Harley Quinn #19 seemingly wraps up the story arc about the cannibal mercenaries. I say seemingly because the creative team has teased that this wont be the end.
#18 was primarily action oriented with Eggy and Red Tool getting more spotlight. Harley gets caught in #17 and it isn’t until now that she escapes. Everything gets pretty much wrapped up and packaged here. Ahem.
I really liked that the team focused on this while leaving the extra stuff going on to the sidelines. The only thing that was pretty much guaranteed was Harley meeting up with Devi, a girl from the future who wins an opportunity to kill Harley after winning a Hunger Games like competition set way ahead in future in a time when figures like Batman and Harley are more mythologized figures. Given how the superhero genre is a staplepopular media, maybe that arc will deconstruct some of the ideas proposed in Grant Morrison’s Supergods.
Don’t get me wrong. I love being tempted and teased with ideas but when you have too many samples of those little chocolates, the anticipation gets ruined which is why I think the team was wise to ignore the other side storylines for now and just focus on Harley escaping her brush with near death. We know that Harley has 99 problems.
Harley escapes from being tied up by using one of her friend’s teeth. This friend who is now nothing more than bones was one of the homeless people that the mayor’s slimy assistant Madison Berkowitz wants to get rid of. She finds some tools which she uses to break out of her makeshift prison. When she breaks out, she doesn’t look too pleased. In fact, she looks like the stuff from your worst nightmares. I must say, she also looks pretty bad ass. With one hand holding a hammer and the other holding a very sharp object, she looks like bat out of Hell. John Timm’s art really shines here. His lines are so on point, it’s insane. I want his design of Harley holding those weapons on a t-shirt.
My only complaint is that in between Harley finding the weapons and her breaking out is cut by an interlude of Deadpool using a grapple which actually launches itself into some guy making inappropriate and creepy comments to his female coworker. This combined with the splashy blood art and cartoonish feel kind of killed the flow. I get that the team’s creative style is chaotic but let me savor the chocolate brownie fudge before I try the dulce de leche muffin.
Another part that I liked was when Police Chief Spoonsdale got involved. It has been hinted at but to see Spoondale acknowledge Harley as a vigilante with Red Tool saying that it was ‘official’ felt like a game changer. It made me think, ‘Is Spoonsdale now Harley’s Commissioner Gordon? What does this mean for the relationship between the two?’ There are some parallels between Harley and Spoonsdale with Gordon and Bats. Spoonie and Gordon are both men of the law and are willing to engage in cooperating with individuals who have their own methods of enacting justice. There are also big differences. Batman has a strict moral code whereas Harley does not and it with her, it depends on the situation. She does not mind being under the table and is more than happy to be rewarded with gift cards to Buffalo Wild Wings. It makes me wonder how it will play out in the series. I do hope we get more of Spoonie. He is an ally for Harley in high places. Plus, his straight laced no nonsense personality combined with her more hands on and impulsive personality can make for a great dynamic and a contrast to the one that Batman and Gordon have.
Count me in as another fan of Chief Harry Spoonsdale.
The Harley Loves Joker back up story is very classic ‘Mad Love’/BTAS Harley and Joker. It feels like a lost episode. There is a rather suggestive panel where Harley makes a ‘Twister’ comment that made me snerk. I do notice that Dini is straddling between appeasing the new and old fans of the Joker Harley pairing without trying to compromise Joker’s characterization: He is a selfish a**hole. He has done a great job so far. I am not sure about the part where he appeases Harley by letting her get the hyenas back. He seemed a little too nice. He doesn’t do things for people unless there is something in it for him. At the same time, I can let it go because Joker is not as dangerous as his comic self.