The Box City Wallops: The Happiness Creature

3 out of 5

Jim Lawson does social commentary that’s so in your face that it crosses a line into being enjoyably over-the-top… though it also sort of undermines a story conceit that was really interesting on its own.

Our Wallops are called in to “deal” with an alien creature, except the alien just appears to be loungin’ about, doing no harm.  And soon, everyone around “her” is affected by overwhelming peace, and calm.  Within 24 hours, crime stats are down, and the effect is even spreading to nearby cities.  The timeline on this gets a little clunky, as government types start claiming that businesses are tanking since everyone’s going outside and not tweeting and whatnot, which seems pretty excessive after only a day, but it’s still an interesting concept, and not as anti-technology / old man as I’m making it sound: I’m pro technology, and hate going outside, but this opening for ‘The Happiness Creature’ still had me thinking through how things would change if we all, essentially, chilled out a bit, which is more what this is after versus telling us that Netflix is a no-no.

And then… President Pigchild.  President Pigchild is short, with funny hair and orange skin, constantly contradicts himself, as is pissed off that people are paying attention to this creature and not him.  Get it?

Lawson keeps going with this shtick – and again, it’s so unhidden (I mean – President Pigchild) that it’s pretty funny – and turns it in to a movement against the creature, because fake news and etcetera and it’s obviously the forerunner for some alien takeover plan.  This isn’t an entirely unexpected way to flip-flop the setup, Trump parodies aside, but the issue isn’t quite long enough to make it make sense so that the threat seems legitimate and not just a jab at our current (as of 2020) president.  And the eventual culmination of this line of thought again doesn’t really feel logical in terms of what we’ve seen of the creature’s powers, and instead is there just to end the storyline in time.

An expanded issue that more carefully handled the two sides could have been incredibly interesting, but the version we got is still amusing; brightly colored and energetically drawn and lettered.