Laugh? I thought I’d die… Your Major Spoilers review of HAHA #5 from Image Comics awaits!
Writer: W. Maxwell Prince
Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta
Colorist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta
Letterer: Good Old Neon
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 26, 2021
Previously in HAHA: Every house is a haunted house, from the kitchen to the attic.
POUND FOOLISH: PRINCESS OF FOOLS!
“They pre-cut your vegetables now,” begins the lament of Pound Foolish the circus clown of yesteryear. Now an elderly woman, living alone, Pound Foolish has made her way to the market to buy the ingredients for her favorite cauliflower casserole. Along the way, she has pointed out that everything is debased, that Kids Today are terribly behaved, that strangers stare for no reason. As she walks home, she passes the treehouse headquarters of the Mid-Yard Mischief Club, a group of kids whose gang bylaws require them to do one sneaky act per year. Young Billy is tasked with breaking into the creepy haunted clown house and stealing something spooky, but things go awry when Pound Foolish confronts him, her vegetable-chopping knife still in her hand…
A LITTLE HEARTBREAKING
Once again, Prince plays with the audience’s emotions like a master puppeteer, setting up the parallels to Stephen King’s big clown opus and completely burying them with the actual events of the story. It’s almost wholesome, especially when Billy awakens from passing out and finds a clown offering him a place at her table. The theme of the story is simple: We hold onto what we can. Pound Foolish proves to be much more than the angry old lady she seems, and Billy’s dream may or may not be proof that hauntings aren’t always a bad thing. Walta’s art is full of emotion, and in a lovely touch, the cauliflower-loving clown’s head sort of looks like a floret itself, while the final two panels of the story honestly brought a tear to my eye. Add in the fact that we actually learn the recipe that she’s preparing (accompanied by more incredibly detailed and engaging art) and you’ve got an issue well worth the cover price.
BOTTOM LINE: BEAUTIFULLY BITTERSWEET
W. Maxwell Prince’s Ice Cream Man comic is for those times that you want to be unnerved and creeped out, but HAHA #5 continues this book’s streak of being the comic for when you want to wistfully consider the nature of humanity, and it does so expertly, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall. It’s a rare achievement for a comic book to create such deep, resonant emotions in so few pages, plus provide a delicious casserole recipe.
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This is a remarkably sweet story, wrapped in nostalgia and designed to undermine everything you know from 'It.' Totally worth the price of admission.