Friday, January 1, 2016

Harley Quinn and Power Girl # 6 Review and *SPOILERS*

Written By: Justin Gray, Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti
Art By: Stephane Roux, Moritat, Elliot Fernandez, Flaviano, Paul Mounts
Letters By: Marilyn Patrizio
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 30, 2015

Looks Like You Got a Spot of Harley Quinn in Your Power Girl Comic Book

*Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Finally we arrive at the answer of the unasked question: What happened to Harley Quinn and Power Girl when they were temporarily whisked away by Clock King’s portal staff in Harley Quinn #12? You remember that, don’t you? No? You don’t remember this little scene from a comic book that came out over a year ago? Well that’s a relief, because I didn’t even read it. I inherited this book from Jim and I’ve been reviewing it as a standalone story, because that’s what it is. A goof. A laugh. A poke in the ribs and a sly wink and a chortle. One that costs, all-told, twenty-four bucks. Has it all been worth that much? Read on to find out!

Explain It!

Last issue, we saw Harley destroy a giant robot head called the Harvester of Sorrows and bring peace to a portion of the galaxy under its, uh, metaphyisical thumb. Well, you can forget all that shit and practically everything that happened in this miniseries because now Power Girl has to reluctantly marry Vartox of Valeron in order to get his special decoder ring that will open a portal back to earth, for some reason. Everything is going along awkwardly, when Harley reminds the attendant giant blue Elvis impersonator, who I must assume has the proper credentials to apply nuptials, that he’s forgotten to ask any in attendance if they have any objections. This opens a portal that Power Girl, Harley Quinn, and Vartox fall into because of the Physical Law of Three’s Company Hijinks.

Through the portal is an idyllic, suburban, 1950s-style world where people smile at their neighbors and men dress in pressed slacks with a crease down the front of the legs. It basically looks like a less sexy Leave It to Beaver. Our hapless trio tumbles into this weird pocket dimension and a few dozen kids come streaming out of one ranch-style home for Vartox, all yelling “Daddy!” That’s when we see their mom, a cigarette-smoking, martini-drinking Power Girl lookalike that has a boob window in her housedress. P. Girl gets pissed at Vartox; says he’s created statues and androids of her in creepy adoration, and now he’s collecting different version of PeeGee from the multiverse?! Of course, Power Girl punches him down the block, which makes her homemaker doppelganger step up and start cleaning her clock.

And what’s Harley Quinn doing during all of this tumult? Eating fucking popcorn. No seriously, check it out:
Comic book action, ladies and gentlemen!
That’s just rude. For one thing, this is supposed to be a team-up book spinning out of the Harley Quinn series. For another thing, you don’t just whip out a bag of popcorn without having enough to share with the reader. The June Cleaver Power Girl is threatening to kill Harley because she’s just turned into a super jealous bitch, so the normal Power Girl gives her the Super Flying Double-Fist Punch (also one of Eric’s signature sex moves) that knocks the fake Power Girl mom into a crater, which reveals she’s actually a robot! What the fuck is going on here?! Power Gal just complained about Vartox having gone beyond making mere robots by enslaving her multiversal twin, but now we find out she was a robot anyway? Was this comic book written during a bout of Scarlet Fever? PeeGee uses her x-ray vision to determine the whole place is just a bunch of robots. Vartox professes his love for Power Girl but ultimately uses his special ring to open a portal back to earth that returns the ladies to fight Clock King and Cluemaster, where we left them in issue #12.

And that’s it. In some ways, this one issue is a microcosm for the whole series: a bunch of plot points set up in the first part of the book that are wiped away by harried contrivances in the last third. Obviously, Vartox didn’t need the wedding in order to use the portal ring, he isn’t collecting Power Girls, and pretty much everything that happened was completely meaningless by the last three pages. Plus, Harley Quinn doesn’t do anything in this issue except sort of hang around. This entire series has had trouble juggling the two titular characters, each issue seemed to highlight one over the other, relegating one to saving the day while the other hangs in the background and eats popcorn. Despite having three pencilers, the art in this book is really good and fairly seamless. Indeed, the art in this whole miniseries was pretty top-notch. But the story was insipid and without consequence, and in the final analysis it was a waste of time and money. I don’t need a story to be tightly-woven into current continuity to enjoy it, but it has to have some purpose besides filling pages with blather and giving Palmiotti’s friends something to draw and write.

Bits and Pieces:

We’ve reached the conclusion of Harley Quinn and Power Girl’s wacky romp through space, and it is fairly well a dud. This issue employs the literary device called Making Shit Up As You Go Along and frankly it’s insulting to anyone that’s spent the time and money to read the series to this point. The saving grace is the artwork, that—despite being done by three separate pencilers—is really good throughout. But it’s not worth the story, which changes gears several times during the issue and renders meaningless what came before. The whole thing reads like a forgettable issue of Power Girl with a Harley Quinn cameo that does nothing for the book. I was more tickled to see Cluemaster and Clock King for a couple of panels.


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