I don't normally do this, but I just have to share: here's the incredible variant cover, also by AmandaConner and Alex Sinclair, that is an absolute treat.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Harley Quinn #28 Review and **SPOILERS**
Goin’ to the Chapel and We’re Gonna Get Bloodied
Art By: John Timms, Alex Sinclair, Moritat, Hi-Fi
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: May 18, 2016
**NON SPOILERS AND SCORE AT THE BOTTOM**
One of the side effects of reviewing every book containing Harley Quinn throughout the DCU is that, sometimes, I step into an issue of Harley Quinn and I need to familiarize myself with the plot. “Is this the one where there’s a Jewish Harley Quinn or the one where she gets red and black power rings?” It doesn’t take long to get acclimated, it’s not like this is a problem with the comic book, it’s just funny how, inside my head, Harley is always in between three or more wacky adventures. I imagine it’s much worse for Conner and Palmiotti, who have to remember this story plus stories months into the future! Well you needn’t worry your pretty little head over that, dear reader, because I have only reviewed one comic book, issue number twenty-eight of Harley Quinn. And you can see that specified, tailored review if you read on!
So I am at a bit of a deficit here, because there’s a plot point stemming from before the time I started reviewing Harley Quinn, and therefore reading it regularly: the mayor of New York, who looks kind of like Guile from Street Fighter II, wants to kill Harley. This was touched upon an issue or two ago, and though I’m not sure why he wants Quinn to expire of unnatural causes, suffice to say this is more payoff for the Harley Quinn fan that has been reading since the beginning. Kudos to you, team Harley, for your foresight and craft. So this issue picks up with the new Chief of Police, Harry Spoonsdale, getting a tip off about Harley's whereabouts, just as he’s about to be introduced by the mayor at a press conference. Spoonsdale tells the mayor about the situation, and he excuses the Chief—that’s how big his hard-on is for Harley Quinn. So Spoonsdale mobilizes a small infantry to the place we last left Ms. Q: at a Brooklyn church where Red Tool (totally not a parody of Deadpool, btw) has arranged a hasty wedding with a priest and attendees held captive. Harley reacts like you think she’d react: she kicks Red Tool’s ass unconscious and asks one of the members of the groom’s party for answers.
Just then, Spoonsdale and his militia show up at the church and demand Quinn show herself. Thinking that some deal made with the mayor previously (another specific about which I am unaware) is still intact, she walks out to tell the cops that she’s not responsible for the debacle happening within the church, when all of them unload their automatic weapons at her, and I say at her because not one of them so much as nicks her badonkadonk. While Red Tool is napping, Harley and the vicar (is he a vicar? I just always wanted to use that word) grab the ground and the House of God is riddled with bullets that, in turn, riddle the captive audience. During the shooting, Red Tool wakes up and Harley presses him for some pertinent facts. Turns out the recently deceased witnesses to their wedding are all New York City’s most wanted: rapists, murderers, mob bosses, and probably assholes that stand in subway stairwells yapping on their cell phones. Even the priest is a kiddie-diddler, so Harley has no compunction against taking his holy robes and using them as a white flag so she can have a jaw session with Spoonsdale. The Chief, none to happy about his trigger-happy cops, walks into the church to speak with Harley Quinn and Red Tool, which is not a sentence I thought I’d be writing this week.
Inside the church, instead of throwing up a lung, Spoonsdale takes in the carnage while Harley and Tool tell him about each of the newly-dead and sometimes partially-decapitated invitees. Spoonsdale is impressed enough to cut a deal with Quinn and Red, which is to essentially thank them on the nightly news for their heroism and let them escape. This incenses the mayor, watching on television, but Spoonsdale makes it clear he’s willing to work with half-baked lunatics if it means it will keep his streets safer. Which, typing that now, really shows how he doesn’t know Harley Quinn that well. Speaking of getting to know Harley better, Red Tool apologizes for being so forward, having thrown a surprise hostage wedding and all, and suggests they get to know each other over some hot dogs at the place that is definitely not supposed to be Nathan’s on Surf Ave. Over franks, Red Tool reveals that he knows everything about Harley Quinn, and it does get a little creepy, while also bringing the reader (me) up to speed on the world of Harley Quinn—Palmiotti and Conner do this routinely during the series, and it’s good form, other comic book creators! He knows everything—even about Harley’s stuffed beaver—and really starts to win her over when Red Tool throws a hammer at the head of an inattentive father. The two of them convene at the shore, where Harley slips into her skivvies and steps into the water while Tool sings her praises. And then there’s this sort of turn, where Red Tool doesn’t seem to be talking just about Harley Quinn, but about all the Harley Quinns out there—the kids who are wicked smart (as they say in New England) but a little rambunctious, ADHD children with good hearts and fine intentions that inadvertently cause a little ruckus. And somewhere along this date, I went from dismissing Red Tool as a sort of temporary foil for Harley Quinn, capitalizing on the recent Deadpool movie and many comic enthusiasts’ persistent lust for the character in general (“The Harley Quinn of Marvel Comics!” says no one), I started to actually like this moronic character. This murderous goofball that talks in power tool and buzzsaw word balloons, who says silly stuff and looks like a reject from the Cobra Command, actually started to show some empathy. And that really pissed me off! Damn you, Conner and Palmiotti! Damn you for making me care about this stupid fucking character!!!
Red Tool doesn’t go into the water with Harley because he doesn’t want to rust his blades, so he’ll be kicking himself in the head later that night. The two of them bury the hatchet, metaphorically speaking, and Harley says she’s going to think about whether she wants to be friends with him—but he’s got to go away for a while. That could be anywhere from four to eight issues! Then there’s an epilogue, but you know what? I’m not going to bother telling you what it is, because it sets up the next issue. And if this recap didn’t make you want to buy this issue, then you’re never gonna get on the trolley. There was a whole dream sequence illustrated by Moritat that was awesome, but I didn’t even mention it because you don’t deserve it. You hear me? You don’t deserve Harley Quinn if you’re not going to care for and protect her! Oh god, what’s happened to me…I have come to enjoy this ridiculous Harley Quinn universe. Like I say, you’re either in or you’re out. Those that are in get high-quality, well-drawn comics with a continuity tighter than a flea’s asshole. Those that are out can go read their stories about collapsing dimensions and worldwide apocalypses or whatever. You don’t deserve Harley Quinn.
Bits and Pieces:
Conner and Palmiotti pull a dirty trick on the reader and make a throwaway, parody goofball like Red Tool into a likable character with whom we can empathize. There are some new developments at the police department that spell a new status quo for Harley Quinn, but she is able to take it in stride due to her very high-cut booty shorts. They allow her to stride, you see? Get maximum extension of her legs? Ah, jokes are lost on you. The art is great, which you've already guessed if you read Harley Quinn. So pick it up if the mention of "booty shorts" is enticing to you.