I’ve been a Mike Baron fan for a long time. My first introduction to his work was Nexus, though I soon followed him over to The Badger & DC’s The Flash. I’ve often found his writing to be character-based with a rather wry sense of humor. So when I heard that he was moving into prose and that his first release was going to be the oddly named Helmet Head, I took notice.
This is pure Grindhouse and I mean that in the best possible way. When I was a child, I would go to the local drive-in and be exposed to a whole series of films that psychologists everywhere would advise against showing to a boy of my young age — and now you know why I turned out like this. I’ve always loved grade-b horror, as a result, with all the over-the-top blood and sex that accompanies those kinds of things. Helmet Head fits in perfectly with that, telling the story of a good copy named Fagan who ends up involved with not only a gang of tough outlaw bikers but with an urban legend involving a motorcycle-riding, katana-wielding undead Nazi with a penchant for beheading people.
The story moves at a brisk pace and is very well told. The characters are easily understandable, with the possible exception of Helmet Head himself – his back story is doled out slowly through most of the book.
If I had a criticism, it would be that some of the Helmet Head stuff felt almost like a “everything but the kitchen sink” kind of thing. I don’t want to give away too much but the presence of Nazi magic & super-science, a possibly magical sword, resurrections and brain transplants, plus all the usual sex & violence made my head spin at times.
If you like the sleazy feel of 1970s exploitation films, then you should really pick this up. I read it on my Kindle in about four days and at the end, I couldn’t look away from the screen. An action-packed tour-de-force that really makes me want to read more from Mike Baron in prose.