Filed under: Comic Reviews, Image Comics | Tags: Darick Robertson, Grant Morrison, Happy, Image Comics, Nick Sax, Richard P. Black
Issue #1 of Happy from Grant Morrison became an instant hit with me and nestled itself in that must-read niche……but could this keep a high momentum throughout?
We pick up where we left of in issue #1 (reviewed here) with our ex-cop/hitman, Nick Sax, in hospital with his flying blue cartoon unicorn “hallucination” for company – still can’t believe that’s the subject matter in this one….but it works well. Still drugged up and trying to get his head straight he soon comes under attack as he discovers he’s in a mob hospital. Ultra-violence and excessive swearing from the start in this one but balanced out with the innocent contrast of the blue unicorn trying to help Nick out of his current troubles.
On the run from the mob, Nick has to try to sober up and to somehow make sense of what he’s seeing….and the obvious place to test that is at the poker table he’s lost big at before. A table where some of the scum of the city play for big money but this is really a way to prove that Happy, the blue unicorn is real as only Nick can see it. A high-stakes game plays out with Nick’s uncharacteristic run of luck bringing suspicion from the other players and resentment from Happy. The blue helper disappears to freak him out but then reappears to cut a deal with him……he’ll help him win if he helps rescue Hailey, an as yet unseen girl that needs saving.
The poker progresses but suspicion and an itchy trigger finger sees Nick backed into a corner armed with only a pen….and while we don’t get to see how things spiral out of control from here and the next glimpse we get of the scene is with the police in attendance. All other players dead in what can be assumed to be a Bourne-like fight for his life – the drugged-up, ex-cop still has the moves obviously. Now Nick has the mob and the cops on his tale and he goes back on his deal with Happy to help find/rescue Hailey. The final page lets us see the demented Santa Claus from that front cover in a dingy room draped with less than impressive Christmas decorations and Hailey tied up and gagged on a nearby bed. A deepening of the plot as Happy has a mission and he’s pushing Nick’s buttons to try and get his special brand of “justice” involved.
A midway point of a 4-issue mini from Morrison and it’s already weaved us a number of different plot threads…..with the mob, the cops and now a rescue on the cards…….I’m intrigued to see how the second half plays out. It’s still gritty as I mentioned earlier but surprising given the blend between the real and unreal which were punctuated even further with the artwork from Darick Robertson and especially the colouring from Richard P. Clark. There’s also a vein of humour throughout as the insanity of a flying blue unicorn helping a drunken, ex-cop was almost certainly going to bring. The dark, corrupt world is populated with a colourful and innocent imaginary character like Happy and I’m sure part of the reason it’s been set at Christmas is to try and inject further colour into the dark world we’re steeped in…..again giving that contrast between the good and bad elements.
With the first two issues proving such a marked success I’m sure the remaining half of this arc will continue in the same way and although I was initially disappointed to hear this was only a four-issue run I think that’s a more realistic run to sustain this kind of quality. Still my first issue to read on my pull-list and I’m holding out to see that issue #3.
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