The Helm is like a Jack Black movie on paper. Mathew Blurdy is a fat former video-store clerk who lives in the basement of his mother’s house until one fateful day. On that day, Mathew found himself, in quick succession, dumped by his girlfriend, fired from his job, and in possession of a bizarre mystical helmet. The helmet was apparently intended to fall into the hands of a truly heroic man, but Mathew snaps it up. Naturally, the helmet hates Mathew while he loves the idea of having it. And so the hijinks begin.
It’s hard to avoid comparisons to movies when thinking about this comic, because it looks so much like writer Jim Hardison’s attempt to create a fun Hollywood fantasy movie. Mathew is corpulent; the helmet is scathing but funny, and in issue #2 we begin to see a bit of redemption and learning on Mathew’s part. He starts to work out and takes lessons on using a sword. Even his ex-girlfriend notices the difference and decides to take Mathew back.
In the meantime there appear to be frightening consequences to Mathew’s actions. In the first few pages of this issue, we see him kill a nasty wizard, who also happens to be an ordinary antique shop owner. And at the end of the issue we begin to see evil forces become arrayed against Mathew, forces that no doubt will be the subject of this comic’s rousing conclusion.
But mostly this comic is all about the silly moments, especially the pure hatred that the helmet feels towards Mathew. It had hoped to be on the head of a man who looked something like Thor, God of Thunder, but instead found itself on the head of the voluminous Volstagg. The helmet’s angry reactions, combined with Mathew’s hope, make this a really charming and clever interaction.
Bart Sears’s art is just right for this book. I’ve never been a big fan of Sears and his storytelling style, but here, perhaps due to the assistance of finisher Randy Elliott, Sears’s tone is just right. I love how Sears spares no detail to show readers just how much of a loser Mathew his. Sprinkled around his very messy bedroom are tons of little Easter eggs that most readers will really recognize. His depictions of the fantasy realms in this comic are really right on as well; things looks nicely familiar while still seeming light and silly.
This is a fun little series, and I expect to read any day about Hollywood optioning it for a silly summer comedy.