MINOR SPOILERS BELOW
Head Lopper is back! One of the weirdest, most violent, yet beautifully drawn books in comics returns, and I am excited. This title was one of my favorites last year, even with only four issues. Now, they’re four long issues, but we still only had four issues total. With Head Lopper #5 comes a new arc called “The Crimson Tower” and for good reason. This issue has a lot of blood, some heads being lopped, and more blood. It is a ton of fun. This book is part fantasy, part Viking, part eighties movie, part Adventure Time, and all awesome. This comic takes elements from all of those things and blends them into one of the most unique things out there right now in any medium, and it works very well.
Andrew Maclean writes, draws, does the letters, and designs the look of the comic book. Certainly, he isn’t the only creator to wear multiple hats in the comic book industry, but what is incredible is he is one of the ones who wear all of those hats so well. The story is great, the art is jaw dropping, the books overall design fits into the book’s tone perfectly, and even the lettering has his style all over it. The only other person that helps Andrew on the book in any of the art, is Jordie Bellaire. By now you should know who that is, as they are one of the best colorists in the industry, and the colors in this book are a large part of what makes it great. The art looks like stills from a cartoon and a great cartoon at that. There are certain scenes where I was prepared to start seeing the water move, or a torch flicker. It is that good. It looks like I paused my TV, and at any moment, I can hit play, and watch it all play out. So as far as the art goes, I don’t think you get much better than Maclean, and Bellaire.
As for the story itself, we follow our favorite head lopper, Norgal, and the grouchy witch head on his back, Agatha. We again get some great comedy relief from Agatha and others from the book, but to me, she always makes me laugh the hardest. Maclean knows the ridiculousness of having a witch head that was a head that Norgal lopped on his journey with him, and it gives some great moments in the book. With the head lopper are Xho, and Zhaania, two warriors that have joined his side, with their own cause and quest within the tower. They arrive at The Crimson Tower, which is on an island where a race called the Fonga believe that having one of their own enter the tower will bring greatness to their people. This also gives us Bik, and Twerpal, two brothers. Twerpal is tasked with watching after his little brother, Bik by his mother, but when he finds he has wandered off, he soon discovers where he went, and that brings the both of them to the tower, and where our heroes are. From here the book has everyone that is in the tower fighting and solving puzzles to survive and escape it. This is similar to stories like The Hunger Games or The Running Man or even Krull for you eighties fantasy fans. This is where the book cranks it up to eleven, and leaves it in a spot where I cannot wait to return with the next issue.
I won’t lie, Head Lopper is a violent book. Yes, it’s in a fun cartoon style, and in the vein of shows like Samurai Jack and Adventure Time as I mentioned before, but there is well, obviously, head lopping, and quite a bit of blood. Somehow, the book is still one of the prettiest things I have ever seen. That’s a testament to how good Maclean and Bellaire are. I loved the first four issues, and I loved this as well. This issue showed there is no sign of stopping with Head Lopper, and I cannot wait for the next three issues of this arc. The first chapter as Maclean calls it of “The Crimson Tower” is fantastic, original, and so much damn fun.
Story/Art/Letters: Andrew Maclean Color: Jordie Bellaire
Story: 9.0 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy
Image provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review