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October 3, 2010

Radical Publishing Reviews: Driver for the Dead #2

Driver for the Dead #2
Publisher: Radical Publishing
Writer: John Heffernan
Artist: Leonardo Manco
Cover: Leonardo Manco

“Born on the Bayou”: I just read 56 pages of pure comic greatness as this issue definitely tops my list as one of the best books to come out this week. Things have definitely escalated for Alabaster Graves and Marissa as they are trying to get the body of her great-grandfather, Moses Freeman, to the family crypt before Fallow and his undead followers get ahold of the body. Which is proving more and more difficult, as Fallow is easily collecting the body parts of the gifted and using their power to augment his own, and killing anyone else who just happens to be in the way. This issue also provides answers to many questions and expands on the reason why Fallow is after the body of Moses Freeman. We also find out that there is more to his quest than just that, as the origin of Moses is revealed along with some background on the Driver, Alabaster Graves.

Now, as much as I liked the first issue, there were a few things that were bothering me. However, after reading Decapitated Dan’s interview with series writer John Heffernan, some of my concerns were put to rest and allowed me to enjoy Driver for the Dead #2 a bit more. Fleshing out the characters here was a good move and their back stories are actually interesting; I had the hero Alabaster Graves pegged wrong. He’s actually just a good guy doing something that he believes in, and has the experience to kick a bit of ass and protect himself in his unusual line of work. Fallow as the villain is just great, because he’s the type that just won’t stop until he’s got what he wants. No amount of begging or negotiating is going to deter him, so the only option is to destroy him. Heffernan does let us know in this issue that there is a way to kill Fallow, it’s just that the means to do it is stuck in the chest of the Loup Garoux, a swamp werewolf!

Leonardo Manco’s artwork is still excellent and is enhanced with the paints by Kinsun Loh and Jerry Choo. Manco is able to convey more than two emotions of the characters, which I’ve noticed is an issue in some other painted books. Characters look a lot more real as opposed to mannequins or dolls forced to play a role on a page. The level of detail and quality doesn’t falter in the calmer scenes, and is just as good as when we get to see Fallow and his crew rip people apart, or Graves shoot it out with the undead. There was an issue I had with the panel layouts, and aside from the one or two splash pages, it was basically the same page after page. At times the long rectangular panels seemed crowded with the artwork, but it looks so good you really don’t mind. I know some people could care less about this, but to me when the panel layout varies it does help break up the monotony of the eye following the same pattern over and over.

Driver for the Dead still has impressed, and I’m really hoping the last issue can close this mini-series out with the same intensity that it began with. So definitely check it out if you haven’t already, or wait for the trade, because it’s bound to look good!

‘Till next time!

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