Art by: Chad Hardin and Alex Sinclair
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 10, 2015
Strong to the Finish
Harley Quinn has been one of my favorite books since it hit the stands because of it's crazy humor, pop culture references and...Harley. She is such a great character and Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner have turned her into solid gold. In a DC Comic landscape that seems to be getting crowded with "all-ages" books (though I disagree with what some people define as such), it's a breath of fresh air for a book to wear it's fart and dick jokes on it's sleeve and pump it's inappropriate fist in the air. However, one can't live on dick jokes alone (or can they?!?) and this book is at it's finest when it also has a strong story to support the madness. That's what I'm hoping we have with this Gang of Harleys story. Thanks to Harley Quinn #16 and the awesome sneak peek, I'm already in love with the team and can't wait to see the fireworks fly. I know it will be fun, but is it good as well? Let's find out.
The issue opens with some dirt bags doing the old "steal the trash cans so that the victims will go to their store and repurchase said trash cans to set up the whole thing again" scam. Oh, if I had a nickel. Unfortunately (for those jerks), the Gang of Harleys is on the case. One rocket launcher and a BFG later, case closed, Harley style. If you like big, over the top action then you will love this opening.
The meat of the story rears it's head in the next scene when Harley heads off to make a "deal" with the Mayor to keep the authorities off the Gangs back. Some may call it blackmail (actually the Mayor calls it that), but it's just negotiating to Harley. Harley gets her way, but the Mayor is none too happy and sets a plan in motion that is sure to cause zany conflicts from her on out.
If you've been reading Harley, you know the book's narrative jumps around like a kangaroo on a pogo stick and this issue is no different. Thank god it does because this next part is my favorite. Why? Because it involves an analog of Popeye! His boat is stuck in a strange seaweed and from the minute I saw him I was praying that he would open his mouth and eat it. My prayers were answered!
If you have read past issues, you know that the reason Harley started the Gang was to have more time for the important things in life; psychiatry, roller derby and Mason to name a few. That's what made the next bit so great and so sad. Harley and Mason finally get that date and it was worth the wait. They talk about their childhoods and are really kicking it off until the cops show up. Yea, Mason has been on the run and is going back to jail and Harley can't get involved. She has the Gang to think about now. While I love the crazy situations and jokes, I really like what Conner and Palmiotti are doing here. Forcing Harley to hold back and follow the law is sooooo against her nature and while she has good intentions, I want to be around when she pops.
While most of the Gang trains with Eggy (which is awesome!), Harlem and Harvey head off on the next job...finding Popeye. Their first stop is Harpoon Hanks and I'm not sure what's going on in that bar, but after some Coyote Ugly action, they find their man. He better say, "That's all I can stands, I can't stands no more" next issue or I'll be so upset.
Even with all the action in this issue, this was one of the tamer issues of Harley in a long time. Part of the reason is that this issue is a lot of setup. It does set up some great stuff and had to be done to get the story off in the right direction. It's defiantly off in the right direction and I can't wait to see what happens next. That is after they deal with Popeye.
Chad Hardin and Alex Sinclair never disappoint. Even with all the crazy situations and characters that Palmiotti and Conner throw their way, they always come out on top and unscathed. This issue looks great, but with those two, that's no surprise at all.
Bits and Pieces:
The Gang of Harleys is in the house and while this issue has a bunch of setup, it also has Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner's hilarious, inappropriate humor. The art is great and everything looks to be in place for a really cool story. Plus, it kind of has Popeye in it...how awesome is that?!? Recommended.