Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Harley Quinn #3 Review and **SPOILERS**

Zombie Somebody or Zombie Somebody’s Fool

Written By: Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti
Art By: Bret Blevins, Chad Hardin & John Timms, Alex Sinclair
Lettered By: Dave Sharpe
Cover Price: $2.99
On Sale Date: September 7, 2016


My mom spent a lot of time raising her kids on the same movies she watched as a child. Since she recalled fondly the 1950s double feature monster flicks and Friday night Depression-era B-rolls, most of the movies I saw were what some esteemed film critics would insightfully call “crap.” And yet, even in this crap, there were some sparkling peanuts and niblets of corn, as with George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, considered the grand daddy of the modern zombie movie. It’s a low-budget affair, for sure, in a grainy black and white film that belies its 1960s production. Plainly described, it’s about a bunch of hysterical people trapped in a house, looking more like a theater production than a motion picture. And yet within these “limitations,” Romero creates a sense of immediate dread and hysteria, even while tackling some serious social issues—that persist until today. I should say no more! If you haven’t seen it, you should watch it. And if you have seen it, let me know what you think of it in the comments. I wonder how many find the movie “silly” today, and yet have come here to read my review of Harley Quinn #3, possibly the silliest comic book on the stands!

Explain It!

Despite Coney Island being overrun by a mob of flesh-hungry zombies, and Harley Quinn having shot out several floors of the building’s windows, the local hospital’s staff is still capable of performing a complex arm-reattachment surgery the very night of admittance, which is very impressive. They say that American health care is in the toilet, but when a masked assassin can be scatapulted (don’t ask) with his arm in a cooler into a hospital, and be on the operating torture that very night, then you’ve got to agree that something is being done correctly. Unfortunately, an adult arm doesn’t keep very well in a mini cooler, regardless of how quickly to which the wound is attended, and so they’ve had to make a last-minute switch to using Victor “the Chronic” Temple, a pervert exhibitionist that was accidentally killed while escaping the police after exposing himself in Prospect Park, as an arm donor for Red Tool. His anxiety is quelled, however, when the doctor reveals that the Chronic was a lefty, and Tool got his right arm. And I’m sure this is wacky development will have no future ramifications and we’ll never hear about it again!

Meanwhile, many light years away on planet Zhelbon, the parents of the dumb kid that got accidentally processed into Nathan’s Nateman’s hot dogs that caused this whole Coney Island Zombie mess (there’s your free band name) are concerned about him, since he hasn’t returned home from being ground into a fine paste that was extruded through sausage casings and heated for the consumption of beachgoers. Papa Creepy Lizard Guy, smoking a very spacey-looking pipe, agrees to get their cruiser and go looking for the little dope—he’s sure the kid is out there making new friends. And speaking of “out there,” Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are back at Harley’s apartment, with the rest of the gang, discussing their options—which, according to Harley, include her getting into Ivy’s mossy pants. They decide they should stay holed up at Chez Quinn and ride this weirdly-contained outbreak until the authorities drop a nuclear bomb or something, except Harley Quinn is out of food! And when she gets hungry, she gets crazy…er, crazier!

After a shower together (yep), Poison Ivy and Harley go with the crew through some secret tunnels that Big Tony knows about, hidden beneath the building and extending to a very ornate and evil-looking doorway. They come to a rotunda with several different-looking doors—one is a vault, one is boarded up, and one is chained so heavily that you couldn’t get through it with dynamite. This is the one Harley wants to open, but Tony is able to coerce her into the door marked for a nearby theater that burned down at the turn of the century. Well, I think it’s a shoe store now, because Harley and her people emerge into a stock room of shelves filled with shoeboxes. This sends Harley scrambling to find a coveted pair, which alerts some zombies that soon overtake the motley Coney Island crew. Uh, and Poison Ivy too. Just when all seems hopeless, a spaceship containing the alien parents from earlier sends out a wide beam over Surf Avenue, and this pulls chunks of their masticated son from the bodies of every zombie, rendering them harmless. And dead. And so everything is back to normal, except perhaps the spontaneous and humiliating deaths of a couple hundred people and the resulting traumatic horror show that must be littering the streets.

What did you expect? The kind of ending where Harley Quinn finds a cure and restores everyone back to their old human selves? That ain’t her style! Sure, she didn’t love smashing in the pulpy faces of her friends and neighbors, but a girl’s gotta do what she’s gotta do to survive. Conner and Palmiotti seed all kinds of future stories in this issue, per their usual style, and the best parts of this book are when Harley and Ivy interact. Harley is a complete horn-dog, trying to bed Poison Ivy the whole time, but Ivy is distinctly shown to be very patient (and, occasionally, willing) and and loving with Harley, even as she must rebuff her advances during a zombie apocalypse. The artwork? It’s great! What did you expect from a Harley Quinn book? Chopped liver? Because that would be pretty weird.

Bits and Pieces:

A ridiculous ending to a pretty silly story makes for good Harley Quinn fun. There are lots of little tidbits dropped in this issue that are sure to pay off down the line, but the real star of the issue is the dynamic between Poison Ivy and Harley, which is so succinct in its complexity. This might not sit well with certain Leagues, but I liked it a lot and would love to see more!

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  1. Given the popularity of Harley Quinn I am both impressed and surprised by how open Palmiotti and Connor are at depicting her free-loving sexuality. This comic continues to entertain and break expectations.

  2. I actually like Red Tool more than harley in this book, might pick it up digitally until he dies just to keep up


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