Review: Head Lopper #6
Writer, Artist, Letters: Andrew Maclean
Colours: Jordie Bellaire
Publisher: Image Comics
Whether you’ve opened a copy of Head Lopper of not, you’ll have to admit, it’s been pretty hard to ignore the critics and their words of high praise, circulating like an out of work greyhound. “HEAD LOPPER is what you’d get if Mike Mignola wrote an issue of Brian Wood’s Northlanders by way of James Stokoe’s ORC STAIN.” – Multiversity Comics. High praise indeed, but does the reality match up the whims of the industry?
Stylistically speaking, the series has opted for a cartoonish, childhood-invoking look to the books and this sixth issue feels comfortable in its skin. Norgal, affectionately known as Head Lopper due to his decap penchant, travels onwards on his mission to defeat a friendly chap known as Ulrich the Twice Damned, and thus release a host of prisoners from The Crimson Tower. Norgal has been joined on this mission by a band of warriors who, as we have seen previously, are not as infallible as the viking-esque barbarian himself. The plot thus offers downs as well as ups which makes for a comic with more depth. If we haven’t already grown affection for the characters, seeing them suffer does just that. We should expect dark twists. However, these are married with darker humour that outstays its welcome. Norgal is leader, teacher, inspiration but also a source of judgement. The fellowship, and reader alike, are always kept on their toes.
The great thing about the art is that because it’s clearly a cartoon style, you have no choice but get immersed fully into the bold colours and madcap facial expressions. Maclean has employed some great perspective shots with vistas becoming distorted momentarily, keeping us on our toes once again. The pencilling doesn’t have to be clean but instead allows glorious fills and shading by the colour artist. The lettering a reasonably minimal, with much more emphasis on the flow of action. Dialogue is at times profound and deeply symbolic, in my opinion at least, and we again feel a much deeper connection with the characters as a result. Unexpected plot twists left me feeling nervous for the next issue. Great!
To sum up, it’s a bolshy series and needed some bolshy art and writing. We got both. Check it out especially if you want a break from the uber-realistic, macho tainted titles out there. Also, leave room to enjoy the image gallery at the end, which was welcome touch. It can be all too easy to forget the scope of the art in a series sometimes.
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Review written by Arun S.