This new wave horror comic about a hearse driver trying to get his supernatural mark to the funeral comes to a close with this issue. Now Graves’ plans have gone to hell, just about literally, and it’s going to take one big action spectacular ending to put everything where it needs to be. Will it all make sense? No, but if the teen trapped within you is missing the brand of horror that made this genre in cinema stale for about 15 years after the last great hits the likes of Craven, Cronenberg, or Raimi, then this comic will take you back to a time when tough guys ruled and bad guys were just cannon fodder with a more sinister sneer.
This issue opens with a montage of the titular hero arming himself for the next leg of the journey. Right next to the gator machete he’s got wolfsbane, so you know he’s serious. This is to complete the side mission that will obviously help out right at the end. The fight with the werewolf is interesting but nowhere near anything resembling groundbreaking. This is a colour by numbers job, at best.
There’s a more cerebral moment of introspection before Graves tears into the final fight. We see the true meaning of this character and what he truly means, but that still doesn’t mean you’ll actually care. It’s like putting googly eyes on a rock, it might make it a pet for a few days but it doesn’t bring it to life.
As has been par for this series, the villain steals the show. This necromancer intent on making himself all the more powerful is intriguing in the way you can’t tear your eyes off. He’s the biggest ham on the stage. He’s good value but jumps the shark when he announces his sexually predatory intent on his prey even though spending far too long buried in a coffin rotted off all his offending dangling parts. Never to fear, he’s got a row of formaldehyde jars full of a few inches he can borrow. If you’re keen on this sort of scene then by all means add two more stars to my verdict.
Manco’s art does the job suitably on this title. His gore and horror are effective and the page layouts never get in the way of the story or the spectacle. When he unleashes on a splash you kind of think he should also be drawing heavy metal album covers, and I mean that as a compliment to what he does.
“Driver For The Dead” hasn’t been the greatest book published by Radical and it certainly doesn’t stick the landing. It becomes ludicrous and over the top and kind of disgusting but all in a far too earnest way. This isn’t a story that learnt from the mistakes of the horror genre but, rather it repeats them and seems oblivious to true characterization. There’s some fun to be had here but nothing special. It’s like a video game in structure and tone that never really aims much higher.