Happy could have been amazing. Teaming up a cartoonish sprite with a hardboiled killer can be good comics. Having a symbol of innocence floating around a hardened kill in a brutally dark setting – I’d like to see it done well and I say I’d like to see it done because in Happy, the series becomes so heavily mired with black despair and grime that it never recovers and ultimately reads like someone’s poorly conceived Sin City spinoff.
The basic story is ex-cop turned detective Nick Sax is a bastard who knows a secret password that the mafia is after. And then Happy, a blue winged pony who is a girl’s imaginary friend, shows up asking Nick to save her. Nick resists, having his own stuff to deal with but ultimately Nick realizes (SPOILER) the girl is his daughter so he ends up killing a rapist in a Santa costume with help from a bunch of other imaginary friends.
And it doesn’t work in the comic – it could! Hell, if the comic were simpler, brighter, had some of that classic Morrison positivity, that would be fantastic. Instead you have a comic where “fuck” easily accounts for 20% of the dialogue – and not even in some kind of ironic fashion. Morrison is painting a grim city – and here is the thing that makes it worse – it fails to be entertaining. It fails to be attractive. It fails to even be fun to all but the most basic and dulled reads who equate gun fights and swearing with quality work.
And possibly the worst part – Morrison doesn’t even seem like the writer for the book. I’ve read most of his work and he does darkly comic books like Kill Your Boyfriend. This had no humor in it. It had no redeeming characters. It had no real message or creativity. It was something I’d expect to find in a $5 DVD bin with poor production values – though Darick Robertson was the perfect artist for the series. He was the right mix of grim and dark with the right contrast to make Happy stand out in the world without seeming abnormal.
But it didn’t work in the end, I regret buying the comic completely – I was hoping for some Morrison style last minute revelation or turn around but it never came. We got a dark crime drama with a complicated conspiracy, a rapist dressed like Santa and a tiny blue horse who wasn’t strong enough to save the comic.