Ahoy Comics Review: Happy Hour #2
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Peter Milligan
Art: Michael Montenat
Colors: Felipe Sobreiro
Letters: Rob Steen
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Jerry and Kim break out of the Readjustment Center after learning that Hamm is too far gone to be of any help. A detour to Jerry’s Grandmother’s retirement home brings a few more surprises.
While there’s no doubt Happy Hour #2 is a fantastic issue, there is one scene that stands out immediately. After Jerry and Kim have escaped the Readjustment Center and are on the run, they actually have a moment of joy. They are making jokes about their destination, the retreat of Landor Cohen and they are actually having fun. Montenat does a great job of communicating their happiness as well as the intimacy that is growing between the two. It’s an electric scene as the emotion spills off the page especially visually.
Suddenly, Jerry realizes he’s feeling happiness and he feels guilty and gets Kim to see that they should stop and remember that they are becoming like everyone else. Now, of course this doesn’t mean they are going to the other side, but simply finding something besides misery in their lives. They are finding not just camaraderie, but a happiness in being with each other. It scares them. But, it’s a brilliant scene as Milligan is able to show how neither misery nor happiness is enough. The full range of emotions are necessary and healthy.
Additionally, even though we want them to overcome the enforced happiness, seeing them deny some genuine joy is saddening. In the end, you want the characters to find happiness, and to see them push it away adds to the complexity of the world in which they are living.
While this is the most emotionally moving scene, there is some humor peppered throughout the issue that works well and keeps the comic fun. This could be a dour and depressing story, but Milligan keeps it diverse. The irony of these two hijacking a “clown van” is hilarious. You see, the government calls in clowns to cheer up kids after there’s been a school shooting…no, really!
When they arrive at the retirement home, they are shocked to see a party with The Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer” blasting from the stereo. For Jerry and Kim they’ve walked into another madhouse, and Kim can’t take it, exploding and getting thrown out by security. Jerry finds his grandmother and they have a wonderful moment that contains a surprise for Jerry- grandma is faking the happiness.
What’s great about all these scenes is that it illustrates that Milligan is using the characters to tell the story. Milligan and Montenat have made us care about these characters. We want to see good things happen for them. There is always the possibility that Milligan could turn everything upside down to reveal that they are only happy when they are miserable.
The only thing that comes across as a negative for this issue, is that Jerry and Kim escape pretty quickly from the Readjustment Center. However, it does serve the story because the real story is not of their escape, it’s what happens to them on the outside as the experience the world.
Like last issue, Peter Milligan tells the story through his characters and the reader is completely invested in them. Happy Hour #2 is even better than #1. Milligan is not afraid to add a little bit of humor to make the reader smile, and despite the protagonists own reactions to happiness, it’s an incredibly clever device. Even though Jerry and Kim seem to feel they should be, you can’t be miserable all the time, can you? Examining genuine emotions, this issue is another winner from your mates at Ahoy!