Basketful of Heads #5 – Joe Hill, Writer; Leomacs, Dan McDaid, Artists; Dave Stewart, John Kalisz, Colorists
Ray – 7/10
Ray: Horror is often a problematic genre, with women being casually slaughtered for drama or even comedy at times, but the Hill House line has eschewed that “tradition” with a collection of strong leads – including the haunted Alice Dealey and Daphne Byrne, among others.
Unfortunately, I don’t feel like the flagship title, Basketful of Heads, has escaped the roots of the genre in the same way the other books have. June is unquestionably the lead here, but she’s also almost constantly the victim until she manages to strike back with her magic act. So much of the book is watching horrible things happen to her and waiting until she gets a lucky break. That’s definitely the case for Basketful of Heads #5, which manages to spend the entire time hyping us up for revenge that doesn’t come this issue.
When we last left off, June had been captured by the Sheriff’s son, the utterly disgusting Hank, who’s fond of electrocuting her and then complaining when she pees herself.
The previous victims of the ax have been a little more ambiguous – the scuzzy convict who acted out of a mix of desperation and cruelty, and the rage-filled trucker who didn’t know when to walk away. But in Hank, this title finally has a true villain, and Hill dials up the loathsomeness to eleven. This is a well-written book, but it’s also an uncomfortable one to read, as it’s little more than Hank monologuing about his disgusting views on women and how he and his father drove his ex-girlfriend to suicide. His father seems pretty clearly to be the big bad of the run, but he’s kept off-page in Basketful of Heads #5. Instead, the issue builds to a showdown where Hank finally discovers June’s horrifying cargo, and we get a face-off of gun vs. enchanted ax. With two issues to go, it seems likely a few more people will fall under June’s ax, but to what end?
There’s very little dramatic momentum beyond the inherent horror of the concept.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.