Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Harley Quinn and Her Gang of Harleys #3 Review and **SPOILERS**

Love the Quinn You’re In

Written By: Jimmy Palmiotti & Frank Tieri
Art By: Mauricet, Alex Tefenkgi, Hi-Fi
Letters By: Dave Sharpe
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: June 8, 2016


As cable television continues to lose ground to the more catered world of Internet media, we’re starting to see some weird shows. Lots of ghost and monster hunting going on. Brilliant programs that are literally extended shots of puppies and kittens. And at the higher numbers, what looks like local television from elsewhere around the country, channels that subsist almost totally on re-runs of classic shows and infomercials. Sort of brings me back to the network television of my youth. Anyway, I had the great fortune to catch an episode of Hogan’s Heroes on one of these channels a week or so ago, a show I’d not seen since the early 1990s. I loved it, but for a different reason than when I was a teenager—just the very idea of this multicultural crew being held at a Nazi prison camp seemed to be the logical extension of films like Bridge on the River Kwai and From Here to Eternity, a sort of reaffirmation to staid American culture that the rest of the world still gave a shit about them. I think I originally hoped to reach a point where I could compare Hogan’s Heroes to Gang of Harleys, but I find that I can’t, so enjoy my review of issue #3!

Explain It!

This issue picks up exactly where the last one left off, with the remaining members of the Sinn-dicate on a rooftop across the street from Bolly Quinn’s parents’ restaurant, now demolished by an RPG. The Gang of Harleys (save for Coach who is back at Harley Quinn’s in Coney Island with Tony and the crew, and Hannukah Quinn for no particular reason) was in that restaurant, and though they don’t see any bodies the big one who likes his stupid Harley Sinn costume phones in their success. And so this six-issue miniseries ends prematurely with issue number thr…wait, there’s more? It turns out Bolly and Harlem saw the rocket launch from the rooftop, ran inside and ushered everyone into the kitchen’s industrial refrigerator, which are well known to be bomb-proof. I’m not sure that all of that could have been accomplished in the time it takes for a fired rocket to cross the street, but I’ll go with it. Unfortunately, the blown-up restaurant’s rubble is blocking the door to the cooler and the Gang is freezing, owing in no small part to the fact that most of them wear leather bikinis. Wait…people trapped in a commercial freezer? This could be one of my favorite episodes of Three’s Company!

After much bickering and eating of the restaurant’s ice cream, the Gang discovers a trap door in the floor of the freezer, and downstairs looks to be the remnants of an old Speakeasy. Eventually, they emerge in beautiful Bum Crap Alley, and Bolly is able to get a cell phone signal again. Coach, who has been frantically trying to reach them, remarks on their advantage of being presumed dead, and tells them to convene at her house…a well-appointed mansion in Woodstock, NY. We learn the same accident that robbed Coach’s sight and ability to walk also took the lives of her parents, but also made her super rich and able to set up a high-tech war room. Am I crazy, or could the Gang of Harleys support their own book about now? It’s sort of like a Juggalo Birds of Prey with a twisted Oracle at the HQ. Using her gadgetry, they’re able to determine that Harley Sinn was originally an applicant to the Gang of Harleys, and they trace her to a Brooklyn warehouse bought under her real name. Oh, and uh, Hannukah Quinn is hiding out in a motel with her great-uncle Sy Borgman. In case you were curious.

So while the Gang is taking the long drive back from Woodstock to Brooklyn, Harley Quinn plays fake-nice with Harley Sinn as she breaks loose of her bonds and then plays real-tries to choke her to death. Before Sinn can expire, however, the Sinn-dicate returns and belts Harley over the head with a chair. They’re about to mud stomp her, but Sinn protects Quinn and says that she’s going to co-run the new Gang of Harleys, which is the poor dopes working for Sinn if you didn’t get it. They think that’s all well and good, except that their paychecks bounced, prompting Sinn to make a phone call to what we can assume is a wealthy parent. She threatens to humiliate them at the next charity ball if her accounts aren’t unfrozen, which seems to work, but the Sinn-dicate doesn’t want to fire another small missile at an Indian restaurant until they get paid. They threaten Sinn, which will turn out to be a huge mistake. The Gang of Harleys eventually makes it to the warehouse, and bust right in like the lovable hotheads they are. When they get to the lair proper, they discover a bloodbath—Harley Sinn has massacred everyone in her admittedly small posse. The one guy that likes his costume is alive enough to warn them that the place is rigged with time bombs to explode shortly after they enter, so they all jump out the windows for a terrific shot of an explosion worthy of Rambo: First Blood Part 2. Next up: where is Harley Quinn? Where is Harley Sinn? And will Hannukah Quinn get involved?

This was a pretty crazy issue that had some unlikely geography, but was pretty entertaining and enjoyable nonetheless. It broke from the formula of previous issues, which had been a show of each member in their respective ethnic environments, instead focusing primarily on their growing familiarity and care for one another. Again, this all takes place in Harley Quinn’s richly-colored and weird world, so if you can just read a comic book without wondering why there’s a goat-human walking around in a tank top, then you can pass on this. But this mini is better than some other Harley Quinn miniseries, in that it has an interesting and fairly detailed cast of characters.

Bits and Pieces:

I don't want to spoil too much here, but the Gang of Harleys might not be as diminished as was implied at the end of the last issue. We learn more about Coach and a few of the members, through their dialogue and relationships with their family. Things do take a twist in this issue; whether it's interesting or not will depend on how much you like this Gang of Harleys. Me, I like 'em just fine, though I'd probably like 'em better if they were called Harley's Heroes.

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