Review: HaHa #4
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: W. Maxwell Prince
Artist: Patrick Horvath
Colors: Patrick Horvath
Letters: Good Old Neon
Reviewed by: Carl Bryan
“I’m lonely, lost and a miserable drunk” – Gustav
HAHA #4 – “GUSTAV IN THE WORLD OF FLOATING OBJECTS” A wise clown once said that everything floats…and he was right.
The comic book with a literally laughable title drifts into the big, blue sky with an issue hand-painted by watercolorist PATRICK HORVATH.
With issues drawn by VANESA DEL REY (REDLANDS), GABRIEL WALTA (Vision), ROGER LANGRIDGE (Thor), and more, HAHA peeks under the big top, over the rainbow, and even inside a balloon to tell a wide-ranging slew of stories about “funny” men and women, proving that some things are so sad you just have to laugh.
The redeeming qualities about this comic is that there are homages to Pennywise…that floating balloon…and to go with the balloon theme…that Disney movie Up.
W. Maxwell Prince ‘s work on this comic series is caught in a rut as there are only so many avenues you can go with a clown. And he really has explored most in the four issues already. Each clown story has been tragic. But Prince saves the day with the grandfather in the story not being so crabby and finding some joy in teaching his grandson how to fly a kite.
The art is solid, but is water color heavy as it appears a “Where’s Waldo” environment when you view the frames. I searched for Easter Eggs like “what is a bandaged piano mean?” but Gustav is all over the place.
Patrick Horvath‘s work is solid, but given I am used to intricate pencils that are usually displayed under the Image brand, it was a bit of a step back. Unfair assessment as I am comparing his work to others in McFarlane’s company, but at times it looks like a high school art class’ project. That’s not a bad thing, but it was a detractor in this comic. For it to be such a “happy tale” of a grandfather connecting with his grandson, the colors are really light.
However, Gustav’s admission to being a loner alcoholic, I am unsure if this “trip” inside the red balloon lends itself to the actual grandparent story.
My positive section was peppered with negatives. As I observe social media, there is a lot of hype about this book, but as a reviewer of everything from children’s comics like Scooby-Doo! Where Are You?, to heavier titles like Spawn, I could not connect with each issue thus far (save for #3 where less is more).
I am attempting to see if these issues are slight homages to The Joker, Pennywise, or even Ronald McDonald. Clowns are either happy if you attend a circus, or terrifying if you watch any horror flick with them in it. There have been glimmers of hope in each of the stories, but they overwhelmingly are not providing me anything to say “you can’t live without reading this issue.”
I wish I could quit reading it. I really do, but as Stephen King says ” Dear Reader…..” I’m in it to the finish. Again, out of everything thus far, Issue #3 is worth your time and investment. Otherwise, the other ones are as useless as a toy in a happy meal.