After an extensive video teaser campaign, a promise of a film adaptation in 2014 and being deemed the most pre-ordered title in Arcana’s publishing history, Head Smash is finally here. But is it the smash that it promised to be?
Head Smash is written by Vlad Yudin and Eric Hendrix and illustrated by Tim Bradstreet and Dwayne Harris. This graphic novel follows Smash, an anti-hero that is seeking revenge whilst attempting to locate his wife, who has been taken by his mentor and former boss, Maurice. The story takes place in a city called Ares and, make no mistake about it, this city is filled with war, between rebels and The Horde. The Horde runs Ares as if it were a totalitarian state. They control and own everything. They use fear and cult like indoctrination to stay on top. “You live by The Horde, you die by The Horde.” Smash had been one of the high-ranking officials in The Horde, Maurice’s right hand. But betrayal leads to sworn vengeance and Smash is about to do what he does best.
Smash is nobody special. He is not a mutant, not a demigod, not even an Alien. He is a man armed with a high risk mentality and a drive for vengeance. He manages to get his hands on a mysterious serum which gives him super strength but at a severe cost (not the financial type).
What ensues are pages of hyper violence (of a beautifully graphic nature). I use the term beautiful as it really adds to the story. Even though Smash has managed to juice himself up, we do not have unrealistic battles. The battles are primal, believable and unforgiving. Harris’ line-art style and his use of contrasting colours really add to the violence, whilst giving it that Noir look and feel. Every page is highly detailed and Harris’ experience of drawing War Hammer and Game of Thrones really shows.
The story is great too. Yes, the plot may seem simple but do not be fooled. Head Smash is written carefully and is filled with little twists and reveals throughout its 148 pages. A title that seems as though it is a once off story about revenge ends up being very promising. It is promising enough to get the reader to believe that a big screen adaptation can follow in 2014. With Bill Paxton doing the voice acting in the re-release teaser trailers, maybe Yudin is on to something.
Overall, this graphic novel made for a great read. Yudin has said that it is part one of a three book vision. Book one is a solid story that stands on its own legs, irrespective of a sequel or prequel. Find out how far Smash will go in order to be the family man that he wants to be. And remember, “To obey is to die.”