Review: Basketful of Heads #3
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Joe Hill
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Deron Bennett
Reviewer: Tony Farina
In Basketful of Heads #3, June, our axe wielding heroine has a heart to heart with the head in her basket. His name is Sal and he is a piece of garbage. He keeps threatening and insulting her, which seems absurd as she has his head in a basket. He tells her that her boyfriend Liam stole money off the body of an almost dead woman. He was working on the chain gang when it happened and they broke out with the intention of getting the money from him.
June doesn’t believe it, but she doesn’t NOT believe it either. Strange things are afoot indeed. She and Sal get picked up by Mr. Hamilton and they try to get to town. He does some nifty exposition about the history of the magic axe she carries. Of course, the storm has knocked down a tree. She tries to cut it up. Mr Hamilton finds Sal’s head. Chaos ensues.
Leomacs really has a knack for this horror stuff and the era in which this story is being told. The early 80’s kitsch is on display from the attention to detail on the clothes, cars and hair. He also manages to make a disembodied head talking seem totally reasonable. He and Dave Stewart also have to do some magic with the visuals as the majority of Basketful of Heads #3 takes place in the rain. They really do a wonderful job of making the reader feel and hear the rain as it pours down.
Joe Hill is really letting this one simmer. The new information about Liam’s dirty deeds juxtaposed against June’s all around good heart is perfect. The “last girl” trope is also being turned on it’s head a bit in that June has a lot of power early on. 80s horror movies often have the last girl bumble around until she has no other choice. June seems really strong and self-sufficient (albeit a bit dumb with her taste in men). Her agency is important and I suspect it will pay off in the end.
Basketful of Heads #3 veers into the supernatural a bit more with some of Hamilton’s exposition. It is not the supernatural that is problematic, but the exposition itself. There was a better way to shoehorn the magic properties of the axe in a previous issue. It makes no sense that rando from the town is the person who explains things. We need the explanation, but narratively, this is the wrong place.
That last page is an excellent cliff hanger but the reveal about what is in June’s pocket is even better. Hill really does keep us guessing. This is an excellent bridge issue. I would strongly recommend readers pick up all of the first three issues and get ready for an axe and chain fight in January.