Review:Cyrus Perkins and the Haunted Taxi Cab

Cyrus Perkins and the Haunted Taxi Cab

Writer/Colorist/Letterer:Dave Dwonch

Artist:Anna Lencioni

Published by: Action Lab Comics

Cyrus Perkins and the Haunted Taxi Cab has got to be one of my favorite graphic novels I have read this year. I decided to give this graphic novel a shot and it did not disappoint, The story has crime, noir, and supernatural elements blended into it’s writing and its art which also evokes emotion.

The story starts off with the titular protagonist Cyrus Perkins, a taxi cab driver living in New York City, who is driving a fatally injured teenage boy to the hospital. The boy reveals himself to be name Michael Bernbaum. Before Cyrus’ fateful meeting with Michael, he is seen to not like his job as a taxi driver due to dealing with the same passengers.

Cyrus’ life begins to change when he takes Michael to the hospital only for the latter to die in his car. He feels remorse for not saving Michael and as a result, he doesn’t drive the cab for a month. However, his girlfriend Iris and his boss urge him to go back to work. Cyrus eventually drives his cab again and seems to have gotten over Michael’s death. That is until Michael’s ghost appears.

Cyrus learned that Michael does not remember how he died nor does he remember anything about himself. Michael’s spectre also reveals that the reason why he has not crossed over was that he seems “tethered” to the taxi cab that he died in. It is here where Cyrus decides to help figure why Michael was killed.

Cyrus’ mission to find out how Michael, or Mikey as many of his loved ones called him, died leads him to many of Michael’s loved ones and friends. The scene with Michael’s mother kicks off the start of Cyru’s investigation. This was an abovious emotional scene as we learn that Michael, while a good kid and an 4.0 student, started to go on a sownward spiral after his father passed away. The investigation also leads to seeing several of Michael’s friends from his prep school.

Cyrus’ quest to solve the mystery behind Michael’s death makes him quite a detective. In every interview he has with several people, he gets a new lead. A notable scene where this happened when Cyrus interviews Michael’s friend Samuel and Chad.  Samuel blurts out that a girl name Hayley liked Michael which gives Cyrus a new lead and leads him to interview the girl who not only reveals that she had feelings for Michael but also advises Cyrus to find Chad’s brother Mitch.

The character of Cyrus Perkins reminds me almost of the social worker Chandler Jerell, Eddie Murpy’s character from the move The Golden Child. Both characters are taken out of their day-to-day and tasked with helping adolescents while dealing with the supernatural. Both characters’ careers also further their mission. Chandler’s career as a social worker leads him into helping the Golden Child and Cyrus’ career as a taxi driver leads him to gaining leads into solving the murder of Michael.

Cyrus also has a lot of wisdom that sometime makes him look as if he does not practice what he preaches. There is a scene where Michael tells a passanger, who is complaining about a relative, that people change. After getting the bad vibe from a the passanger who tried to kill his girlfriend. Michael reminds Cyrus of those words despite the latter refusing to get involved with stopping the crime. With Michael’s reminder, Cyrus eventually stops the crime by trying to talk down the passenger only to eventually knock him out after he does not listen to him.

Micahel “Mikey” Bernbaum’s character is a comic relief and a foil to the more grounded Cyrus. He acts more juvenile by making faces at several Cyrus’ passengers. However, Michael not only serves as a motivator for Cyrus to solve his murder but he is also a friend and confidant to the reluctant cabbie. When a passenger comes into the cab, Michael warns Cyrus that there is something odd about him and encourages him to stop the passenger. Cyrus follows the passener who is revealed to be a man about to kill his girlfriend. Cyrus stops the attempted murder and the passenger is arrested. We also see that Michael’s friendship with Cyrus is further solidifed when after`Mitch shoots Cyrus, the ghost has a resolve to save his life; simlar to how Cyrus tried to save his.

The characters of Samuel, Chad, and Mitch are seen as potential suspects. When we meet Samuel, he is a nerdy and overweight character who seems timid while Chad is more intimidating and snobbish. The comic did an awesome job by revealing that it was in fact, Samuel who killed Michael after he had the boy perform an satanic ritual and get possessed by a demon. Mitch was seen as a villain who really was not the villain after Cyrus’ figures out the real culprit behind Michael’s murder.

Another character that was interesting was the Claimer of Souls, a ghost-like character that poses as a male detective at the scene of the crime Cyrus stopped. The Claimer is a tall man in a tailored suit and he is seen as someone watching over Cyrus’ actions. The Claimer helps Michael get Cyrus to the hospital safe and sound. He also appears sitting inside Cyrus’ cab telling him that he is “here fo you.”

Cyrus’ girlfriend Iris is seen as a supporting character and a rock. She cares a lot for Cyrus’ well being, notably when he is grieving from Michael’s death. She also constantly reminds him to not smoke. Cyrus loves his girlfriend and muses that she sometimes sounds like his mother. Iris also appears to be either white or some other race while Cyrus is African-American which shows that Action Lab Comics embraces diversity (which I like).

Mors is another character that seemed interesting. We see her in the beginning of the comic speaking to Cyrus. She seems to be a character that offers wisdom to Cyrus involving his life with Iris and his well-being. There were some pages that made me wonder if in fact she and the Claimer are the same character or if she is somehow connected to him. Notable scenes are when Cyrus tells her that “every day is the same, Mors,” only for her to respond “Not today Cyrus” which foreshadows Cyrus’ fateful meeting with Micheal.  Another scene that further piqued my speculation was when she encourages Cyrus to open up to Iris about his ongoing investigation of Michael’s murder. After Cyrus thanks her for talking to him, Mors notes that maybe Iris will “tell you some of her secrets.”

Dave Dwonch has written an awesome story that shows that even a person, like Cyrus Perkins, who is dealing with the day-today can make a huge difference. Dwonch made an average joe cab driver into a bad ass slueth who is driven by empathy for those who are struggling like him.

The art done by Anna Lencioni was really awesome. It reminded me a lot of the Nickolodeon cartoon Danny Phantom, maybe because of the dark colors and the fact that this was a supernatural story. I liked how Micahel’s apparition was green or a teal color which, to me, symbolizes that he is not of the living. I also enjoyed the designs of the characters including Cyrus, Iris, the Claimer and many more.

If you guys have not read this book or if you need a break from the mainstream comics, this would be the book to read. I really enjoyed Cyrus Perkins and the Haunted Taxi Cab and I am looking forward to reading the sequel Cyrus Perkins and Death Brigade whenever it comes out.