Harley Quinn #3 (Comics Review)

After a bit of a mixed start with its first three issues (the very first issue was a #0 issue), it looks like this series just might be getting back on track. I am a pretty big fan of Harley from the Batman: The Animated Series days and while the Harley that Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner are writing is nowhere near the same Harley, whether in terms of characterisation or visual design, she is distinctly reminiscent of the totally goofball and oddball behaviour of that first appearance that catapulted her into the big leagues of DC’s characters. Its actually been quite fun to see how Jimmy and Amanda have been tackling her and despite a somewhat mediocre issue last month, my enthusiasm for this title is still fairly high.

The new issue is a Valentine’s issue. This is odd considering that we had Valentine’s a week back. I don’t see why this issue wasn’t released last week, two days before Valentine’s, to kind of fit that whole atmosphere and mood better. But still, it is probably for the best. I doubt that anyone celebrates Valentine’s by getting all violent and taking out a bunch of mass murderers and assassins who are coming after her. Yeah, definitely not. But that’s totally Harley! Kind of.

Harley Quinn 03While I am not all that big a fan of the cover, it is still so damn appropriate for this issue. And it perfectly captures Harley as she is at this point in her life, away from her puddin’ and facing off against a bunch of killers and being all lonely on Valentine’s. The covers for this series have definitely been slightly problematic. They don’t exactly come off as… I don’t know… fun perhaps. The first two covers were definitely not as extreme, and they were a bit of fun but these last two covers are quite violent and bloody, which kind of takes the fun out of the whole thing.

Still, this was an enjoyable issue after the disappointment of the last one which I didn’t like all that much. The story was better significantly and it dealt with one of the oddball components of Harley’s life, which was quite interesting. What I love about this series is that while there is a clearly a distinct first arc here, each issue still stands on its own and you can read any of them and not be lost as far as the story is concerned. I’ve mentioned this before, but in an era of comics where the Big 2 constantly put out crossovers and tie-ins, its nice to see something serialised with a distinct story month to month. It keeps things from going stale in a way, and that’s what I value most about this title.

The level of violence in this issue was surprising, but perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised, considering that this is the New 52 Harley we are talking about. People are shot in the face and beheaded, but that’s really not so different than someone getting gobbled up by a bunch of hungry dogs and rabbits and what not, which is what happened in the last issue. Macabre, yes, but oddly fitting too.

Harley’s pet zombie-beaver continues to confuse me though. Is it just a puppet manipulated by her? Is it a robot of some kind? What is it? There are so many questions here and none of them are answered. I’m getting just the slightest bit put off by that, but thankfully its a minor thing only. The central mystery, regarding who put out the contract kill on Harley, and who her mysterious benefactor is, are much more engaging and rewarding. Its all a slow build-up and that’s fine with me really.

Where the art is concerned, well, its not that much of an improvement over last week. It is decent. I don’t really have any complaints about it other than Harley being a bit too leggy and thin in some panels, or her facial expressions coming across as a bit odd here and there. No assists for Chad Hardin this time, and that’s nice in a way. I’m always hesitant when there are art assists on a new title, and it makes me apprehensive. So glad to see that Chad has bounced back from whatever it was for the previous issue.

Still, all in all, I liked this issue. The story was better than the art, but it was still a better issue than last week’s and that’s good too. We also get some small amount of characterisation for a member of Harley’s supporting cast, so that’s another plus for this issue.

Rating: 7.5/10

More Harley Quinn: #0, #1, #2.

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Posted on February 20, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

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