The first two volumes of this series were good, fun riffs on the kind of sword and sorcery action made famous by “Conan.” This one digs a bit deeper into the title character and his world as we start by finding out that the death of Zhaania in the previous volume really got to him. Head Lopper, or Norgal as he’d prefer you call him, first spent his days fighting against any nearby monster until his rage was spent. That’s when he turned to drink, and it’s during this time he and talking-witch-head Agatha encounter Arlen, Third Sword of Venora, as she and her giant eagle are trying to get First Sword Balan back to the city. Since the city won’t let him and Agatha in due to a magic ban, he agrees to help them out. While he figures that this will allow him to drown his sorrows still further in all the booze Venora has to offer, Head Lopper is about to find himself smack in the middle of a conflict that will sober him up right quick.
Goblins. Scheming religious leaders. A giant egg meant to house an old god. Evil wizards plotting in the background. “Head Lopper & the Knights of Venora” has all this and more to offer the reader who can persevere through its non-linear structure. It jumps between two timeframes, with the one in the past showing us how Agatha met Norgal, how she lost her head, and why her head is still alive after that. Meanwhile, the present day crams in a lot -- maybe too much -- villainous scheming and plotting before the goblin attack hits the city and gives the narrative some needed focus. It also allows creator Andrew MacLean to give us some really eye-popping action sequences as the threat against the city gets bigger and the stakes get higher.
You may want to ask yourself: Do I want to read a story where a man has to cut a giant snake into segments in midair in order to allow the ninja rogue who was inside of it to jump to safety? “Head Lopper vol. 3” has you covered if that’s the kind of action you’d like to see! That there’s a good story that promises to lead somewhere interesting underneath that style almost feels like a bonus.