Cannibal mercenaries, naked aliens, and drama, oh my! Palmiotti and Conner struck another one out of the ball park with this one. They never disappoint.
Zany and colorful are the adjectives most often ascribed to this book. It’s a series that you can pick up without having to worry if it fits in some crossover going on. It’s a nice breath of fresh air compared to the other more serious titles. Yeah, I know. Tell me something I don’t know. I think another reason it’s so popular is because of Harley’s optimism. In a world where our world leaders give ammunition to talk show hosts and conversations about appropriation get more attention than actually helping people, Harley’s infectious optimism is a welcoming treat both from within fictional text and in the real world. Harley makes me, a withered old veteran, feel ‘hopeful’ that it will get better or at least that the problem can be solved. Why not have some laughs as we do it as well?
The title of this arc is called ‘Nether Regions’. It refers to the alien god Zorcrom who is released from a capsule from his alien ant followers (who came from the forbidden door mentioned all the way back in Harley #11. I knew there was something to that door and that that wasn’t the last time we would be seeing it!).
Now I don’t want to give it away too much but Harley and dick jokes are inevitable, but the way Harley makes the comments give it just enough edge without crossing over into raunch. Dick jokes are very hard (haha) to pull off (oh my) because I find most of them to be lazily contrived. Dick jokes are the tool of uncreative frat boys.. It’s like the go to gag. for the uninspired but with the right wording and timing, they can be a riot. One of my favorite moments involving the male member involved Iron Man and Thor when Thor tells Iron Man that only a few were allowed to see his ‘worthy hammer’. Now Thor being a god of honor and is a straight shooter, he doesn’t quip. That was until he said ‘The hammer I speak of is my manhood.’
Another part that I liked was when Harley was talking to Eggy about her ‘friendships’ with the Justice League. This was suggested as an idea to deal with the Naked Alien Invader. Harley tells him that they aren’t really friends. We all know that she wont be invited to any Hall of Justice meetings and even if it’s not in canon, Harley being in Batman’s team in Injustice says that even though she is doing more on the side of good, there is a distance. I see Harley’s ‘loose alliance’ with the League as an intriguing concept. It adds to her as a complex character. The fact that Batman trusted her enough to be on his team says a lot about her and him as well. This is someone who slept with the Joker. For Wonder Woman to tolerate her and for Power Girl to keep her on a sort of contacts list says that they trust her enough on some level but not to the point where they will trust her to completely turn around. She will never be Wonder Woman or Lois Lane. She is from Gotham, a place where even the biggest assholes do some good for the ‘right’ reasons.
I want to touch upon the new character that the team introduced in the previous arc, Madison Berkowitz. She is an ambitious aide to the mayor who is attempting to set out to make a name to herself. The means she is doing so are very underhanded and very scandalous. She is trying to ‘deal’ with the homeless problem by hiring mercenary cannibals to ‘take them off the streets’. One thing I admire about the writers is how they infuse creative writing with some commentary on media, especially media and popular culture. Not only do I see Madison Berkowitz as a Kellyanne Conway stand in, but I also see her as a stand in for the self serving personalities I see out there on the twittersphere. Not only do I include politically connected individuals, but I am also referring to bloggers and media personalities. I see this a lot with people who I don’t agree with and people who I do agree with. It sucks when you side with someone ideologically and you see them siding with someone and you can just smell the opportunity wafting off of them.
Personally, I like that a Harley Quinn comic is giving context to some nebulous ideas that are out there on social media but most are too afraid to point out. The team has big balls.
I can’t complain about the artwork. John Timms is phenomenal as ever. Some of his panels towards the end with the reintroduction of Harley Sinn are Bruce Timm-esque but not in a bad way. I am currently talking an illustration course and I would kill to draw faces with seeming ease the way he does. He adds more lines than Timm, especially on the men. Khari Evans is the latest who does artwork on certain pages. They have a good eye for detail, especially on Zorcrom’s abs and Harley’s hair. I am jealous.
Harley Sinn returns and she is hired as a mercenary by a mysterious company to kill Mason Macabre. Palmiotti and Conner know how to weave a tale. Some people may call them ‘inconsistent’. Personally, I liken their vision to a big fat juicy XXL from Fatburger with all the extras. Sure, there is a lot going on but when you are done, you want to come back for more.
On a personal note, I had some very good news that I received this week. I will reveal the course of these events in due time. Let’s just say that life works in mysterious ways and I want to wish a special thank you to that person. You are amazing. 🙂