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Happy # 2 - Grant Morrison Darick Robertson

Written by Arion on Monday, December 10 2012 and posted in Reviews
Happy # 2 - Grant Morrison Darick Robertson
Darick Robertson

Trapped in a mob hospital, Nick Sax must do everything he can to escape alive. And that, of course, means that Grant Morrison writes a scene so violent that it could never appear on a DC Universe title, and artist extraordinaire Darick Robertson turns that idea of violence into a cesspool of blood, yanked out teeth, broken bones and unmitigated death.

Nick is still troubled by Happy, a blue horse with wings that only he can see and hear. He’s convinced that Happy is a hallucination but eventually realizes that this sweet cartoonish creature really exists. And so he does what every man would in his situation: he plays poker and asks Happy to look at his contender’s cards, and thus he wins so many times that he must once again fight for his life.    

There is something inherently violent about Nick Sax. As a former cop, he was a figure of authority that was supposed to uphold the law. As a mercenary, a low-life hitman, he’s in the opposite spectrum of the law. However, more than act violently Nick merely reacts violently (he shoots the prostitute killer in the first chapter and here he defends himself first from the mob in the hospital and then from the poker players that can’t accept defeat). If his actions were fundamentally reactions, then it’s also understandable that he refuses to help the child Happy has mentioned, because in order for him to save the endangered child Nick would have to take actions rather than reactions, and he’s not ready to do that, at least not yet.

Happy # 2 - Grant Morrison Darick Robertson
Nick & Happy

If we consider that violence has an element of objectivity (racism, homophobia, etc.) then we might forget that violence also has one of subjectivity (crime, terror, etc.). Nick had battled against crime in the past, but fighting against subjective violence means that he himself, the subject, is also prone to carry out exactly the same type of violence he was fighting against in the first place. As a hitman, Nick is reactive, ready to respond but deprived of the initiative he had as a detective; by breaking the law, ultimately, he remains in the service of the very order he apparently despises.

Darick Robertson continues to amaze me with his heavily inked explosions of blood and with the strong grip he has on graphic violence, depicting fighting scenes as a lethal and yet memerizing dance. In Darick’s hands, the dead bodies are so much more than an adornment in the page, they’re fundamental pieces of storytelling as they mark the relevance of Nick’s actions (or reactions) and the consequences. I’d also like to point out Darick’s impressive cover, in which we see a battered down Santa Claus, wearing old and dirty clothes and carrying a bag not full of presents, but rather full of kidnapped children (and in fact, we can see the frightened eye of one of them through a hole in the bag).

Happy # 2 - Grant Morrison Darick Robertson
Nick's victims / las víctimas de Nick

Atrapado en un hospital de la mafia, Nick Sax debe hacer todo lo que pueda para escapar con vida. Y ello, por supuesto, significa que Grant Morrison escribe una escena tan violenta que no podría aparecer en ningún título del Universo DC, y el extra-ordinario artista Darick Robertson convierte esa idea en un sumidero de sangre, dientes arrancados, huesos rotos y muerte sin mitigar.

Nick aún está en conflicto con Happy, un caballo azul con alas que sólo él puede ver y oír. Está convencido de que Happy es una alucinación pero por fin se da cuenta de que esta dulce criatura de caricatura existe de verdad. Así que hace lo que cualquier hombre haría en su situación: juega al póker y le pide a Happy que mire las cartas de sus contendientes, y así gana tantas veces que una vez más debe luchar por su vida.

Hay algo inherentemente violento en Nick Sax. Como ex policía, fue una figura de autoridad y se suponía que respetaba la ley. Como mercenario, como matón de poca monta, se halla en el espectro opuesto de la ley. Sin embargo, más que actuar violentamente, Nick meramente reacciona violentamente (le dispara al asesino de prostitutas en el primer capítulo, y aquí se defiende a sí mismo primero de la mafia en el hospital y luego de los jugadores de póker que no saben perder). Si sus acciones fueron fundamentalmente reacciones, entonces es comprensible que se rehúse a ayudar a la niña que Happy ha mencionado, porque para salvar a esta niña en peligro Nick tendría que emprender una acción más que una reacción, y no está listo para ello, al menos todavía no.

Happy # 2 - Grant Morrison Darick Robertson
the kidnapped children / los niños secuestrados

Si consideramos que la violencia tiene un elemento de objetividad (racismo, homofobia, etc.) entonces podríamos olvidar que la violencia también tiene un elemento de subjetividad (crimen, terror, etc.). Nick había batallado contra el crimen en el pasado, pero pelear contra la violencia subjetiva significa que él mismo, el sujeto, puede también cometer el mismo tipo de violencia contra la que estaba peleando en primer lugar. Como matón, Nick es reactivo, está listo para responder, desprovisto de la iniciativa que tenía como detective; al romper la ley, en última instancia, permanece al servicio del mismo orden que en apariencia desprecia.
Darick Robertson continúa asombrándome con sus explosiones de sangre entintadas con fiereza, y con su dominio único de la violencia gráfica, al retratar escenas de pelea como mortales y, no obstante, hipnotizadoras danzas. En las manos de Darick, los cadáveres son mucho más que un adorno en la página, son piezas fundamentales de la narrativa al marcar la relevancia de las acciones (o reacciones) de Nick y las consecuencias. También me gustaría señalar la impresionante portada de Darick, en la que vemos a un Papa Noel destrozado, con ropa vieja y sucia que carga una bolsa que no está llena de regalos sino de niños secuestrados (y de hecho, podemos ver el ojo asustado de uno de los niños a través de un hueco en la bolsa).

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About the Author - Arion

Arion, who is either from Chile or New York (it’s not really clear) writes a blog that the Outhouse steals on a regular basis.  Arion is by far the nicest of all the staff writers and the most well behaved only having been banned from one country.  One thing we really appreciate about Aroin is that he writes his reviews in English and Spanish and we hope someday he’ll translate this blurb for us.  We’re not so good at languages, just look at how well we write in English if you need proof.  You should bookmark Arion’s blog - – and actually look at it.  There will be a quiz at the end of every month.


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