Head Lopper (Issue 5)


Mar 21, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

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Fans of fantasy adventure comics should rejoice as Andrew MacLean's Head Lopper has returned. The story follows Norgal, the titular 'lopper and his mouthy trophy-head, Agatha Blue Witch. It's recommended to read the first trade not from a plot point (this a tried and true episodic adventure) but from a sheer enjoyment level. Head Lopper #1-4 are crisply drawn stories full of immersive action and character driven plots, this new volume, The Crimson Tower, continues this effort. Jordie Bellaire replaces Mike Spicer as colorist but the comic remains a vibrant joy. MacLean knows his craft and clearly enjoys bringing Norgal, his allies and nemeses to life on the page.

The second volume begins not with Norgal and Agatha, but an inhabitant of the island where the Crimson Tower lies. This is Twerpal, who is highly suspect of religiosity his people place on the tower and a clear disappointment to his father. He even gets assaulted by him for his heresy. It's touches like these that set Head Lopper apart. MacLean can use violence with great cartoonish effect but can also display its very seriousness, despite the bright colors and cherubic figures. Norgal and new warrior friends Xho and Zhaania quickly get wrapped up with Twerpal and the machinations of the Crimson Tower and its undead master, Ulrich the Twice Damned. A gauntlet of traps and monsters ensues and MacLean's fighting scene chops are once more on display.

While Norgal is a well-used trope, the magic hating, sword-swinging barbarian, he is still a fun protagonist to root for. The colorful cast MacLean surrounds Norgal with, however, more than makes up for this (Bik, Twerpal's little brother, steals the show in this issue). Most importantly, the story he weaves around Head Lopper & Co. are tight, impactful and cleverly constructed.

The first issue of this new story arc has all of these qualities and ends with a tantalizing, literally blood-soaked cliffhanger. It should not be missed. (www.imagecomics.com/comics/releases/head-lopper-5)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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