Saturday, January 23, 2016

Harley Quinn #24 Review

No Asylum 

Written by: Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art by: Chad Hardin, Alex Sinclair and Tom Napolitano
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 20, 2016

I like Harley, I really do.  Sure, I may not fully agree with the current "over saturation fascination" (that sounds like a Human League song !) that DC Comics has with the character, but  as long as the stories are good, I'll support every and all of her books.  Like I said, I am a fan and no matter what my review scores add up to, I  really like Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti and it is them that made me fall in love with Harley in the first place.  Yep, I didn't care either way about Harley until reading this run and I still stand by my claim that the Harley/Power Girl arc (not the mini) was one of the best stories of 2014.  However, it is 2016 and I have fallen off the book a bit.  While the Gang of Harleys is a great concept, it didn't pan out as well as I'd have liked, but I still have high hopes because Harley is going back to Arkham.  So, does this issue get me back on the Harley trolley and start off another great arc of the book?  Let's find out...

While last issue's cliffhanger made everyone think that this issue would start in Arkham Asylum or even Gotham, we are still in New York City where Harley has some unfinished business to...finish. She heads to the Mayor's office and proceeds to beat the crap out of City Hall.  Actually, the Mayor's assistant, Cecil, takes the brunt of Harley's anger before the Mayor reluctantly allows her into his office.  Harley and the Mayor have a little back-and-forth that gets everyone up to speed on the sitch, but it just felt like filler.  Sure, the Mayor has a huge reason for hating Mason and Harley tries to plead his case, but nothing comes from it except Harley declaring war and the Mayor telling Cecil to take care of Harley.

Back in Coney Island, Harley is preparing to leave for Gotham when we see how Cecil gets things done. A group of armed thugs has shown up to cause some death and after Harley arms the gang, it's obvious we are in for an action packed and bloody good time.  There is blood, decapitations, more blood and some good action movie one-liners.  My favorite through it all was Zena Bendemova, but this type of scene is where she always shines.

After all the fighting (and a dog doing unthinkable things to Harley...or at least trying!), Harley interrogates the thugs that are still breathing and finds out that Cecil was indeed in charge.  There was a funny bit about the quality of hired muscle nowadays when a Hulk Hogan looking guy is the only one not to spill the beans and as a reward, Harley lets him use the fling the others at City Hall!  this bit wraps up with Cecil "retired", a thug running off to play the Power Ball and the Mayor pissed off at Harley.

Harley finally does leave for Gotham and the issue ends with Mason in his Arkham cell, getting to know his neighbor.  While the whole issue may have been treading water, the ending is sure to have everyone excited as hell for the next issue.  However, that's kind of the problem with this issue.

I am torn with this issue.  While I expected (and wanted) to see Harley on Arkham Asylum, the action we got was fun.  However, you can't deny this was a filler issue only used to get to the crazy cliffhanger to generate more buzz for next month.  I don't want to spoil it, but even with Harley playing a bit outside the normal continuity, it really felt like a gimmick.  A gimmick I want to see more of.  Like I said...I'm torn.

Chad Hardin makes this book a treat to look at whether it's the awesome character models or the bloody gore.  Kudos also go to Alex Sinclair for his great color work and Tom Napolitano, who gets to reveal the cliffhanger to those paying attention.

Bits and Pieces:

This issue might not get to Arkham Asylum to the very end, but it is a fun, action packed issue that is pretty much all filler.  It felt more like a commercial for the next issue instead of a necessary read, but Chad Hardin's art and some good one-liners made it less painful.  If you are a fan of Harley, you shouldn't be that upset, but if you are looking for Harley in Arkham, come back next month.


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