Ahoy Comics Review: Happy Hour #4
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
[Some of the sample images are graphic and not intended for younger readers]
Writer: Peter Milligan
Art: Michael Montenat
Colors: Felipe Sobreiro
Letters: Rob Steen
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
Kim and Jerry come to terms with their feelings as they finally make it to Landor Cohen’s commune in Mexico, but have they just gone from the frying pan into the fire?
There are times in a comic book series that the story goes in a direction you hope it will. Hopefully, that is a good thing because it is the right direction for the story and the characters. Often times, we are challenged with a surprise that is irritating or unwelcome or makes the reader dislike the path of the story. I’m happy to report that Happy Hour #4 goes in the direction of the former.
The credit goes to the creative team who have sold the reader on the relationship between Kim and Jerry. Everything they’ve gone through has brought them closer together and we’ve been teased along the way. Milligan’s words and Montenat’s pictures have combined to make the reader believe that these characters are falling for each other. Now, that’s not to say that there could be a surprise down the road, but going in to this after the first three issues there’s been ample time to see this potential relationship go the other way. The fact that they are both enduring some awful situations together makes it more believable that they will end up together. Additionally, it makes the plot work if both characters are genuine. If one of them is faking or a “plant” it detracts from the plot and the meaning of the tale.
There continues to be a balance in the book as Milligan includes some humor to balance out the serious aspects. Not that there’s anything really funny about food poisoning, but as the scene plays out and what it leads to certainly provides some lighter moments of dark humor. And, while it’s not perhaps outright funny because it’s been suggested for the past couple of issues, there is a “funny” side to Kim and Jerry’s realization at the end once they get inside the commune.
The greatest strength of this series that usually overrides the interesting and clever world building is the character development of Kim and Jerry. The pivotal scene in Happy Hour #4 in which they come to terms with their feelings for each other is just brilliant. It takes into account each character’s strengths and weaknesses and adds a little bit of quirky to the mix as well. From the dialogue by Milligan to the framing of the action by Montenat to the delicate color work by Sobreiro, it just a magical scene. Everything about it is perfect, because it sort of makes the reader feel like he/she is falling for the character’s as well. The ineffective blanket that Kim has wrapped around her implies that this situation that begins contentiously will end quite differently, but how it gets there is what’s magical. The juxtaposition of the almost naked Kim (which would traditionally make her feel vulnerable) is flipped because she’s the martial arts expert. Compounded with the fact that it’s Jerry who’s on the floor with Kim’s foot in his face makes for some wonderful visual storytelling.
The only negative is that now Milligan has got me on pins and needles for Kim and Jerry to get through all this alive!
Beating a dead horse would be funny to the happy police in the world of Happy Hour, but I’m doing it here because it bears repeating: Happy Hour is simply a fantastic book! If you like great stories about well-developed characters that provide insight into the human condition…well, go buy it! Happy Hour #4 satisfies on every level of comic reading!