Head Lopper Vol. 2: Head Lopper and the Crimson Tower by Andrew Maclean and Jordie Bellaire (2018)

L: 7/10

M: 8/10

Analysis from a Gamestop giftcard found in the parking lot with a balance of .54 cents:

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been three years since we reviewed the first volume of Head Lopper. I can still picture scenes as if it was only read weeks ago. The combination of too many options and not enough time to read, watch, and listen to them all has lead to the lapse in time. I’m glad we finally made the time to check back in with Headlopper and Agatha, the detached Witch head.

It always bums me out when a trade or even a comic doesn’t bother with a synopsis of what previously occurred. A couple of simple sentences summarizing what went down in the last arc is always helpful. This is even more true when three years pass in between check-ins. I read so many comic titles and at various speeds and regularities that I can’t remember what Spider-Man is up to or strange land Head Lopper just rode out of. That aside, the world of Head Lopper is a free forming place, full of mystical backdrops and brightly colored splashes of beasts that all want nothing but murder. While a summary would be excellent, all you need to know is that there is a big dude named Head Lopper who cuts off heads and carries around his companion who happens to be a previously bested indestructible witch, Agatha Blue Witch.

Head Lopper is traveling with a set of characters that I do not remember, Zhaania Kota Ka and Xho, two warrior women, that for one reason or another are along in this quest. The trio head into the Crimson Tower, a Mortal Kombat contest held in a murder tower. The rules aren’t very clear, but the primary mission quickly becomes simple survival. A quest to gather McGuffin’s in the form of glass eyes sets the warriors off into various realms of different colorful environments.

The items are collected, and the remaining heroes are lead to face off with the main bad and ruler of the Crimson Tower, Ulrich the Twice Damned. Formed out of different decaying body parts and mystical items, Ulrich makes his play for Agatha and Head Loppers heads for his collection but is bested by the unkillableness of Lopper and Head.

The worst part of this story is the part I’ve failed to mention, the annoying addition of these little jerkoff Fongal guys. They are terrible in both art and inclusion in the story. I hated them every time they were on a page, and unfortunately, they took up much of the story for me.

Volume two is an excellent continuation of the first story, or what little I can recall from it. The art is beautiful and matches a quickly paced story quite nicely. This story felt a little less silly and more heartfelt, dealing with family dynamics and honor in death. After the story is concluded, Head Lopper immediately reminds us of what we came for with several pretty splash pages of the duo taking on gigantic mystical beasts.

While not enough to wow me to extreme measures, The Crimson Tower was a fun, quick read and a reason to continue on with this series. I’d also like to check out some of Andrew Maclean and Jorie Bellairs’s other work, to see how it translates into a different story setting. Maybe we won’t wait till 2023 to pick up Volume three (already out), but my hunch says we probably will.

Analysis from a Sonic straw with a sneaky tear in the middle:

I love Head Lopper!! This is a comic I will never mind returning to. It is insane and ridiculous, and all of the wonderful things you expect from fantasy like this. As with all comics, I am always confused for the first two pages, but I don’t know that this story requires any real prior knowledge for it to be enjoyed. Sure, you might want to know where the witch head originated, but it isn’t necessary for her to quickly become your favorite character.

The art in this comic is so impressive. After I finished reading it the first time, I went back through to give it another look. I spent some real time studying each page and kept seeing things I had missed previously. I love art that does that. There is so much to look at, and it can seem chaotic at times for sure, but it is so well done and enjoyable.

As far as the storyline goes, there was more depth than I really had anticipated, and I think it was done quite well. It felt like a well-thought outflow. There was a beginning, middle, and end. That seems basic, but not all writing quite grasps the notion. The end of the story didn’t leave me feeling confused or asking too many what-ifs. I was set up for a new adventure, and I cannot wait to go on it!

Andrew Maclean

Jordie Bellaire

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