This is definitely not a happy story, nor is it a children's story. So much happens in this issue that leaves me sitting there at the end wondering A) What the hell did I just read? B) What's going to happen next? and C) Did I take acid without knowing it before I read this? A disgraced detective goes after a gang of mobsters. He takes out a bizarre creature, finishes his job with a few more kills, but unfortunately runs into a little trouble. And this is before a tiny talking blue horse (called Happy) only he can see appear.
The premise makes it sound like writer Grant Morrison (Batman and Robin, All-Star Superman) was smoking the same thing Lewis Carroll was when he wrote Alice in Wonderland. And while I doubt Happy will become as popular as Alice, this book has certainly done one thing for me more so than any other comic I've read this year: leave me completely baffled and waiting to see what will happen next issue. Unfortunately, my bafflement is one of only a few reasons I'd suggest picking this book up. But that's more than enough for a first issue. I've always thought the only thing a writer really has to do with the first issue is have a reader interested to know the who, what, when, where and why, and Morrison has me doing all of that and more with an extremely odd and purposely vague premise. The opening action scene is also pretty good and shows off how clever the main title character is. The ending even has me rooting for him (since there is no one near as interesting to root for) and anxious to see what happens next. However... If I only read the first page and had to throw money down to keep reading I would have put this issue back on the shelf. I know cursing isn't as taboo as it used to be, what with shows like South Park thriving on it, but the first page alone of this issue has a total of 11 curses – 12 if you count "balls." Other than the constant cursing, nothing going on in the dialogue is riveting. The artwork and accompanying colors are what's really enjoyable – that is, when we're not being "treated" to an image like a guy throwing up in the middle of the street. The artwork and colors suit the wonky atmosphere of this issue. Darick Robertson often draws the characters scruffy with a lot of overshadowing. I'd usually complain about this kind of artwork, but it works for the dark and gruff tone of this issue. Some of the emotions on characters faces are so exaggerated, however, that you either have to think of them as poorly drawn or just cartoonish enough to go with the wacky atmosphere Happy sometimes delves into.
The colors also add to the dark and gruff tone of this issue with some dank colors, and add to the eccentric mood too by throwing in some bright Christmas colors. Colorist Richard P. Clark also uses stark blues to draw Happy and feathers, which stand out against the drab colored atmosphere and punctuate how out of place a blue talking horse is in this dark world. Now, would this issue stand out if not for Happy the horse? Probably not. Without the bright burst of colors and other creative monsters thrown into the mix, this issue would be your standard action comic with an excess of cursing. The action scenes were entertaining, but that little blue horse will be the main reason I'm coming back for more.
An all-around nerdette, I’m a comic book connoisseur, horror aficionado, video game addict, anime enthusiast and an aspiring novelist/comic book writer. I am the head of the comic book department and the editor-in-chief of Entertainment Fuse. I also write and edit articles for Comic Frontline. I am also an intern at Action Lab Entertainment, a comic book publisher at which I edit comic book scripts, help work on images in solicitations and help with other comic book related project. My own personal website is comicmaven.com.