A Basketful of Heads #1 Review – Ahead in the Game
A Basketful of Heads #1 Review
Written by: Joe Hill
Art by: Leomacs
Colors by: Dave Stewart
Published by: DC Comics
Ok, I missed Halloween by a day, but that doesn’t mean I can’t talk about this issue. In case you haven’t heard, DC’s started a new imprint (because between Black Label, Young Animal, Wonder Comics and Jinxworld, I think we were due for another one) called “Hill House” headed by Joe Hill, writer, and creator of the popular horror comic Locke and Key and son of author Stephen King (there are even a few references to his work sprinkled among this issue). This particular slice of the company is gonna focus on horror comics and, appropriately enough, their first-ever release came out a day before Halloween and it’s written by Hill himself. So, how was it? First, the plot.
June Branch has just come down from Bates to visit her boyfriend, Liam, who’s been working part-time as a cop on Brody Island. After talking for a bit, the two of them find the town sheriff recapturing escaped prisoners and he informs them that two of the prisoners have escaped. That’s… about all, really.
So, if you paid attention to the ads which explained the basic premise, A Basketful of Heads is about talking heads in a basket. You get a little bit of that as prologue in the intro, but then the rest of the issue is essentially character building. I’m of two minds on this.
I do appreciate that Hill’s taking his time with the story. He really focuses on the character interactions so that we can get to know June and Liam and feel their chemistry for a while. Plus, the slower pacing of the conversations and interactions gives the book a more relaxed feeling which works, given that it’s set in the summer.
Unfortunately, this relaxed tone does mean I still don’t know basically anything about the story. A good first issue should be able to introduce the characters as well as prepare the reader for what lies ahead. I’ve gotten to know the characters, that’s for certain, but I’m still clueless about what to actually expect from this comic. Is this book gory? Suspenseful? Sad? Darkly Comedic? All three? None of them? I genuinely don’t know at this point and so the prospect of buying the next issue is slightly diminished because the direction is uncertain.
Despite my complaints, I actually do think the writing in this issue was very good, particularly the various character interactions but after reading it I know as much about where it’s heading as beforehand.
Leomacs art is “good.” I say “good” because he’s really good at details, expressions, and general body language… most of the times. Take this expression from June.
It conveys the fear the character is feeling, and it shows good detail on her face, without being too much, with the shading looking particularly impressive.
Then, flip a few pages back and you get…
Even discounting the second head that denotes movement… No. Just… Just no.
That’s sort of what the whole book feels like. Generally speaking good looking, and then there’s the occasional “Oh boy that doesn’t look great”. Still, I’ve seen a lot worse and I’ll say it looks like a lot of fun. Plus, this book is greatly helped by having Dave Stewart doing the colors, since he’s, in my opinion, one of the best colorists working in the industry right now.
In conclusion, if you don’t want to bet on A Basketful of Heads, I can’t really blame you. It’s well written with mostly good looking art… but unfortunately, this issue is a bit too slow-paced for you to understand what the comic is about and that can make it a bit of a hard commitment for some people. If you can’t spare the space on your pull list, I can’t exactly recommend it, but if you have enough faith in Joe Hill, it’s not bad at all.
A Basketful of Heads #1 Review