Review: Heads #1 (Rik Jackson Comics)

With it’s second instalment currently on Kickstarter, we take a look at Rik Jackson’s initial outing of Heads, a sinister and unnerving crime thriller about a private detective trying to solve a case about three girls wearing very bizarre heads. Can this comic put all the pieces together to make itself a success or will it wind up unsold?

Publisher: Rik Jackson Comics
Writer: Rik Jackson
Artist: Rik Jackson
Price: £3 from Rik’s Big Cartel Store

The story of Heads follows Private Detective Steve Datsun who, along with his colleague Higgins, is hired to investigate the robbery of a tribal statue from the office of an expert on the statue’s origins. However, Datsun isn’t prepared for what turns up when a video camera reveals the thieves to be three young women wearing unusually large and round heads as masks, along with comically big gloves. Now Datsun and Higgins begin to look into this trio of unusually apparelled ladies, who they’ve heard rumours about – which relate to a series of thefts at locales which are seemingly worthless. But can they find out the relevance of these seemingly unusual robberies and, more importantly, who are those girls with those heads!

With Heads, Rik Jackson has created an incredibly intriguing story. From the offset, Heads feels slow, but this isn’t detrimental to the story. It actually helps it, as it moves at a leisurely, consistent pace. This story offers very little in terms of what exactly is going on, which helps give a real sense of mystery and sells Heads as being a proper detective story – something which is helped to sell by the previously mentioned pacing. This is further enhanced by the lead character, Steve Datsun who feels incredibly detective-like in this story, imbuing a sense of famous P.I.’s like Chandler’s Marlowe or Pelecanos’ Strange but with a British twist. The script feels tight with little to nothing included feeling superfluous or beyond what is necessary to tell the story, with every item and person having their place.

Heads up!

Jackson’s art style, meanwhile, is rather rough around the edges with some panels throughout the book looking ‘off.’ This is best exemplified during the driving sequence where Datsun’s posture behind the wheel looks ‘ uncomfortable’ to put it best. However, this doesn’t infringe on the overall enjoyment of the book. The art feels fitting for the tale being told, with the roughness in the shading really matching the grim and gritty atmosphere surrounding our hero. Jackson imbues a real Noir sensibility to a number of shots, especially those which focus on the lead character, and helps cement that detective look. Of course, Jackson does offer some variety to his style as the titular girls as well as a final prison scene are deeply unsettling and hint that this comic could be more of a horror book than first assumed.

While it takes a couple of pages to get on board with, Rik Jackson has made Heads into a really enjoyable read. With a well thought out and compelling story and some creepily good art work that suits the writing nicely. While there are some niggles to the title, it does nothing to impede the overall enjoyment and, if future instalments can follow on or improve upon this, Heads could turn out to be a really great crime story.