In most stories, the home invasion trope ends with a woman falling and being butchered beyond imagination. But what would happen if said woman could swing one helluva a mean axe? Writer Joe Hill (NOS4A2, Horns) and comic artist Leomacs (Lucifer) present a horror story that puts an unusual twist on the term “heads will roll.” This is a comic you’ll definitely want to check out.
Basketful of Heads #2 picks up where issue #1 left off, with June Branch hiding in the upstairs residence of Wade Clausen, Chief of Police. His home has been invaded by some escape criminals from Shawshank prison. June spends a good portion of the issue in a hamper forced to listen to her boyfriend Liam be tortured for information by the prisoners who are just downstairs. They eventually take her boyfriend out of the house, but one guy stays behind searching for her. The issue serves as an insightful backstory into how June Branch goes from a laid back psych major to a yellow rain jacket-wearing axe murderer.
The latest issue from Hill remains pretty solid throughout and is wildly entertaining. It stays focused and on target with what the first issue laid out. The major noticeable difference from the first issue to the second is the pacing — unlike the slow burn of the previous issue, the suspense dial here is turned up a notch. And that’s not a bad thing.
You can easily tell that Hill is a fan of ’70s and ’80s horror as unlike the horror films of 2019, the pacing was a lot slower back then as well. Take for example films like 1978’s Halloween or Friday the 13th. Another great touch that’s always a callback to any horror film or comic is how the police suck or are not around when anyone actually needs them.
Hill’s dialogue matched with the unpredictability of the plot helps amplify the terror and suspense that June endures throughout the story. It was also great to see that instead of the old dumb blonde trope, Hill chose to take the heroine and make her strategic and fight back against her antagonist. This helps create a more in-depth character that readers can take an interest in and understand what she’s doing and why she’s doing it. Not to mention that it’s nice to switch roles and see a killer fighting to try to save a life instead of taking one.
Where the story is headed is still a mystery, but it seems like it could go in one of two different directions. First, June could go after the other escaped criminals like Jennifer in the cult classic film I Spit on Your Grave and try to save her boyfriend. Or, the ancient Viking Axe with its noticeable glowing red tree insignia could consume her and she could become an axe-welding cross between Jason Voorhees and the maniac fishermen from I Know What You Did Last Summer. Only time will tell.
Leomacs produces some great illustrations that pay homage to classic film locations like Camp Crystal Lake and Camp Arawak. Just like a lot of great horror films, Leomacs’ illustrations do a good job of keeping the reader on the edge of your seat by showing you things that are going to happen next that will entice you to keep reading. For example, Leomacs creates some compelling storytelling showing us the tide knocking out the power within the town. This coincides with and heightens the action between June running from her attacker which in turn makes for an even better sequence.
Basketful of Heads #2 is a very suspenseful and fulfilling issue. Hill and Leomacs do a great job of delivering the reader with backstory along with some intense situational moments. The writing far surpasses the first issue and can only get better from here. The unpredictability of where the plot is headed next really leaves the reader wanting more. Great job all around. Go grab your copy today.
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