Ahoy Comics Review: Happy Hour #5
[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
It turns out Landor Cohen’s commune is just as evil and sadistic in their methods as the Happy Police. So where do Kim and Jerry go from here- a quick-mud pit?
From the beginning of the series there’s been a tacit understanding that there is a range of human emotions that are important for everyone to experience. In issue #1 we learned how the Happy Police enforce government mandated happiness and how they literally beat the “sad” out of you in readjustment centers. In Happy Hour #5, we finally get to see that neither side is right. It’s not just simply that people want the right to be unhappy at times, but rather that people SHOULD be miserable and that life is nothing more than a sad veil of tears.
All this shows how Milligan is using hyperbole to make his point. In life, we all get annoyed with people who seem perpetually happy or miserable. While there can be medical reasons for these things, more often than not some people’s personalities gravitate toward one end of the spectrum. It seems that Milligan is arguing that one needs to be accepting of the other and seek to understand. Of course, this goes beyond one’s emotional personality.
There’s a further twist in Kim and Jerry’s relationship as well that changes things, and at the same time doesn’t change things. Not wishing to spoil it, I’ll say that Milligan is going for a complicated relationship that echoes things in real life and it begs the questions of motivation as well as forgiveness and understanding. Milligan has kept us on our toes for the duration of the series that you can’t tell if there will be yet another twist in the finale next month.
What would be the point of having a negative this far into the series? Despite a really humorous element missing from Happy Hour #5, it doesn’t detract. If anything it helps intensify the seriousness of the events in the issue and remind the reader that neither side is in the right in their extremism. Additionally, it makes Kim and Jerry’s relationship all the more intense.
It should come as no surprise that Happy Hour #5 doesn’t disappoint. If anything, it could be the strongest issue of the series. This penultimate issue takes things to a new place as it also emphasizes the greater theme of the series. There aren’t many series that are able to provide such a thoughtful statement on the human condition, but Happy Hour seems to do it easily and with a strong emotional component that is palpable.