W. Maxwell Prince continues his sad but interesting clown series with a touching mother-daughter twist in Haha #2. The story follows a mom struggling with finances, mental health, identity, and expectations told from the perspective of her daughter, Rudolph. It’s a hard-hitting, relatable road trip that shows the harsh realities for people who have to do taboo things like sex work to take care of themselves and others. While Vanesa Del Ray did an awesome job with Haha #1, Prince collaborated with artist Zoe Thorogood for issue #2.
The writing for Haha #2 is thought-provoking. It starts a conversation and begs the question, does this mother HAVE to do the things she’s choosing to put herself and her child through? The script does an incredible job of showing two sides of this woman’s life. There’s the confused clown makeup-wearing person who feels like the world doesn’t understand her, and a mother trying to change reality for her and her daughter. Some moments reminded me of the Metallica video for their cover of Bob Seger’s song, “Turn the Page.” So for a cool dramatic effect, I recommend listening to the song while reading it.
In terms of art, Thorogood locks in the emotion and intrigue from the very first page. She has a keen eye when it comes to panel angles, character designs, and facial expressions. Some of the most compelling pages are when the mom is spending time with Rudolph, like during the car ride. Colorist Chris O’Halloran adds the finishing touches with some spectacular neon color choices that make everything pop well.
Haha #2 is a tragic, question-filled journey that’ll pull on your heartstrings. Funville, much like in the first book, plays a role during the story and also offers a cool Easter egg towards the end if you can spot it. Prince and the team easily have another winner with the second issue.
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