artist: Darick Robertson
Happy! can seem like something of a repetitive experience. For three issues now we've been treated to the sordid life of Nick Sax and the unexpected appearance of a tiny floating blue horse into his life, and the fact that Nick doesn't believe in said horse or at least doesn't see the point in Happy's intervention in his life. This issue, even though we get something of an origin story for Nick, it's the same as the previous two issues. Almost ho-hum, which for me is not something I'm used to experiencing with Grant Morrison.
I'm a big fan of Morrison, but I haven't read all of his work, and in the grand scheme of things can barely say that I've read him as he's originally been published. Some critics have tended to take the stance that he's not everything people like me tend to make of him, and perhaps it's because they don't take a look at the bigger picture, because for a writer like Grant Morrison, it's always about the bigger picture. Issue by issue (when his projects work like that), sometimes individual moments do seem ho-hum. But, there's always the bigger picture.
For a four issue mini-series, that bigger picture would have seemed to be Nick's odd relationship with Happy, and yet Morrison finally reveals what it really is with this installment. All along, even though Nick himself has been in near-constant mortal peril, there's been a little girl Happy has been trying to get him to save from the clutches of a sadist dressed in a Santa Claus costume (though it's something of a Christmas tale, you'll be forgiven to overlook that fact, because publication began and continues after that season).
I will note that the phrase "Happy Christmas" is used this issue, and while that is I believe how the English say it, Americans will always default to "Merry Christmas." If there's an excuse for this lapse, it's that the series is indeed called Happy and features a character named Happy. Except it is set in the States, where that phrase is after all not in use. I don't know if it's a deliberate goof or simply a rare instance of cultural differences being overlooked by mistake.
Anyway, let's get back to the bigger picture. That little girl? ...Maybe I shouldn't spoil it. One way or another, the bigger picture is revealed this issue. Maybe I'll talk about it next issue, when the story concludes. Suffice it to say, Happy! already has a happy ending in my book.