Grant Morrison (writer), Darick Robertson (artist) Tony Avina (colorist)
The story: Nick Sax gets to have an important conversation with Happy the Horse while Mr. Blue men get closer to him.
The Review: For a while, this title seemed to be Grant Morrison doing his very best to parody Garth Ennis, incorporating a heavy use of colorful language, harsh reality and violence in every issue. The one thing that made this something more than a clever parody was the title character himself: Happy the horse. With an unfettered optimism and a sense of fun, the inclusion of Happy to the impossibly grim situation of Nick Sax trouble made for an entertaining comic, but in this issue, we get some very important revelations and answers that elevate the title a bit.
One of these answers is just how Nick Sax became such a wreck. It is done in an intelligent way, showing various instances of his family and working life as a happy man before one single thing puts him in big trouble. The panels go at a steady pace, filling in with some choice dialogue from various moments that could be a little bit before and after what happens in these particular panels. This give us insight on how everything went wrong for Nick Sax just because of one mistake that attracted a boat load of trouble.
This answer gives way to another powerful scene where Nick Sax challenges Happy to finally see the harsh realities of life. As Happy sees this, it is disheartening to see the beacon of optimism that was Happy reduced to such a state. The comic makes us readers get plenty of truly emotional moments such as this, either through telling the tragic past of Nick Sax or the realization that life is not such fun after all by Happy the horse.
It is precisely when Happy is at his lowest that we get the big revelation of the series and the issue. Perhaps some would have seen it coming, yet I was genuinely surprised, making it a truly great moment full of interesting development for Nick Sax.
Right then, the mood of the comic changed, turning into its own beast rather than being some kind of parody of utterly grim comics as it turn into a true Morrison comic. It sets up rather nicely to what will eventually happen in the final issue, yet Morrison could still surprise us just like he did in this issue.
What is not surprising at all, though, is Darick Robertson talent. He truly kills it with very human and well-done facial expressions as well as the mannerism of his characters. You truly get how each character feels, be it either Nick, Saw, or Happy. His scenery and background do not leave to be desired too, as you can see he has done his homework, with everything from benches, trains and building looking very good. He is, of course, helped by Tony Avina who does a very convincing job with his somber palette of colors that meshes very well with the brighter Happy.
The conclusion: An excellent issue full of amazing art with great plot and character development. I am officially excited to read the finale now.
Hugo Robberts Larivière