Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Harley Quinn #13 Review and **SPOILERS**

The Joke’s On You

Writers: Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti 
Artists: John Timms, Chad Hardin 
Layouts: Bret Blevins 
Colors: Hi-Fi, Alex Sinclair 
Letters: Dave Sharpe 
Cover: Amanda Conner & Alex Sinclair 
Cover Price: $2.99 
On Sale Date: February 1, 2017


So here’s something interesting: I saw it intimated online that the Joker featured in this story arc is one of the three Jokers discovered by Batman when he sat in Metron’s chair during the Justice League’s “Darkseid War” story line. That would be strange since, as we’ve discussed on the podcast and as will be revealed in this review, this Joker ain’t the real Joker. So if a fake Joker is one of the three Jokers teased by Geoff Johns, then what does that mean for the other two Jokers? I look at Harley Quinn as having its own continuity, that doesn’t really impact the regular DCU. Does it matter? Do we care? Oh, I dunno. Read my review of Harley Quinn #13 while you think about it.

Explain It!

So you’ll remember that last issue ended with Harley Quinn tossing a bound “Joker” into traffic and letting some cars bat him around like a pinball before dragging him back inside to get to the bottom of this nonsense. Well, as you and I have guessed, this is not the “real” Joker. I gotta hand it to him though, he doesn’t give up the ghost until he’s been viciously tortured by Harley while tied to the scatapult—the best one is probably when she pastes a bunch of birdseed to Fake Joker and then calls a flock of parrots to peck away at him. Harley monologues the whole time, eventually explaining how she knew this wasn’t “her” Joker: she checked out his junk. Some guy went through rigorous plastic surgery and skin conditioning to look like the Clown Prince of Crime, but neglected the Clown Penis. For want of a dick, the ruse was lost.
Once Fake Joker agrees to confess, Harley straps him to an electric chair on the stage of the wax museum, and he tells his story: he’s Edwin, a crazed stalker from way back in Harley Quinn vol. 1 #9. He fell for Harley after she’d promised to visit him at Arkham, but when she failed to do so he wrote to the Joker who then did a My Fair Lady on him and instructed Edwin on the way to win Harley Quinn’s heart…which would be to emulate the Joker. Through mail correspondence, Joker hooks Edwin up with a diet plan, a plastic surgeon, some training videos, and even the chemical dip that turns your skin white and your hair green (it’s Mountain Dew). Harley tells Edwin that it was a damned stupid idea to hook up with the Joker like that—and she should know! So, with a heavy heart and a sense of duty, Harley shoots Edwin in the face in front of all of her friends. The end.
And…I didn’t like it. For one thing, the book opens up with another dream sequence—this one by Edwin, but still another one imagining a great future with Harley Quinn—and I have about had it with this obvious padding. I mean—the same shtick two issues in a row? Come on! But more than that, I didn’t really like the story of the Fake Joker, none of it rang true (Does Joker receive fanmail in Arkham Asylum? Seems that would be restricted) and I thought it was a pretty lame way to conclude a three-part story that’s been hyped up since November. Thirteen issues in, I can definitely say that this bi-weekly schedule isn’t doing this title a lot of favors. Seems like there’s a lot of fluff in what used to be pretty tightly-plotted series. I hope the forthcoming Paul Dini backups will change the pacing of this book, because it feels way off.

Bits and Pieces:

The heavily-teased return of the Joker ends with a plop instead of a bang. I think this arc could have easily fit into two issues, though I don't know that it would have made the story more worthwhile. Frank Cho's variant cover pretty much gives away the whole book, so just look at that and keep it moving.


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