in when I ran across “Driver for the Dead.”
I wasn’t sure what I was in for, the book was packaged like a small trade and was priced at $4.99 and a quick flip behind the cover showed me some rather nice art quality. The names on the book looked familiar, but I couldn’t place them straight away. So I took a leap…
Driver for the Dead
John Heffernan, Leonardo Manco
On the way home it strikes me where I’ve heard the name John Heffernan before. Snakes on a Plane. That kind of strung a chord of excitement with me. Snakes on a Plane was shameless fun. An action flick with the most bizarre and over the top premise ever, and it had no illusions that it was anything more than hokey fun.
What I found in ‘Driver for the Dead‘ was nothing less than a fun story in a great looking art package. Leonardo Manco heads out the art in this book and he does an absolutely amazing job. I’m most familiar with Manco for his run with the third volume of Deathlok… which was one of the last books I was reading before I took a comic hiatus.
The story takes place in Louisiana and focuses on the occult. The book opens when Mose Freeman (looking a lot like Morgan Freeman) takes on a curse that was left by a nanny who was fired for theft. It’s an extremely nasty curse, and it proves to be Mose’s last stand. Amongst his last words are a request for Alabaster Graves to drive him home.
And that’s how we meet Alabaster Graves. He’s a specialty funeral driver, who takes the jobs no one wants…in fact our opening introduction finds Alabaster pushing his supercharged Hearse as fast as he can trying to get a budding vampire dealt with and in the ground before he turns and awakens.
What follows is the set up for the rest of the book. Mose Freeman is a powerful witch doctor and his body holds power and is sought after in the occult world. Which is why a man like Alabaster is necessary.
The story itself is pretty standard fare, but the real prize in this title is it’s approach to the material. It’s not just as simple as “Eww, there’s a curse,” there’s actually a detail of the ritual involved and a little history behind that ritual. Even relatively minor characters are interesting and approached from the type of standpoint you’d expect going into a major character.
It’s a really good book, at 56 pages of sheer quality gloss and art, this book is a great value at $4.99. I’m definitely going into the store next week to pick up issue #2 and order issue #3.
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