Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Harley Quinn and Her Gang of Harleys #2 Review and **SPOILERS**

A Killers’ Eye Tour of New York City

Written By: Frank Tieri & Jimmy Palmiotti
Art By: Mauricet, Hi-Fi
Letters By: Dave Sharpe
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: May 11, 2016


I’m gonna give it to you straight, folks: New York City really blows right now. I suppose its got the same tourist stuff that’s always enticed the grazers, but if you’re looking for a livable city and you’re not an investment banker or accruing extra money through graft, I’d say you could skip it. Most of the cool, affordable places are gone, the outer boroughs are becoming as expensive as Manhattan used to be (and Manhattan real estate is obscenely overblown), and it’s become a veritable police state with a real antagonistic relationship between cops and citizens. Mayor DiBlasio is a real old-time New York mayor in the tradition of many other glad handing fake-outs that talked big and did very little. What this city needs, in actuality, is Harley and her gang, to come cause a little chaos and mayhem and shake the coke-fueled blatherati out of their reverie. A fella can dream, can’t he? Until a bunch of leather-clad chicks do ride down Fifth Avenue whipping chains and spiked maces like something out of the Road Warrior, we’ve got issue #2 of Harley Quinn and Her Gang of Harleys, which you will find I’ve reviewed if you read on!

Explain It!

Isn’t it always the way? You stage a fake kidnapping of yourself in order to motivate and galvanize your gang of do-gooders, and wind up actually getting kidnapped by some wacko who puts the families of your gang members to shame. That’s what happened to Harley last issue, at the hands of the enigmatic and kind of gross Harley Sinn, a woman with a bunch of facial tattoos and a haircut like Betty Boop. Now Harley’s in a warehouse with a bunch of assassins hired by Sinn to take out each member of Harley Quinn’s gang, minus one that Sinn had to kill for disobeying orders. Still, Harley Sinn goes forward with her plan to send one assassin to each member of the gang and kill them. Seems like a really, really stupid plan that is bound to encounter way too many variables, but what do I know? Back at Coney Island, Coach and Big Tony are acting as a hub for the Harleys (I think I’ll call it…Harleys Hub), who have each gone to their families and ascertain the threats against them, implied last issue when Sinn revealed she had cameras on all of them. First is Bolly Quinn, who goes to see her mom and grandma at their Indian restaurant (awesomely named “Tandoori 2 Die 4”) and packs them off to somewhere in Astoria, where they will be safe for some reason. Then…though it’s actually twenty minutes earlier, Harvey Quinn is being harassed outside some biker bar, and he beats the hell out of two bikers when they knock over an old lady trying to intervene. He puts his visiting Midwestern parents up at a hotel and checks in with Coach, who tells him to rendezvous with Bolly at the restaurant. At this location, one of Sinn’s assassins is there but she tells him to pull back as well…almost as if she realizes this plan sucks!
Uptown, Harlem Quinn is spied by another of Sinn’s minions (Let’s call them…Sinnions), but before he can murder Sinn instructs him to fall back as well. Pissed at missing his opportunity, he’s about to cut up a bunch of bystanders when Harlem drop kicks him in the head. Then there’s this really funny sequence where the bystanders try to get rid of the killer’s unconscious form that results in his grisly death. I like this, I said the plan was stupid and here, it’s proving to be stupid. Not like I would have pegged Harley Sinn to be the organized type to being with. Harlem likewise gets instructions to meet Bolly and Harvey down at the restaurant. Over in Flushing (Reggie’s birthplace!), Harley Queens checks in on her parents, and finding them in good health and needling as usual, calls Coach to get steered downtown to the same restaurant as the others. When Queens leaves, we see that Sinn’s assassin has been behind one of the couches in the living room the whole time! Which freaked me out a little because the first scary movie I ever saw was When a Stranger Calls, and I still can’t watch it to this day. Same deal happens with Carli Quinn in the Bronx, except there’s no killer stalking her since that was the one Harley Sinn killed in the beginning. So now everyone in the Gang of Harleys, save for Coach, has convened at Bolly Quinn’s parents’ restaurant, and all of Harley Sinn’s people, except for the two that died, are across the street on a rooftop. Sinn wheels a bound and gagged Harley to a Brooklyn rooftop, presumably just across the East River from the restaurant, to dig into this long-winded villain speech that is really not that bad, but maybe a little too much preamble for the obvious rocket launched into the restaurant by one of the Sinnions across the way!

So this issue was pretty reminiscent of last issue: little vignettes of each gang member traipsing through their preferred part of New York City, this time saving their friends and family instead of procrastinating in looking for Harley Quinn. Still, I enjoyed it—the little diversions with Harvey and Harlem served to liven things up, and I did feel a little bit like yelling, “Don’t you all go to that restaurant! You’re gonna get killed!” at the comic book as I read it. But I didn’t. Instead I spoke to the comic in soft, cooing tones like I always do. “Who’s a good comic book? Yes, you are! You’re a very good comic book!” This is a Palmiotti-derived Harley Quinn book, so guess what? The artwork is great (and the same team as last time, incidentally) and the plotting is expertly, uh, plotted. It was a little heavy on exposition and a little light on story, but the high quality and few good quips make this a worthwhile read for any extant fan of Harley Quinn.

Bits and Pieces:

There should be a warning label on the cover of this book: DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU ALREADY LIKE THE MAIN BOOK. I wouldn't expect people to just pick up the miniseries, but it takes all types in this world. If you are a fan of Harley Quinn, then I think you will enjoy this book quite a lot, because it's not short on the main Quinn herself, and has enough thrills and laughs to act as a good supplement to Harley's expanding continuity. This issue could have done with less talky and more punchy, but I enjoyed it enough and look forward to see what's in store for the Gang next issue!

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