- Writer: Alexander Banchitta
- Illustrator: Robert Ahmad
- Letterer: Fred C Stresing
- Headless Logo: Gabe Pinto
- Scout Production: Kurt Knippel
Headless is a comic series that is currently published by Scout Comics, it is a new book from our associate, Alexander Banchitta, whose books we reviewed in the past. Now, heading into this issue, I knew nothing about what Headless would bring to the table. However, by the title I assumed the book could be about a murder mystery. Whereas, Wheelz hypothesized, correctly, that this would be a horror-action series based on the ever-popular “headless” gothic horror character. Yet, upon reading the first issue I am more intrigued as to see where it will continue in future issues. So, with this minor introduction out of the way let’s begin our review…
Summary & Review:
Our story begins on October 1, 1987, in the town of Salem, Massachusetts. A double homicide has recently occurred, and the local authorities are already on the scene discovering the bodies in the kitchen. Now, given by the bit of dialogue between police officers, readers can see there is something different going on. The presiding officers of the case immediate send the rookie on a coffee run, and mention how the rookie’s recent transfer was to avoid suspicion. Whereas, further examination of the corpses, the lead officers realize a demonic entity is at large. They proceed to exorcise the demon from the house using a Christian incantation. The exorcism scene is brief but ultimately intense, as illustrator Robert Ahmad depicts the demon and its exorcism in a vintage horror comic style; it has that cool simple texture and depth that fades out as the demon is sent back to hell. Yet, upon defeating the demon, the lead officers come to the revelation that it was summoned by another and much stronger entity, which we will address later…
We then transition to our second act which set in an arcade, where our lead teenager Chris is playing an adventure game based on Banchitta’s and Ahmad’s comic Captives. Ahmad’s use of pink/ magenta to visually show the change in not just scenes, but depth of reality; it gives the perception on how the game is virtual and fictitious to contrast with the blue used for this world’s reality. Chris is desperately trying to clear the game, but he and his group of friends quickly get caught up with bullies. Chris’ friends instead of caving to the bullies demands rather put up a fight. However, Chris does not want a petty fight leading towards serious injuries or repercussions to occur for either party, so he just walks away. Now, during the initial reading of the issue, this scene made me wonder if Chris’ choice to not fight was foreshadowing our eventual conclusion of the issue, or was the conclusion the explanation as to why he does not want to fight? Once we get to that conclusion maybe you, our readers, can figure out where my mind was going.
Back at the crime scene, the senior officers discuss consulting with “the elders” and that they are connected to the Knights Templar, as the rookie returns with the coffee and donuts. The senior officers end their conversation regarding “the elders” around the rookie, who is quickly pressing his superiors for information on the case. Deputy Smith grows tired of the rookie questioning their procedures, so Smith tries to back him down with the threat of murder. The other officers quickly break up the situation as the lead female officer, Sanders, uses the opportunity to avoid having to meet the elders. Instead Sanders drives Rick, the rookie, home and uses the excuse that she needs to check on her aging mother again. On their to Rick’s house, he explains to Sanders how everything in Salem is odd and how it almost feels like there is a conspiracy afoot. However, Sanders detours Rick from the truth by just saying how he is just having trouble adjusting to his transfer. Also, Sanders jokes how she will teach Rick the quickest routes beginning in the morning. Now, this relationship being formed between Rick and Sanders I do not see being a romantic one currently, but as another officer looking out for one another.
Anyways, Rick enters his house and proceeds to check on his younger brother, who turns out to be Chris. Rick barges into Chris’ room to check on him, which scares Chris cause he could not hear him due to blasting music. Chris tells Rick to get out, so Rick complies and says, “don’t any breakfast in the morning with that attitude.” Nevertheless, with Rick gone a fiendish demon appears; the demon resembles Stripe from Gremlins dressed as biker with wings! The demon refers to Chris, as his master and that he is Chris’ guardian, sent to assist him in becoming his actual master. However, Chris must listen to tape from “himself” before the demon or he can proceed, but Chris does not want to comply. So, rather than following the instructions, the demon takes action into his own hands by mystically decapitating Chris, and turning him into “The Headless Horseman!”
Now, like I mentioned in the introduction, just receiving this issue to review I assumed it was just a basic horror-mystery comic. Where the title was regarding to the decapitation of the victim(s). However, it turned into a horror-action series surrounding the Headless Horseman. I feel as though there is potential for a good story to be told with the Horseman. The mythos around the actual character is always changing from writer to writer since 1820 when Washington Irving published “The Legend in Sleepy Hollow.” Also, coming out in late Summer and leading into Fall, it is the perfect title to capitalize on allure of Halloween. Besides the concept of the Horseman and demons, I like how the premiere issue brings together its acts and introduces the bulk of its cast for its run. Hopefully, future issues will continue this format of storytelling of having the third act connect both, the A Plot and B Plot. Overall, Headless has an interesting start, and I have no clue as where its plot is going in our following issues. I will admit this is not my go to genre for comics, but I am have been pulled in enough by Issue 1 to want to read more.