Harley Quinn #5 (Comics Review)
Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti have been on kind of a roll with their Harley Quinn series. Starting with the #0 anthology issue and then the main series itself, Harley Quinn has quickly become one of DC’s quirkiest characters. Of course, she was quite a loon before, but under Conner-Palmiotti’s pen she has become something else entirely. I never thought that there could be a book from DC that was so off its rocker and packed with so much madcap humour. But Conner-Palmiotti have managed to do just that exactly, and it has been one hell of a read so far.
Harley Quinn #5 is all about Harley’s adventures with the old and retired agent Sy-borg, who has a vendetta against some old Russian gangbosses he thought he took down ages ago. Now he finally has all the intel he needed and he has drafted in Harley because of her history and her present problems. Unlike previous issues, this new one doesn’t advance the meta-story at all, but it tells a fairly decent one-shot story. And we have Chad Hardin back on the series now. The art is decent but that’s it.
Mad-cap. Crazy. Unbelievable. Violently goofy. All these words can be used to describe this issue. If you thought that Conner-Palmiotti had set a high bar with the previous issues, then you thought wrong because the writer duo up their game here. This has to be the most… out there issue of the series. Harley teaming up with a retired octogenarian agent to hunt other octogenarians? What could be weirder? But that’s what this issue is about, and that’s what happens in here, page after page. We do take a break from things early on to see more of Harley’s established supporting cast at the building that she owns, where Tommy runs a burlesque show. That was the absolutely best part of the issue, I won’t lie. Harley was at her best in that side-adventure rather than in the main story and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of that, to be honest.
The downside of this issue is that there is no real plot here. It is just a mad-cap, crazy, unbelievable and violently goofy issue and that is that. It doesn’t advance the main storyline with all the mercenaries that are after Harley though Sy-borg’s adventures are connected to that. Plus the thing is that I’m not really convinced by any of what Sy-borg says. It is all just too campy and tacky. Plus he hurls insults at Harley all the damn time, in Yiddish or something, which is just extra weird.
But, at the same time, I won’t deny that I love reading about Harley. Sure, she is not the Harley that I know so well, especially in the New 52, but she is Harley nonetheless and Conner-Palmiotti have done their own take on a very classic character. The execution lacks a bit here and there, but overall it is all fairly solid because these two understand her character. In comparison to the above point, Harley has always been campy and tacky, of the good kind that is, so it all fits together.
There is a dream sequence in the middle of the issue that is somehow supposed to tie-in to the main story here, but it didn’t make any sense to me. Whatever the significance is of that dream sequence, it was entirely lost on me. Which is regrettable since it had some of the best art of this issue. I tried reading the scene again twice, but I still couldn’t understand it. Eh. Just another random moment in the series. Hopefully things will be clearer in future issues.
As mentioned, Chad Hardin returns to the title after his recent break for which Stephane Roux was brought on to the title and did an absolutely amazing job. The art was mostly decent, on the same level as Hardin’s other issues on the series. But there were some moments where things didn’t quite click such as this one panel early on with Harley and Sy-borg in which the former has an impossibly long stomach and there is no hint of a pelvis or anything, just legs. And the final villain of the issue just looks horribly weird, like some kind of an ape-woman rather than a really, really old woman.
Overall, decent at best, but hardly required reading for the main story.
Posted on April 19, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged Amanda Conner, Batman, Chad Hardin, Comics, Comics Review, Crime, DC Comics, Funny, Harleen Quinzel, Harley Quinn, Humour, Jimmy Palmiotti, John J. Hill, Joker, New 52, New York, Paul Mounts, Review, Review Central, Supervillains, Therapist. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.