Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Harley Quinn and her Gang of Harleys #5 Review and **SPOILERS**

Sinn Begins

Written By: Jimmy Palmiotti & Frank Tieri
Art By: Mauricet, Inaki Miranda, Dawn McTeigue, Ray McCarthy, Mark Roslan, Hi-Fi
Lettered By: Dave Sharpe
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: August 31, 2016


Yo, we're not here to preach because we're not ministers
We're telling like it is ‘cause Ren and Dre is like sinister
Reality speaks for itself when it's spoken
A basehead cluck can't blame nobody for smoking
Yo, bullets flying, mothers crying, brothers dying
Lying in the streets, that's why we're trying
To stop it from falling apart and going to waste
And keeping a smile off of white face
N.W.A. never preaching, just teaching
The knowledge of the streets to each and
All that don't understand, that's why we came
To let you know that we're all in the same gang

Explain It!

Welcome to Secret Origin featuring Harley Sinn, where we learn about the poor widdle girl that wasn’t loved correctly by her douchebag parents. She was born to an ultra-wealthy real estate magnate that is not Donald Trump but is totally Donald Trump and a trophy wife who were indifferent to her, so she lashed out and started doing normal rebellious stuff: getting into fights, mouthing off to her teachers, and shooting one of her classmates. Not Donald Trump would use his money and influence to cover up her sadistic ways, as Sinn points out it was just another way not to deal with her directly. Hey Harley Sinn, ever consider that maybe you weren’t interesting enough? I mean, most kids are so BOR-ring, you have to have a good buzz going just to spend an uninterrupted hour with them. After Harley Sinn burns down her house, killing two people, her parents send her away to a remote island to live a life of indulgent, solitary luxury. That’s a punishment??? But I do understand the subtle implication that Sinn’s parents are so detached from and unable to confront her that they would literally send her away to a deserted island.

Meanwhile, if you will recall, the Gang is on said deserted island and beset by a trio of robots that resemble Power Girl, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman. And they are so awesome. Like, can we have some toys made up right away? And maybe a Harley Quinndroid & Robo-Friends Action Hour cartoon show? Each of them has some cool-ass weapons, too: Poison Ivy-bot has some electrified fines that she uses to whip the crap out of Bolly Quinn, Power Girl-bot has boob missiles that…well, it’s pretty self-explanatory. And Catwoman-bot, she’s a robot, which really is cool enough. Plus it looks like she shoots lasers out of her hands or something. Point is, the Gang is no match for this trio, so Harlem gives the order for everyone to run away!

Back to the tortured drama of Harley Sinn, the torturer: on La Isla Mal Chica, Sinn is attended by a small, rotating staff that are not allowed to form an emotional bond with Harley Sinn. They try to establish that remotely through a television set, which makes sense because the only time I feel anything approaching an emotion, it’s when I’m watching those animal shelter fundraising commercials with the Sarah MacLaughlin song. Eventually, Sinn gets off the island by threatening and then killing the regular supply drop, and confronts her father Not Trump by way of blackmailing him. Like all good unskilled heiresses, this led her down a path of body modification, drugs and drinking, even as her own mother died from liver failure. At that point, Not Trump reached out to his daughter and, for the first time, formed something approaching a daddy/daughter relationship and HEY NOT LIKE THAT YOU SICKOS! I said this was Not Trump.

Returning to the island, Harlem Quinn leads the rest of the Gang across the minefield full of Eggy grenades that we saw last issue. Commanding everyone to step gingerly, they make it across and lead the Fembot 3 right into an explosive trap! The crew is feeling pretty good about themselves, then we’re yoinked right back to Sinn’s origin: After a while, Not Trump met a new trophy wife, and she had a daughter named Gina with funny-colored hair. Sinn, having funny-colored hair herself, gets along with Gina immediately, and before long they are committing minor vandalism, like all young couples do. Sinn and Gina are in love, and therefore plan for a future free of drugs and petty crime, to the extent that Sinn gets a job in her daddy’s office. Unfortunately, Gina is unable to pimp her stepdad so she dies of a heroin overdose. Her stepmom blames Sinn—at her wedding to Not Trump, of course—and Sinn strangles her for a little while before bouncing. Drifting alone and heartbroken, Sinn determines she is going to end it all, until she sees a certain article in the local paper…oh, I’ll just tell you now, it’s something about Harley Quinn. Speaking of whom, the Gang of Harleys has stumbled upon Harley herself, up a tree to get away from some vicious goat-rats. The gang rushes in to save Harley, which Carli and Harvey do by running away to grab some of the weaponry from the junked robots, which they then use to defeat the goat-rats. Still with me here?

In the past, Sinn is immediately captivated by Harley, and sees in her a vision of her beloved Gina. Sinn begins stalking Harley, and even takes out some hitmen contracted to kill Harley without her even knowing. It’s around now she starts wearing the Sugar Skull makeup with wacky Betty Boop hair, and sees a classified ad asking people to come try out for the Gang of Harleys. She doesn’t get in, and, because Sinn is obviously bananas, harbors deep resentment and a desire for vengeance. So that’s pretty much when she kidnapped Harley, I suppose, and started this whole mess. Back to Harley and the Gang, no longer threatened by robots or goat-rats, they chill out and act all nice to each other, which is a little disconcerting. Even more unsettling is that Harley is rendered in an awfully cute way, almost Manga style. It seems incongruous with the rest of the art and looks really off to me. Just as Harley reinvigorates the crew with a pledge to kick Harley Sinn’s ass, we see Sinn offering a gang of menacing thugs ten million dollars for the head of Harley Quinn!

Sometimes you don’t really see how insane a comic book is, until you have to describe it. This whole thing is so wacky, I half-expect Joe Besser to step out of the jungle and do his Stinky routine. (Look it up, kids.) I like the Gang, I like the situation, I really liked those DC Lady Bots, but Sinn…I don’t know if I needed to know all this about her. I mean, it shows that she was a human being, before succumbing to Tim Curry from the Rocky Horror Picture Show cosplay. But I don’t really feel sympathetic towards her, nor do I think her story is really too gut-wrenching. Maybe that’s the point of the whole thing and we’ll find out next issue. Mauricet does a pretty good job for most of the issue, but there are some panels that look a little rushed. And the way Harley Quinn is rendered at the end looks way out of place. I’ve taken this miniseries to the penultimate issue, so I’m not going to jump off now, but this one was definitely the weakest of the bunch.

Bits and Pieces:

Some madcap antics and zany hijinks aren't enough to carry the fairly uninteresting story of Harley Sinn: who she is and how she came to be! We do see the Gang use some smarts and a semblance of teamwork, which implies that they can carry their own stories, but of course this issue ain't it because it's all about the Sinnster. The art is uneven, though when it's good, it's great. I enjoyed this comic enough, but I am about ready for the series to end.


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