HEAD LOPPER VOL 03: KNIGHTS OF VENORA
Writer/Artist: Andrew Maclean
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Publisher: Image Comics
It’s time to dive back into the adventurous story of our favorite giant warrior Head Lopper, preferably known as Norgal. For those who haven’t been introduced to him, he is a mighty fighter tasked with protecting the head of the blue witch Agatha. Literally just the head, she might be decapitated but she’s alive and well. Very much so that she seems to hold special powers... to annoy the hell out of Norgal. The two don’t particularly get along, Agatha wanting to flee and Norgal having to retrieve her no matter what costs. So far they have walked very interesting paths together, met and said goodbyes to an array of characters, fought amazing battles. If you like fantastical adventures and appreciate D&D, you will no doubt enjoy this run.
The first two trades were action packed, exceptionally charming and beautiful, in short an absolute treat to read. Head Lopper is created, written and illustrated by Andrew Maclean with the incredible Jordie Bellaire responsible for the colors. HEAD LOPPER was self published for a while before being picked up by Image Comics.
Maclean’s art style is incredibly bold and detailed yet also simplistic. His shading varies from hard lines to complete blacked out parts, reminiscent of Mike Mignola’s work. Another thing that makes HEAD LOPPER stand out even more, is the color work. Jordie Bellaire once again working her magic. Rarely have I been so obsessed by how much the colors add to the storytelling.
In volume three we go deeper into our main characters origins and get introduced to vicious goblins waging war near Venoriah. After an introduction by our mighty and vulnerable warrior, we see Agatha going somewhere sometime before her decapitation. She was called to a meeting of witch folk, that ends in absolute shenanigans and turns out to be the moment she meets Head Lopper.
Maclean’s storytelling gets intricate by revisiting this past event multiple times while the reader is discovering certain things in current time. Sometimes flashbacks can get tiring, but Maclean succeeded in making the story more suspenseful this way.
As a tradition in these trades, new characters get introduced. The additions of both friend and foe are always quick but never feel rushed. In this book we meet the swords of Venora, a set of honorable knights. Two of them run into goblins and crash down near Norgal’s campsite. As Head Lopper comes to their rescue it seems that he has a special connection to them. He escorts them to the nearest place for medical help, the swords’ hometown Venoriah. A city with high political tension and a mysterious giant stone that’s an important religious relic to both habitants and goblins. Normally there is no magic allowed, but Head Lopper and “his talking basket” are granted refugee by the word of the third sword and the grace of the king. Even though they found shelter, the war is following right behind them.
HEAD LOPPER & THE KNIGHTS OF VENORA is stacked with epic battles, physical and political. Norgal keeps slaying left and right, his head lopping as always perfectly illustrated by Maclean. I’m very curious to see what the future holds and what other amazing characters and places we’re about to discover. With every trade a story arch is completed and ends with Norgul continuing his journey elsewhere. The same goes for this third volume, we say our goodbyes as Head Lopper is preparing to set off on his camel (you could never guess the name Norgal gave him). A kick ass story with such a great variety of badass characters, I just can’t recommend this story enough.