I am four days late than I originally anticipated and I apologize. A few things were in the way since Wednesday. I am here now so let us get on with the reviewing!
I am an LA girl and this next arc is set in my home town. I approve.
Cults, LA night life, Pink’s hot dogs, I mean, Pinky’s tacos and Hollywood/Highland and a little bit of mystery make this issue an engaging and fun read.
The gist of this story involves Harley having to rescue a girl from a cult. Sy Borgman caught this woman stealing hospital equipment so that she would sell it off to pay for her daughter’s return. Sy catches her and then recommends his friend Harley to get on the case. This was briefly referred to in the previous story arc with Horatio Strong, the Popeye-like character. Harley finds the girl and keeps her tied up in a seedy LA motel. This is the basic ‘spine’ of the issue but in true creative fashion, Palmiotti and Connor add characters and twists that add to Harley as an engaging and complex character.
The story starts with Harley arriving in LA by plane. She gets upset that her luggage isn’t found and proceeds to teach a very painful lesson to the airline worker about customer service that they will never forget. She goes to a house because of a tip and she is driven there by an out of work actor ‘named’ “Jarvis”. (Really?) The host of the party is a portly man who has no problem walking around au natural. She is caught in a crossfire between two mysterious henchmen one of whom she chases down only for that henchman to be hit by a passing police car. Harley is apprehended only for her to turn the situation around and she steals the squad car. It is here where we meet ‘Cowboy’.
Harley meets ‘Cowboy’ when she is driving the cruising presumably somewhere down Hollywood Boulevard. Why Harley seemed excited over seeing a cowboy is beyond me but I have a guess given P and Cs penchant for obvious and obscure references. A theory I have is that ‘Cowboy’ is a reference to Heath Ledger’s role in “Brokeback Mountain” and since his Joker is iconic, maybe this was a tip of that hat (heh) before Leto becomes the ‘new’ Joker for this generation.
I like ‘Cowboy’ because he is a no bull and tell it like it is type who I thought was a great foil for Harley’s goofy and Bugs Bunny like antics. We see this right from the first interaction where he says: “Well, here’s a gal who just wants to get right to it. You know, a person’s attitude goes some ways…defines what they want their lives to be, wouldn’t you agree?‘ Harley replies with a flakey “I guess I agree.” ‘Cowboy’ responds sternly with “You agreeing because you think it’s what I wanna hear or do you truly agree with what I’m saying?” Harley suggests that they have an adventure.
‘Cowboy’s’ Midwestern (he’s from Oklahoma) upbringing clashes with Harley’s New Yorker self. He is a gentleman and she is a minx. He has no agenda and she is someone who has no problem stealing police cars to get out of trouble. It’s here in Los Angeles, the city of weirdos and where ‘weird is normal’ where these two hit it off.
He is also someone with a past and is trying to make amends for it. This is someone that Harley can relate to.
After he helps her retrieve Sparrow, they hit the town. They eat at Pinky’s Tacos. This is an obvious to Pink’s Hot Dogs. The actual place is on La Brea and Melrose. I have not eaten there because when I am in the area, specifically when I visit Golden Apple Comics which is right across the street, its always full. I am sure they are delicious. The taco truck is obvious but as a native, allow to recommend a couple of places when you visit: El Taurino on Hoover by Olympic and El Gran Burrito on Santa Monica Boulevard. I am personally fond of El Taurino’s tacos with some nice rich horchata.
Another bit that I enjoyed was when they go to Hollywood and Highland. This is where you see all those people dressed up as characters. This is right front of the El Capitan. As someone who has gone there frequently, I can personally attest to Cowboy’s ‘hustler’s observation. As for the seedy Wonder Woman, I have yet to be personally propositioned but strange things have occurred here. There have been news broadcasts here that have mentioned a stabbing between a tourist and people dressed up in costume.
There is another bit that I noticed here. Harley meets a Harley cosplayer. Harley says that she only wears her traditional suit on ‘special occasions’. I thought this was a brilliant nod and twist to her iconic costume. It isn’t ‘retired’ as some originally believed. Yes, Harley has evolved as a character and in turn her costume has undergone dramatic changes yet she doesn’t forget who she is. Her CHOOSING to wear this new costume is just a makeover. It makes sense because I see Harley as someone who isn’t a creature of habit. She changes things up and her wardrobe reflects this. I am personally fond of the two toned strapless dress she wore early in the series in one image. The fact that she keeps her old costume put away save for those ‘special occasions’ was a brilliant move by the writers to acknowledge the traditional Harley suit without completely overriding it with their version. It pleases fans of the old and new Harley.
Tragically, the book ends with ‘Cowboy’ being shot in the chest by Deadshot. Ironically, Harley called Floyd ‘Cowboy’ in the Assault on Arkham blue ray so maybe that was a reference on part of the creators.
Once again, the writers knocked it out of the ball park.