Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Harley Quinn #18 Review and **SPOILERS**

You Can’t Fire a Cannibal

Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Conner 
Artists: John Timms, Joseph Michael Linsner 
Back-up Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti & Paul Dini 
Back-up Pencils: Bret Blevins 
Back-up Inks: J. Bone 
Colors: Alex Sinclair with Jeremiah Skipper 
Letters: Dave Sharpe 
Cover: Amanda Conner & Alex Sinclair 
Cover Price: $2.99 
On Sale Date: April 19, 2017


Man, have the solicits on this title been borked up for the last couple of months. Of course, I remember a time when we, the readers, didn’t even see solicits, so I shouldn’t complain. I mean really, that’s how comics should be done today. Crazy covers to entice a buyer into checking out some bonkers story within. And not a six-part story, either, but a complete story from start to finish. But what do I know? Nothing. So let’s check out my review of Harley Quinn #18, right now!

Explain It!

The prologue consists of more from Gotham 2167, where Dev, winner of the Batman Fan Beat ‘Em Up or whatever, prepares to time travel back to the present day to kill the one that history tells them murdered Batman—Harley Quinn! This story that they’ve been teasing over the last few issues looks awesome, and I can’t wait to get to it. We learn some incidental stuff about this endeavor: Dev will be in the past for a year, then a subcutaneous device will recall her Back to the Future automatically. Dev is also only the second person to have made this time jump to see Batman, and that person never returned. This story seems so cool and it looks like it might be running in the background of Harley Quinn for a year, which is certainly better than an obligatory dream sequence. I expect that we’ll get more from this story next issue and I’m looking forward to it!
Back to the present, Harley, in the undercover guise of a homeless person, is getting dragged away by the cannibals hired by the Mayor’s office to eat the homeless. So you can see why this would be a sticky situation. Red Tool spies Harley being hauled off in a van, so he radios Eggy and takes off after the van—on foot! He chucks throwing stars and tools at the van while in pursuit, catching the notice of a couple of cops who give chase, accruing more police along the way. It’s a regular episode of Benny Hill, I tell ya. Does that reference mean anything anymore? In the van, Harley Quinn puts up quite a fight against the cannibals, but is ultimately subdued with chloroform and taken to their well-appointed abattoir of evil. Meanwhile, the Mayor speaks to Madison Berkowitz about the wonderful job she’s done clearing out the homeless, and despite having insisted on not knowing previously, wants to know how she succeeded. She explained that she hired cannibals to eat them, and the Mayor couldn’t be more pleased about it. He says that the cannibals can now be relieved of their positions, which are probably in the Department of Housing for bookkeeping purposes.
When the cannibals arrive with Harley at their Butchery, Madison Berkowitz is there and seems pleased with their recent acquisition. Before they can slice her into skirt steaks, Madison calls the Mayor who says they should keep her on ice for another issue because, come on, they’re not gonna eat Harley. She gets chucked into a room full of bones, which was really surprising because these cannibals seemed like neat freaks to me. But no, they’ve got a room full of human bones like some kind of stupid owls. Madison tells the cannibals that the City of New York no longer requires their services, but the cannibals have decided that they like the available victuals, plus this is like Broadway’s fifth renaissance that you simply do not want to miss. Before they can discuss this matter, Red Tool rings the bell, and he’s got a flipping gigantic gun! I mean, just ludicrously big!
The back-up continues the Joker and Harley story from where it left off: they pull off the heist, and Joker gives Harley a stolen fur coat as a token of appreciation. But being so distracted by the coat, Harley made a fatal error! She left her other coat at the scene of the crime! And now Batman is crashing through their skylight. It seems like a decent story, the characterizations seem spot-on in terms of being like Batman: The Animated Series, but I get the feeling it’s something I’d rather have read all at once, instead of in at least eight(!) installments. As for the rest of the issue, it was decent. Perhaps unnecessary, since all that really happened was Harley getting taken from Central Park to South Brooklyn, but that can be a two-hour ride in New York at some hours, so it rang somewhat true. With the prologue from the future and the Paul Dini co-written back-up, I think the regular Harley Quinn story has finally found its Rebirth pacing.

Bits and Pieces:

So don't be fooled by solicits: this story continues the cannibals-related tale from last issue and contains no Harley Sinn at all. But it's not a terrible issue. With a prologue teasing what might be a long-running story line, and a pretty entertaining back-up co-written by Paul Dini, this series may have found its stride. It's no masterpiece, but this issue read nicely.


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