Part two of Harley’s adventures in LA. The creative team hit it out of the ball park. If this were a movie this would be a black comedy with some mystery. While Harley’s title with Power Girl feels more like an artistic exercise of Harley in space, Harley in LA feels more natural. LA has a natural quirkiness with a dark side.
When we left off, Harley had a visit from Deadshot who just killed Cowboy. It turned out that he had a rap sheet. Nonetheless, Harley takes it personally. Perhaps I am reading too much into it but I noticed that right at the beginning, Harley and Deadshot are fighting and the first screen has them breaking through a wall. On the other side of this wall is a couple engaging in intimacy. I took it was a possibility that Harley and Deadshot could still be a possible item in the future. There is certainly sexual tension but we as the audience have not seen anything since that infamous scene way back in Suicide Squad #1.
Another (maybe not so surprising given the context of SS) scene involves Harley giving the finger to Deadshot. It is censored but it was enough to stand out. I heard Deadshot say ‘Shit’ in Assault on Arkham. I was not completely shocked. I was more…amused, I guess. It would be a waste of time to complain about how ‘edgy’ and dark Harley is. Need I mention her ‘Ride your Harley’ quote or the comment she made to Bullock about a subpoena in BTAS?
Taking advantage of the chaos, Sparrow Adaro escapes. She is tracked down to a Fitness Club somewhere in LA. Being an LA native and a member of LA Fitness since it was called Bally Total Fitness, I smiled. I don’t find the creative team’s LAisms offensive. I see that they did their homework. This also begs the question, since Harley eats like a horse how does she stay so trim. We didn’t get answers but I guess it’s easy to believe that she must burn all those calories when she is fighting crime. That and she has the metabolism of a hummingbird.
In the end, with the help of the lesbian couple Hannah and Vicky who run the Fitness Club which sometimes does dirty business. In the end, Sparrow is reunited with her mom, hopefully permanently.
I thought what was amusing was the exchange between Sparrow’s mom and Harley. This is one of the few times we see Harley use her skills as a therapist. In fact, some of the advice she gives sounds a lot like what my mother could have used back when I was 14 and I had my issues. I think it is very relevant today. Harley talks about giving her daughter ‘boundaries and limits’ and for her to work on her own issues to understand her daughter. I work with children and I think this is very important issue. The fact that Harley was the one giving this thoughtful and sound advice without any hint of victim blaming or buzz words suggests to me that she has now come full circle with her own issues. This further begs the question; Can Harley Quinn still be classified as ‘insane’? From toys to trading cards, this a key word that is used to describe her. Does this word still have any relevance to her? Given her immense popularity and mainstream acceptance of mental illness, I thought this brought up an important point. I will even take it further and say that even mentally ill people are capable of being cognitive and aware of their choices. Speaking as someone who was diagnosed with depression and OCD more than fifteen years ago, I thought that this ‘sound’ portrayal of Harley brought her full circle in that she doesn’t let that history define her nor does she try to hide it away. Harley doesn’t use her illness to get what she wants. She accepts it but doesn’t let it be a key component of who she is. This is demonstrated when the mother asks her
“What kind of bounty hunter are you?”
“The kind that has experience with this sort of thing.”
Okay, so it wasn’t a full on admission but I think that is part of Harley’s appeal as a mature and kooky character: she owns up to it but she doesn’t use it as a tool.
Some final thoughts.
I loved the ‘Shining’ reference as the cover.
The Renraw Sisters Tower. El. Oh. El.