HAPPY #4

By: Grant Morrison (Writer), Darick Robertson (Artist), Tony Avina (Colorist)

The Story: Nick Sax gets his thoughts together and goes to save the day for his daughter Hailey and other children.

The Review: Grant Morrison is a tough writer to follow and to review. One second he’s the weird man that brought us The Invisibles and Doom Patrol, the writer that goes to the far-end of his own imagination, bringing us concepts that are thoroughly out of this world, while the other he’s the simple, yet efficacious person who brought us All Star Superman and WE3, more simplistic stories that are still rich with concepts, but are more down-to-earth in their executions.

With Happy, Morrison goes with the second option, for as much as a conceptual story this is, namely, an imaginary friend tries to bring a hired killer to save a little girl. It is fairly straightforward in its storytelling. Here, he seems to go in the same way that he went with WE3, writing a story that accentuates the artistic talent of his collaborator, with Frank Quitely being replaced by Darick Robertson.

It is not to say the story is unimportant, on the contrary. This is the issue where the actual hope being built by Happy to Nick Sax is being brought to light, with Nick confronting both the people trying to harm his daughter and his cynical and downright pessimistic attitude. This lead to some good dialogue and some pretty good, yet utterly violent action in the same way the comic has portrayed it in the past. What kind of brings it down is not the execution, but rather the conclusion as a whole. There are surprises here and there, but not in the actually important points or in the ending, making for something a bit predictable.

As predictable as it was, it was still an enjoyable comic in the right ways, providing us with some great Garth Ennis style parody, some inventive action and scenes and one memorable character, Happy himself. Here, Morrison has actually succeeded in creating a noir, gritty and kind of depressing story, adding elements of Christmas, hope and optimism along the way to create something rather unique, which is something to be commended. If his career continues with that kind of weird, yet original stuff, we may see some great comics ahead.

Of course, like I said earlier, it was Darick Robertson and his dark, moody yet strangely fitting art that made Happy better than it truly was. As an artist, he was at the top of his game here, creating some great contrast with the more hardcore scenes thanks to Happy and the violent stuff that kept happening. In this issue, there is a big splash page that is simply wondrous to look at, simply for the sheer absurdity, yet utter brilliance of the concept that Robertson did justice to. Darick Robertson had peppered that kind of energy and care close to everywhere in this whole mini-series, but it truly shows in this issue, where even though everything looks grim and downright mean-spirited, there are many elements that still inspire hope. It takes skill to properly relay those feelings from the script to the pages, skills that Robertson had in spades. He was of course greatly helped in this by Tony Avina, who does wonder in accentuating the darkness and grim reality around Nick Sax with his somber and warm colors, while keeping some hope with the lighter and colder colors of Happy the horse. As far as the art is concerned, this whole thing was truly solid from the start.

The Conclusion: While the ending was not the most surprising one that Morrison has ever written, the final issue of Happy manages to bring us some neat and fun concepts through his violence, adding some excellent art by Darick Robertson to enhance the whole deal.

Grade: B

Hugo Robberts Larivière

Some Musing: Nothing could have prepared me for one of the greatest quotes in the issue, coming from an imaginary horse that is flying out of a bathroom: ‘’It’s Santa Claus on drugs, Nick!’’

Grade

Conclusion