cover image Happy Hour

Happy Hour

Peter Milligan and Michael Montenat. Ahoy, $16.99 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-952090-05-9

Jerry Stephens wakes up from a coma in an America where happiness is literally the law in this spiky satire of the safe-space zeitgeist from Milligan (the Enigma series). Government-mandated good cheer is enforced by lobotomy, leeches, videos of playful puppies, and electric shock prods wielded by the Joy Police. Even a five-dollar bill boasts Lincoln with a wide grin. Stephens’s car accident shook the forced-happy grin off him, and he’s put into a reconditioning center. However, he escapes along with the equally disgruntled Kim, and together the grumpy, occasionally romantic duo drive cross-country (in a van decorated as a clown) in search of a rumored sanctuary of free thought—only to find the commune is just as fascist in enforcing being bummed out. A climatic shoot-out between the despondent and the overjoyed comes to a head with the discovery of a different and perhaps even more depressing society. The script’s snappy dialogue breezes through wildly broad-humored, sneeringly realistic art by Montenat (The Last Sacrifice) with details such as dirt masquerading as candy. With its mix of black humor and over-the-top absurdity, the social commentary will strike a chord for fans of Howard the Duck and Transmetropolitan. (Sept.)