Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Basketful of Heads #1 Review

Heads Up!

Writers: Joe Hill
Artist: Leomacs
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Deron Bennet
Editors: Mark Doyle & Amedeo Turturro
Release Date: October 30th, 2019
Cover Price: $3.99

Review written by Joey Casco of

Hill House is finally here and thank goodness! When this project was announced I was dropping books from my pull list left and right and was just about to look into some indie horror comics to start reading. So it really was perfect timing for me. I get the change that I need but still can support the comic company that I love, even if they're giving me a rough time right now. Because of that and how excited I am about it, I signed up right away to review all five of the titles for Weird Science. 

The first to be released is Basketful of Heads set in September of 1983 on Brody Island, Maine. Writer Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King and a fantastic writer in his own right, so of course, it's set in Maine. Where else would it be?

We start the story off on a rainy morning before sunrise with somebody wearing a raincoat and carrying a basket over a bridge. The basket is covered with a small American flag and there are voices bickering from underneath. We see an eye peak out. What's in there? Could it be... A BASKETFUL OF HEADS??? Just as this person is about to dump the contents of the basket over the bridge, a pickup truck rolls up. The driver tells the person that it's too early to be walking in this weather, and then asks what's in the basket. I've got a feeling they're going to regret asking.

But first, before we find out, we have to see just how we got here and are taken back to, what I assume, is the previous day on that same bridge.

We meet our two main characters, June Branch and Liam Ellsworth, who have stopped to look at the view. Liam was summer help for the Brody Island Police Department but his last shift before he heads back to school has just ended. June, his college girlfriend, has come to visit him from Bates. They're just driving around in the police dune buggy and talking about things for some character development, and we learn that June is a bit of a freak between the sheets.

Liam also recalls an incident over the summer where a girl committed suicide by jumping off the bridge with rocks stuffed in her backpack. He tried to quit because it was so hard on him, but Chief Clausen told him "a police officer gets paid to be there for someone in their worst hour" and that he had been there for her, even if she didn't know it. I liked that.

Then they come across the police on the side of the road with inmates on the ground, and Liam rushes to see what's happening. We meet Chief Wade Clausen, and it's pretty clear that his entire family is very close to Liam and he seems like a genuinely nice guy. Four inmates escaped while cleaning up the road, but Clausen isn't too worried about the safety of the community because it's not like they were violent criminals. He tells Liam to take June and go to the Clausen house for dinner while he and the cops try to bring the inmates back into custody.

The Chief has a beautiful house, an outspoken and tough as nails wife, and a son who comes off as kind of a dick. They give June the tour of the house, including the Chief's collection of historical Norse items... and some pretty awesome axes. During dinner, both the Chief's son and wife are called away by the Chief himself. The inmates were attempting to steal a boat and the owner went to go chase them away, but he fell down the big rocky steps all the way to the rocks below and died, so now they have to go and console his wife.

This sets the stage for June and Liam to be alone in that massive house with a storm coming. And with inmates on the loose. And yes, they do get in.

Bits and Pieces

The vast majority of this issue is setup and character development, and it feels like it's a lot longer than 22 pages because it's so wordy. It's not the most entertaining issue but I enjoyed the conversations that were taking place, and the art fits the tone and story very well. I feel like I know these characters pretty damn well now and I'm ready to see what's about to happen to them. And I'm really ready to see those axes be put to use.


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