Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Harley Quinn #17 Review and **SPOILERS**

A Conspiracy of Cannibals

Writers: Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti 
Artist: John Timms 
Inks: Marc Deering 
Back-up Writers: Paul Dini & Jimmy Palmiotti 
Back-up Pencils: Bret Blevins 
Back-up Inks: Jay Bone 
Colors: Alex Sinclair 
Letters: Dave Sharpe 
Cover By: Amanda Conner 
Cover Price: $2.99 
On Sale Date: April 5, 2017


Something funny is going on here. If you look at the solicit copy from yesterday’s preview post, you see this is meant to be some kind of story about Harley Sinn…but I can tell you now, most of this book is not about Harley Sinn. In fact, it seems to be picking up the “eating homeless folks” story that was solicited for the past few issues. So what happened? Were Atlee and Power Girl in town, so they decided to strike while the iron was hot and squeeze in a quick story featuring them? I understand there are wheels within wheels when it comes to comics creation, but it seems like an extra story was shoehorned into the publishing plan for some reason. Ah well, just makes me curious I suppose, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything specific about the issue to hand. Speaking of which, here’s my review of the issue to hand, Harley Quinn #17!

Explain It!

Now that we’re past that bizarre Power Girl/Atlee/Zorcromb story arc, let’s see what we have here…oh no. It’s this thing that’s been buzzing in the background for like four issues. The thing about the Mayor hiring vampires to take care of New York City’s homeless problem. But then it turned out last issue that they weren’t vampires, but cannibals with extremely pointed teeth. On the podcast, we discussed how that’s like, a lot more unsettling. Vampires are sort of sexy and ethereal, and they can curse other humans to be sexy and ethereal and immortal themselves. Cannibals just commit crimes against nature. And despite an opening twelve-panel page depicting their system of “catch, clean, cook, and chuck the carcass” as somewhat refined and genteel, it’s still pretty gross. And it’s having ramifications down in Coney Island—Skipper has gone missing!
A week later, Chief Spoonsdale from the NYPD shows up at Harley’s apartment. Remember, he’s been working with her in secret, behind the mayor’s back, to tackle those problems facing New York that are beyond the ken of normal channels. So of course he looks really secret, cruising up to Surf Avenue in his all-black sedan, stepping out among the weaks and freirdos to ask a fully-suited Red Tool “Where Harley at?” They eventually make it to her top floor digs, and after interrupting her weird meditation session, Spoonsdale brings her up to speed on what we’ve been reading about for several issues, and which was pretty clearly expressed on the first page of this comic book. No kidding, he want’s Harley to get to the bottom of it. You didn’t need to go through all that detail, Spoonsdale. You could have just told Harley she had a limited license for chaos and she’d be off to the races.
In Toole, Utah, Harley Sinn is going to fulfill a contract to kill someone, when she notices through her scope that the person is Mason Macabre, husband of Madame Macabre! She ran that wax museum on the ground floor of Harley’s building, then had to go into hiding for reasons. This is too good for Sinn to pass up, and considering she doesn’t even know the identity of the person that hired her to commit this murder, she decides to take the hostage instead. And that’s all on one page! Back to the other story, Harley is under cover as a homeless person, sleeping in a tent in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, while Red Tool and Eggy hang out nearby to keep watch. First, she’s beset by three teenage punks, who try to extort her and then set her on fire, so she absolutely kicks their asses. When Red Tool takes off to drop these punks off at the police station, the cannibal crew drops by and captures Homeless Harley Quinn!
You’d think the fact that she has a stark white face and differently-colored eye shadow would make the cannibals leery about snatching Harley up, but I suppose people are prone to taking more risks when they’re hungry. The back-up story is nice enough, a flashback to a time when Harley supplicated herself to Joker, who was violently preoccupied with being bested by a more expedient criminal. The art looks spot-on, and I think fans of the Bruce Timm animated series or related comics will like it just fine. The main story had a lot of details in its recap that were unnecessary, but at least we’re getting to the bottom of this campaign to chomp down on New York’s street sleepers. Though it ceded six pages to the back-up, the story didn’t seem cramped or rushed at all. No real complaints here.

Bits and Pieces:

We finally get down to the nitty gritty on that gross-out cannibalism story we were sort of avoiding, and there is some good development. The back-up is nice enough for nostalgia's sake, and takes the place of what would probably be a superfluous dream sequence or drug-induced hallucination in a previous issue of this series.


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