We Got Reviews: Happy #1-2

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“It’s Bad Lieutenant meets Who Framed Roger Rabbit!

I could do a review with just that sentence, but I feel like I’m plagiarizing, hence the quotes. I have a feeling those exact words were uttered by Grant Morrison during a Hollywood pitch before work even started on this comic.

As far as fads go, Writing for The Trade seems to have been replaced by Writing for The Movie (Hi, Mark Millar). That’s what sadly came to mind when I finally got around to reading the first issue of the Grant Morrison written Happy. To be honest, I thought “Movie Script!” when I read Joe The Barbarian, but here it seems even more blatant. Moreover, if I had the pages handed to me without the cover or the credits, I would have said this was done by someone else. Not Morrison trying to write a police drama with the cops talking the way Warren Ellis thinks police talk only to have them talk like a parody of Garth Ennis and have them out c-word the entire run of The Boys in just the first issue. I’ve read The Filth, so I know Morrison can write with a dirty mouth. Even in comparison to that book, Happy still seems too over the top.

The other half of the book’s equation is the only reason I bought issue #2. Darick Robertson is back on a series again. It’s only four issues, and at least the way things work with Grant’s non-mainstream books, there is very little chance of an artist being dishonorably bumped off for a temporary or permanent fill-in.

Since the very first issues of Transmetropolitan with his innovation of the Henson parody The Sex Puppets, Robertson has had a visual knack of mixing the grimy and the cuddly with wincingly fun results. He puts it to very good effect here and salvages a weak script where lesser artists could have embarrassed both themselves and the writer.

Not everything else is going swimmingly, at least in editorial, where they seem hellbent to spoil the story with covers alone. for instance, I would have never saw coming that Dirty Cameo Santa from the second page of issue #1…

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was the kidnapping villain in issue two…if not for the second issue cover!

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I’m just glad I didn’t get the alternative #1 cover my Mike Allred. That would have really aggravated me.

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You really did see a winged unicorn. It’s an imaginary friend of the abducted child (in Dirty Santa’s bag) who has latched on to the fallen and foulmouthed police detective character’s mind with that hopes that he will help save the child. This is not only a Morrisonesque plot; It’s classic Morrison. It’s all the more upsetting that with a writer whose works I enjoy very much (especially in this vein, the credit for Happy has to be due to Robertson’s deft ability to balance with the cartoony and the ultra violent. In fact, the artists has become a new barometer for when I ponder buying Morrison. Before, I used to recommend stories to friends regardless of unknown artists or artwork that some viewed as bad (like Doom Patrol and early issues of The Invisibles). Now I’ve become more like those friends, scanning Morrison works with much more discretion, even balking if the artwork is good. This book hasn’t lowered my defenses so far.

I have to admit, the dialogue is a bit more toned down in Happy #2, as some balance seems to have been reached, but the selling point is still Robertson. If he was the writer’s first and only choice for the book, than Morrison earns extra props for editorial genius.

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About Chad Parenteau

I'm a poet. I run the Stone Soup Poetry series in Cambridge that runs every Monday night. I review comics in my spare time.
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