Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Harley Quinn #11 Review and **SPOILERS**

Red Tool and Harley Quinn, Sittin’ in a Tree

Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner 
Artists: John Timms 
Colors: Hi-Fi 
Letters: Dave Sharpe 
Cover: Amanda Conner & Alex Sinclair
Cover Price: $2.99 
On Sale Date: January 4, 2017


First time I went to Coney Island was probably in 1992, when I was about 17 years old. It was and still is quite a shlep from my home in Northern Queens County, especially by subway. In this first instance, a bunch of us drove down…to look at Coney Island, I suppose, since none of us had been there before. We met up with a friend that wasn’t a neophyte, though everything you need to know about Coney Island is pretty much right there in front of you: Nathan’s Famous Franks, the Wonder Wheel, a boardwalk, some midway games, nothing beyond my expectations. I did ride the Cyclone, though, and wrenched my back badly. I’ve gone back dozens of times, but I only rode the Cyclone one other time! It’s a little chilly to be visiting Coney right now—I’m no member of the Polar Bear Club, after all—so why don’t we do it vicariously through the pages of the latest issue of Harley Quinn? Join me, won’t you?

Explain It!

Okay! This is it! The story that’s been teased for like six issues straight is finally here! The Joker meets Harley—right in her apartment! He looks sort of like Emo Joker…it’s an interesting look, I don’t hate it. And it kind of fits with his frighteningly polite demeanor. In fact, he seems downright nice. He even agrees to leave at Harley’s insistence, asking that she meet him at the New York Aquarium the next day at noon—a public place, where he will be on his best behavior, he says. Since when did being in a public place stop the Joker from committing mass murder and chaos? That’s where he’s at his best! On his way out, the Joker bumps into Red Tool, who acts all jealous and tough. Instead of searing his face off with the acid-squirting flower on his lapel, however, Joker takes the high road and back away…tauntingly.
Red Tool goes up to Harley’s apartment to ensure that she’s okay, then offers to have sex with her out of genuine concern. Harley’s got a better idea, though: break into that heavily-chained door in the wax museum’s basement that they found like eight issues ago, when the alien hot dog zombies took over Coney Island (seriously, if you haven’t been reading this title until now, you’ve missed a lot.) With a butt-load of grenades, the two of them head down there and bust open the arcane-looking door, then descend into darkness along a roughly-hewn passage until they come upon a big, pink tentacle monster—and it’s trapped Red Tool in its translucent gullet! Or whatever that organ is.
Harley uses some of her acrobatics to whisk Red Tool out of the goop, then chucks some hand grenades at the monster, reducing it to a pink puddle. Outside, Harley asks Red Tool to board up the entrance to unspeakable evil, and says she’s got to hit the hay so she’ll be fresh as a daisy for her meeting with the Joker the next day. While she sleeps, though, Red Tool changes the time on her alarm clock so that she misses her appointment—which Red Tool takes in her stead.
Kind of a mean trick to tease this Joker story for so many issues and then barely have him in this issue. Also, the thing with the giant tentacle monster seemed like a narrative afterthought, though knowing this team I’m sure it will be a huge thing in about seven issues. Still, I didn’t hate this issue. There were lots of funny moments and some great interactions between Red Tool and Harley Quinn, and I’m still incredulous that Red Tool went from a silly Deadpool parody to an interesting character in whom I am somewhat invested. Best part: no dream/hallucination sequence in this issue! All drawn by John Timms, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m just annoyed that this Joker story is still idling in neutral, I feel like it was teased months ago…because it was!

Bits and Pieces:

Not quite the "Joker's Back" story we might have expected, but he is in this issue and the actual story we do get is serviceable. The art looks terrific, which is expected on this title. A lot of the dialogue is pretty funny, too. This isn't the issue to jump on, despite the inclusion of Joker, but it's an okay read and appropriately weird for the series.


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