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Book review: ‘Happy’

Image
J. Caleb Mozzocco

The Details

Happy
Two and a half stars
By Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson, Image Comics, $13

Grant Morrison, one of mainstream comics’ most personally colorful and professionally creative writers, turns out perhaps his most cynical work in Happy, a “Please Adapt Me!”-style movie pitch-as-graphic novel.

It stars contract killer Nick Sax, who artist Darick Roberston has drawn to resemble a Die Hard: With a Vengeance-era Bruce Willis, teaming up with Happy the Horse, a My Little Pony-sized, blue cartoon horse only Sax can see. Happy claims to be the imaginary friend of a little girl caught in the clutches of a pedophile dressed like Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.

Happy wants Sax to do a good deed and save the girl, while Sax wants Happy to leave him alone. A competently made, extremely violent high-concept comic, Happy seeks to trade on the clash of the garish cartoon character with the gritty crime world around him. The problem is the latter is so stylized and affected that it’s just as cartoonish as the little flying horse, simply in the opposite direction.

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