Driving a muscle car hearse called Black Betty, always dressed appropriately for a funeral, and keeping the glove compartment well stocked with potent charms to ward off evil, Alabaster Graves deals with death's life-problems in Driver for the Dead.
A recurring dream may hint at his true nature (dead people keep reaching out to him in expectation) but his day job keeps the pace moving in this graphic novel by writer John Heffernan, and penciller and inker Leonardo Manco. Paints are applied by Kinsun Loh and Jerry Choo. I'm not a fan of the painted comic format, but here the panels are lively and the scenes are toned well for the grave situations Alabaster always seems to find himself in. Except for an occasional panel where the characters appear "photographically posed," Manco executes the storyline with a wide-screen, cinematic approach that runs the action in 6 or so slabs each page. The most exciting and vivid scenes come when people lose body parts and the bayou's foggy swamp churns up its decomposing and loup garou residents for one hectic night.
In Shreveport, Lousiana, Mose Freeman, extractor of nasty supernatural problems, makes his final house-call. His dying words are to have Alabaster Graves pick up his body before something else does. Hitching along for the ride is Freeman's granddaughter, who, like Alabaster, doesn't realize her true nature, either. The get-to-know-you chit-chat is supplanted by encounters with that something else, driving hard with a few biker deadbeats looking the worse for death. Freeman's body has potential since its sopped up a lot of magical energy over the years, and one long undead necromancer wants it for his own purpose. How the stiff finds out about Freeman's body (a vision) is a bit B-movie script convenient, but since it leads to butting heads with Alabaster, I'm okay with it.
Alabaster takes a licking and keeps on kicking vampire, werewolf, and witch's butt with heavy firepower and lucky charms that go beyond a little graveyard dirt and High John the Conqueror's root. The backstories for him and the necromancer, well placed in the action so they don't break it up and slow it down, mix Styx and Marie Laveauprovenance, giving Heffernan's hoodoo framework a rich pedigree to work from.