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Review – Harley Quinn #17 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer(s): Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, Paul Dini
Artwork: John Timms, Marc Deering, Bret Blevins, Jay Bone, Alex Sinclair (colours)
Release Date: 5th April 2017


In this latest issue, Harley Quinn takes a case to investigate the mass abductions of the homeless in New York and, as could probably be expected, stumbles into trouble. Oh, and in the meantime, the recently escaped Harley Sinn is working on her own investigation and assassination mission.

Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti do what they do best here, writing Harley as a wisecracking and brash anti-heroine with a heart of gold.  That’s not to say she doesn’t have issues, but as displayed in this issue she is ever-endearing and almost childlike at times.  At the same time, we feel that she is stupid, but rather that she is playing her opponents for laughs and preparing to strike when their guard drops.

John Timms does a fantastic job of portraying our cast of loveable rogues in glorious detail.  My only gripe is that everyone might be a little too good looking.  Harley spends a lot of the book looking a little dazed (which, to be fair, is her regular expression), although when the action does kick off we get to see the side of her the Suicide Squad usually see as she switches into lethal mode.  Everything changes, from her facial expressions to her posture and body language, and for that instant we get to see visually the duality of her personality first hand.

Alex Sinclair enhances Timm’s art with stunning and vibrant colours, from Harley’s colourful wardrobe to some fantastic lighting effects during the night sequences.

The main story is clearly just starting and as Harley gets closer to the perpetrators of the missing homeless persons, we know things will definitely get interesting.  With the smart and funny dialogue along with the gorgeous pencils and colours there is a lot to look forward to and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

As an added treat, these next few issues will feature a second story written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Paul Dini (one of Harley’s original creators).  This story takes place at a much earlier time in Harley’s life when she was still with The Joker and it feels like it was lifted directly from the Batman Animated Series where she originated.

The premise is fairly straightforward, The Joker has a plan set for the places he plans to rob over the next few days but someone else is beating him to the punch.  Harley tries her hardest to take his mind off things but he shows his usual disinterest in her approaches.  Everything feels authentic to how we remember this era of her life.  The artwork and colouring echo the visuals of the animated show, Joker and Harley sound just like they did back then, the whole thing is a masterpiece of nostalgia mixed with the unknown. It feels like an episode of the animated show we never got to see!

This issue is a nice starting point for new readers and returning readers alike.  Over the course of the two stories, we get a nice contrast between where Harley is now and who she used to be when she was still with Mr J, something I fully appreciate given the controversy about how she has been portrayed recently.  All too often we are only really shown the sexual or comical side of her character, but Harley is so much more than that, and her endless optimism and inherent need to help fix people are shown in generous detail here.  Featuring the best of her current persona and an extended glimpse into her past, this is an excellent issue that is easy to recommend.

Rating: 5/5.


PREVIEW ARTWORK
[Click to Enlarge]


The writer of this piece was: Dave MacPhail
John Tweets from @ShinKagato


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