Review – Harley Quinn #19 (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: 3rd May 2017

Harley Quinn’s investigation into the disappearing homeless in New York took a turn for the worse when she was kidnapped by the very people she was looking for.  In some respects, her plan maybe worked a little too well, although though if there is one thing we should know by now, it’s never to bet against Harley.

Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti give the readers exactly what they expect – over-the-top violence, silly one-liners and an anti-hero who has a heart of gold.  What makes Harley so dangerous is that she doesn’t just think outside of the box, she thinks outside of the box the normal box is kept in, with wildly unpredictable and often hilarious results.  Suffice to say, this is exactly what we get this latest chapter.  Despite being sedated multiple times in the previous issue she is able to calmly formulate a plan and carry it out here, proving once again that she is very much a (slightly insane) force of nature.

Conner and Palmiotti a focus on her supporting cast, namely Red Tool who has some ridiculous action sequences under the misguided attempt to rescue Harley from her captors.  In some ways I wish Marvel and DC would just do the deal to allow the character he is a parody of to star alongside Harley, but after the Amalgam series during the 90s I can see why that won’t ever happen.  Regardless, I had to stop for a short break from laughing so hard as he tried to use his grappling hook to avoid death.

John Timms draws such a gorgeously detailed and photogenic version of Harley and the world she inhabits.  He clearly takes a lot of time over the characters he pencils, sometimes to a fault.  There are only beautiful people in his version of the DCU, giving a usually grimy and dark universe its own unique visual style, and that is okay.  His panels are visual food for your eyes and the action sequences flow with a grotesque beauty that always feels animated.

Alex Sinclair once again supports Timms with his uniquely vibrant colour palette, Harley’s reign of destruction is bathed in so much red rain!  A lot of the events in this issue take place at dusk which bathes the majority of panels in a reddish hue anyway but Sinclair finds a way to allow the gallons of blood to really stand out which is just incredible.

The backup story written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Paul Dini once again returns us to Harley’s origins in the animated universe and we see the results of Harley’s mistake last issue.  Though short, the backup is a nice injection of nostalgia for those of us who watched the show as kids, it also a nice reminder of how far Harley has come since leaving the Joker all those years ago.  The characters are a little goofier than you would expect from a Batman story but there is an edge to the tale that keep it in line with the tone of modern day Harley Quinn.

The main story has a few loose ends that have not yet been addressed, Harley Sinn for example, but it feels like the next arc will flow naturally into that.  This issue is not really for new readers since it is the final part of this story, but lapsed fans should be able to catch up fairly quickly with what is here.  It is nice to see some of Harley’s supporting cast getting bigger roles, even if it is mostly played for laughs, although her little piece of the DCU feels slightly out of sync with the rest to be fair.

This series continues to be one of the most fun books available today, and one that wholeheartedly embraces the chaotic nature of its main character without making her feel un-relatable or unlikable.  There is an innocence to Harley which, coupled with a strong sense of justice, makes her series a must-read for those looking for some light-hearted fun.

Rating: 5/5.

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

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