Publisher: DC Comics
Writer(s): Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, Paul Dini
Artwork: John Timms, Bret Blevins, Alex Sinclair (colours)
Release Date: 19th July 2017
Last issue, Harley faced her greatest challenge yet — her parents coming to visit. Of course, it wasn’t long before we started to realise just how Harley got to be the unique and colourful individual she is today. The apple, it would seem, hasn’t fallen too far from the tree.
Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti once again bring us our wisecracking, big-hearted villain-turned-hero and her crazy extended cast of eclectic friends and family. Harley’s world is a much more optimistic and fun version of the world commonly presented to us in the main DC continuity, and the two villains she is pitted against here are played mostly for laughs. We never feel that for one minute that Harley is in any real danger, but it’s still incredibly entertaining to watch her run circles around them.
It has been nice these past two issues to see something of Harley’s upbringing and the kind of unconventional relationship her parents have. It does explain a little bit about just why Harley devoted so much time to her “Mr J” and always wanted to believe he would become better if she stayed by his side.
John Timms and Bret Blevins split artistic responsibilities this issue, with Timms’ work looking breath taking as always, and Blevins proving to be no slouch himself. Both artists give us their best with stunningly detailed action sequences and comically over-exaggerated facial expressions used to great effect.
Alex Sinclair colours this issue to a consistently high standard, really bringing Harley and her gang to life. It is vitally important that a book with such a colourful cast is represented correctly and Sinclair’s flair for bright and distinct panels brings us this in spades. The book benefits from having such a distinct and vibrant aesthetic and those reading on tablets will benefit most from the contrast between the deep blacks and the bright colour.
The backup story written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Paul Dini takes us on a short, nostalgic trip back to the Batman Animated Series universe. The battle between Harley and Jenna is fairly nonsensical, but is visually a lot of fun to watch. Her solution to her impending debt is a master stroke which only really pays off when she walks in on the Joker watching coverage of a particular crime wave.
Harley Quinn continues to be an example of just what DC can do with their characters when they are allowed to exist outside of the confines of the standard DCU. And while Harley does interact with various familiar characters, they are a little less threatening and a lot more fun.
Some of the situations presented in this issue will definitely have a few of us doubled over in laughter (I know I was) due to just how silly they are. Harley herself isn’t played for laughs, the whole world she inhabits is, and that is exactly why it works and why everyone should be reading this. New readers might want to go back an issue or two or wait for the next one but for the rest of us, this is one of the best books on the shelves today.
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The writer of this piece was: Dave MacPhail
John Tweets from @ShinKagato