Review: Gravetrancers #1

Our tale begins with a brother and sister duo on a road trip in the middle of the night. Anthony is driving and heckling his sister, Maribel, AKA Marble. She’s very distant and they’re reminiscing about their father. Well, I’m not sure if I should use the word reminiscing. Anthony seems to have a few fond memories of his dad, but not many. Maribel remembers him well and is very vocal about wishing she didn’t.

The duo has traveled across three states to visit their dad’s grave. Maribel obviously didn’t have the best relationship with him. It seems the only reason Maribel is even there is for Anthony’s moral support. She also mentions that her sponsor think’s this is a good exercise for her. Forgiveness is a good step towards healing your own wounds after all. It doesn’t take long for them to reach their destination.

Anthony drives up to a large wrought iron fence, and it’s obvious they’re reached the memorial park. Maribel makes an observation with the name by asking if there are rides and peanuts. I’m right there with you, very odd name choice. Well, things get even odder from here. As they park they’re greeted by the cemetery’s owners who appears to be a family that live on the lot in a large Victorian home. These folks are being extremely accommodating and friendly to Anthony and Maribel.

The family takes the siblings on a tour of their facility explaining the services they offer. Pretty much if you have a dead body and want it buried they can take care of it from embalming to cremation and finally burial. Maribel asks to use the restroom while this is going on and they instruct her to go to the fourth door. They’re actually rude about it and tell her multiple times. This is where my bad feeling gets a bit more spiked, and the next scene only adds onto it.

We find out here that the grave digger didn’t do his job and he’s getting chewed out for it. He had three days to get the grave ready. So he is instructed to go outside with some quick-crete and we can see he’s changing the name on an existing tombstone. Anthony and Maribel are being stalled in the house.

When the grave digger returns from changing the tombstone. Here we learn that his name is Shovel, and he leads the siblings to the grave site. Once they arrive both siblings tear up until Maribel notices what is inscribed on the tombstone “beloved/devoted/father” and she breaks down in a fury kicking at the tombstone.

Obviously that concrete didn’t have time to cure and you can see the name of another person showing through. And, that’s when Shovel hits the siblings with his, well, shovel and destroys their cell phones. The siblings wake up in a dark room and they’re strapped to chairs. There’s a strange man hovering over them and it looks like he’s already injected Anthony with something. He moves on to Maribel, and throughout the entire story she has been saying “227 days” which leads me to assume that’s how long she’s been sober. Can Anthony and Maribel escape this horror show?

Something I really like about this comic is it has a basis on an actual story. A few years ago in Chicago there was a funeral home disposing of bodies illegally and lying to families, writer Mark L. Miller talks about this at the end. Obviously the characters are fictional and things are far worse for them in the story than just illegally dumping bodies in a landfill and fraud.

There were also a few points in the story I didn’t describe that were highly disturbing. Horror fans will appreciate that though, especially if they’re more into the violent thrillers. The art meshes well with the story to convey the violent nature. I only had one complaint and that was the character’s faces all look very similar. I had to pay close attention to clothing, hair color, and eye color to differentiate between characters. But, overall the story is strong, disturbing, and fresh.

Rating: 7/10

Gravetrancers #1 is available at comic book retailers everywhere.

Sheena Fisher AKA cosplayer Sheena Bot. She and her husband have been making cosplay magic since 2008. She has been consistently writing comic reviews for titles Harley Quinn, Supergirl, and Rat Queens. Sheena and her husband like to collect money for charities at different conventions during the weekend. By day she works as an Enrollment Agent at MorphoTrust. She is a Fairmont State University graduate with a bachelor's degree in Family & Consumer Sciences. Follow her on Faceboook: sheenabotcosplay