Happy! #1 – Indie Review
The major comic companies get enough reviews and press, it’s time for the creator-owned and indie series to get some love and judgment. Indie review takes up-and-coming indie and creator-owned series and puts them through the review process so you can confidently support the best of the small press and passion driven projects in the comic industry.
Title: Happy! #1
Writer: Grant Morrison (Batman & Robin, All Star Superman)
Artist: Darick Robertson (The Boys, Deadpool)
Colorist: Richard P Clark (Transmetropolitan, The Boys)
Letterer: Simon Bowland (2000AD, The Boys)
Designer: Drew Gill (A Red Mass For Mars, Phonogram)
Publisher: Image Comics
Number of Issues: 1 (of 4)
Page Count: 32
The Review Bit
When Happy! was first announced, most comic fans were either excited or apprehensive. I think a lot of people were apprehensive. I mean, let’s be honest here Grant Morrison tends to illicit specific reactions out of fans. Now, this article isn’t supposed to be a critique of Grant’s past works so lets keep this focused. This is the first creator owned property (I should point out its actually co-owned, Robertson being the other half) Grant has produced since 2010’s Vertigo title Joe the Barbarian, a story about a diabetic boy who hallucinates an entire fantastical universe after not taking his meds, which I, along with many others, personally think was amazing. So the thought of Grant not telling us a mainstream superhero story was intriguing, but given his work and ideas over the last year (I mean the man started a convention this year to celebrate himself) it was definitely stand off-ish. The idea for the book was interesting…a Grant Morrison penned Christmas story (think a hybrid of It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, the Sopranos, and My Little Pony hehe) – ok I’m listening – and drawn by Darick Robertson? I’m in!
The story centers on an ex-cop named Nick Sax, whom while once might have been a respected police officer, is now a gin for hire. Sax has been hired to kill the Fratelli brothers (no word on whether or not this story takes place in the Goonies Universe, haha! If you didn’t get that, you should be ashamed, otherwise…HIGH-5!!). The book opens with 2 of the 4 brothers heading to meet their other brothers for a kill they themselves were hired on for. Along their walk they talk about their disdain for their target, none other than Nick Sax. Actually, Nick is the one that hired them for the job. What better way to get all the brothers together to dispose of them all at once, then to hire them for a job.
Nick was contracted for 3 brothers, so needless to say is surprised to find a 4th brother with a gun pointed at him. A quick shoot out ensues, Nick takes a couple bullets, and before he ends the life of the last Fratelli brother, the brother tells him about a family bank account with a lot of money stashed away in it, that only he has the password to. Unimpressed with what the brother came up with trying to get out of death, Sax kills him.
Woozy from his wounds Sax staggers outside where he quickly passes out. He comes to find himself on a gurney inside an ambulance, drugged on morphine for the pain. He begins to see blue feathers falling towards his face, and hear weird non-sense words. Then suddenly there is a tiny blue feathered horse sitting on his chest. Nick, wakes back up, this time in a hospital. What he doesn’t know is this is a mob hospital. You see, there really WAS a secret bank account, and that last Fratelli brother really WAS the only one who knew the password. Now the mob thinks that Nick Sax knows what the password is and he has been brought to this hospital to have the information extracted from him. That is when the little blue horse appears again. The next few panels are quite amusing as he is being watched by police and medical staff (he think is he has completely lost it) as he conversates with his new friend, whom is not a hallucination, but an imaginary friend named Happy the Horse. Happy apparently needs Sax to trust him so that he can get him out of there alive. The issue ends with this final instruction; “PAY ATTENTION TO THE TALKING BLUE HORSE”
I have to say all my apprehensions of this book were put to rest. I simply loved this book. I think it was very well written, and flowed really well. The dialog that Grant wrote was very organic, and never felt forced. Being a huge fan of “The Boys” I knew how wonderful this art was going to be, and I wasn’t disappointed. Darick Robertson’s pencils and inks were as amazing as they always are. On a related, final note, Happy is now in the works to be made into a movie, with Wu-Tang Clan member, RZA (hot off his directorial debut ‘The Man with the Iron Fist”) looking to be attached.
The Rating Bit
Honestly, I can’t suggest this book enough. It truly was just a great read. I see no reason to give this title less than a 10 out of 10. Everything just works in its favor, from entertainment to talent. I can’t say anything bad about this property. Run out and get it, you will be Happy you did!
About the author
Darren Schram is the manager extraordinaire of Sky High Comics in San Marcos, Ca. He started out reading GI Joe comics when he was a kid, moving on to collecting Star Wars comics exclusively, while reading the occasional title off the rack in a local drug store...just to "check in" with the comic world. Darren did a graceful high dive into the comic book pools deep end just over a decade ago. Now it isn't a question of what is he reading, but more..what isn't he reading? He is what he calls a "multi-denominational geek", with exceptional geek cred in Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica, that award him his self appointed elite status. He also once "scissor kicked Angela Lansbury."
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