Happy! #1
Happy! #1
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Grant Morrison
Pencils: Darick Robertson

After years of showing readers the heights that the super hero genre can soar to, Grant Morrison is ready to take a break and wallow in the filth for awhile. And boy does the first issue of Happy! get that point across quickly.

After he is wounded in a shootout with four professional hit men, professional bastard Nick Sax wakes up in a private hospital, at the mercy of a mob boss who thinks he knows the password to a particularly lucrative bank account. This is the least of his problems though, as ever since waking up, Sax has been seeing a tiny blue cartoon flying horse named Happy, who needs his help to save the little girl that imagined him.

In terms of the big cosmic sci-fi ideas that Morrison is known for, this issue is relatively tame. Happy! #1 is almost entirely grounded in the real world, admittedly an absolutely filthy world filled with gangsters, perverts, and general human refuse. Sax is not a nice guy, nor is he a terribly popular fellow among the crooked cops and sleazy mobsters he consorts with. Morrison adeptly establishes Sax as a complete and unrepentant bastard, making it all the more exciting to envision how he will play off against the charmingly goofy and wholesome Happy in the chapters to come.

Robertson's gritty and detailed style is just perfect for this book. You can almost smell the grimy streets he depicts in the opening pages, and feel like you need a long shower overtime he employs a close-up panel of one of these characters. The seedy details he pours into each panel really allow Happy to stand out when he makes his appearance, as it is clear that something this adorable and silly looking has absolutely no place in this world, even as an imaginary construct.

Happy! #1 is a busy but satisfying first issue. Now that the scene is set and the characters are introduced I look forward to seeing what these creators can do with this simple yet engaging concept.

Grade: B+

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