August 12, 2010

Radical Publishing Reviews: Driver for the Dead #1

Publisher: Radical
Writer: John Heffernan
Artist: Leonardo Manco
Cover: Leonardo Manco

“Driver for the Dead pt 1”: This title caught my attention during FCBD (Free Comic Book Day), and after picking up the preview I was determined to check out the full issue. Now, I’m not a big horror comic type guy, but after checking out some recommendations from our own Decapitated Dan, I’ve begun to broaden my horizons into this type of genre. So in saying that, I admit that I may not be some horror “expert,” but I do know a pretty good story when I read it, and Driver for the Dead did deliver with the first issue.

In Shreveport, Louisiana there is a very sick young man, and the Connor family has called on Moses Freeman to see if there’s anything he can do for the boy after all of their other failed attempts. Upon his arrival, Moses notices that something is definitely wrong, and assures the young couple that he will save their son. The thing is, Moses Freeman isn’t your everyday doctor, he deals in the supernatural and has felt the presence of some dark and sinister voodoo in the home. After he points out a few of the signs around the house, the Connors let him know that they recently fired their maid whom they caught stealing from them. Moses uses his talents to make sure that she is dealt with immediately, then turns his attention to helping the child. As he enters the young boy’s room with the parents, things shift to an even darker tone as he discovers that things are even worse then he assumed. During the ceremony to help the child, he ends up fighting a powerful and very large snake demon. During the final moments of the fight, the demon strikes out and mortally wounds Moses before it is destroyed, and with his last few minutes he gives the Connors a card with the name Alabaster Graves and asks that they call him.

Graves works for a funeral home and isn’t your everyday Hearse driver. You see, he deals in the supernatural as well, and when asked by his boss to transport the body of Moses Freeman to his family crypt, he’s on it. There is a slight problem in that Mr. Freeman’s great-granddaughter is going to accompany him, and she’s very skeptical of her great-grandfather’s history as some mystical voodoo doctor. Graves knows the danger she could be in and tries to discourage her, but her stubbornness wins out and the two are off to deliver the body to the family crypt in New Orleans.

Like many of the books coming out of Radical, this one looks great, but I was a bit surprised at how well I liked Heffernan’s story beyond what I read in the preview. The characters are interesting enough, and the dialog was pretty good as well. So far it looks like we’ve pretty much met all of the major players by the end of this issue, and the villain Fallow looks like he’s gonna be one tough guy to beat. Then again, Graves doesn’t seem to be a slouch in fighting the supernatural either, so hopefully the fight between these two will be worthwhile.

The artwork is done by Leonardo Manco, and I was impressed with just about every page as I read the issue. There is a bit of a resemblance between Moses Freeman and the actor Morgan Freeman that I noticed in some panels, which I actually thought was pretty cool. I will say that the detail on the hearse was just on point! It looks like the Black Betty was taken to Pimp My Ride: Voodoo Edition, as the design is mixed with plenty of supernatural protective elements, as well as a custom job that says “my car can kick your ass!” The panel layout was pretty good as well, and carried the action and story pretty smoothly without a lot of the jumping around that can get a bit distracting at times.

The only issue I have with the book is that in some of the word balloons and captions they read “Mose” Freeman instead of “Moses.” If this is a nickname, then fine, but if not then there are way too many typos in the book for it to be acceptable. Just something that I noticed as I was reading the book, and it got a bit annoying; hell, even his bag said “Moses Freeman” on it.

Driver for the Dead is only three issues long, and I’m hoping that Heffernan can keep the momentum going and deliver till the end. There’s plenty of set up here for a worthwhile story folks, so I suggest if voodoo, the undead, and supernatural beat downs are your thing, then check this issue out; and even if it’s not, then give it a try. Comics aren’t all spandex and capes!

Infinite Speech



  1. DecapitatedDan

    This book ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!! Too bad you got your review up before me but I will mini mine up . . .

    Dying Breath: 4.5 out of 5
    Solid art with an original fun filled story… yeah okay, we have a WINNER! I love what Radical is bringing to the table and if you have somehow managed to pass so far, that needs to end now. Driver for the Dead has a lot of great points that drive this story in itself, but they are also setting up for sooooooooo much more. Now where is #2 because I NEED IT NOW!!

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by John Mulder, Comic Attack. Comic Attack said: @RadicalComics Reviews: Driver for the Dead #1! #comics #comicbooks […]

  3. Sorry about that Dan but hey if it wasn’t for your influence I probably never would have picked up the title in the first place! And I’m sooooo glad I did and like I need that second issue to come out NOW!!

  4. DecapitatedDan


  5. Dan since obviously we’re the only cool people who read the book did you think the issue I mentioned about the name was a mistake or done on purpose?

  6. Billy

    Sounds like a solid first issue. Great to see DD has another convert. lol

  7. Decapitated Dan

    My gripe was that his name and look were too close to Morgan Freeman. The Mose vs. Moses thing was a bit annoying but he wasn’t mentioned too much for it to kill me. The look and name were worse in my book.

    I’m working on converting Aron into the Locke & Key universe now 😉

  8. […] as much as I liked the first issue, there were a few things that were bothering me. However, after reading Decapitated Dan’s […]

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