Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Harley Quinn #21 Review and **SPOILERS**

Be Cool to Your Tool

Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Conner 
Artists: Joseph Michael Linsner, John Timms 
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: June 7, 2017


In life, you can count on two things: death and Harley Quinn. In my life, anyway. I criticize this comic book but I have to admit that the comics are always well-crafted. I don’t really say it enough, but if you like wacky antics and the character in general, you’ll never feel ripped off by an issue of Harley Quinn. Though sometimes, you’ll be annoyed. That’s an emotional response, right? Let’s see what I thought of issue #21, right now!

Explain It!

There’s a prologue about this Harley Sinn story that’s been teased for…quite a number of issues, now that I think about it, probably eight or more. While conversing with Mason and Madame Macabre, Sinn appears to have a change of heart when it comes to hurting Harley Quinn…but I’m not going to delve into that too deeply, because we’re back to the story about Future Batgirl! Last issue, she was flung off the Scatapult, but with the use of some pretty sweet dual grappling harpoons she flings herself back like a slingshot and pounces on Harley Quinn! They scuffle for a while, then knock each other out when Future Batgirl uses her green hand zapping power in close quarters. Who will wake up first? Is this the end of Harley Quinn???
No, after this we have four straight pages of Harley Quinn and Devani Kage (the real name of Future Batgirl) held captive in adjoining rooms while a voice over a loudspeaker explains to Devani that she comes from an alternate timeline where Harley Quinn did not kill Batman. I’m not kidding. This is how the thing gets resolved. Wait, I didn’t get to the stupid part: to prove to Devani that she’s from another timeline, the guy behind the voice murders her ancestor with poison gas. And behind the whole elaborate scheme? Red Tool. When did he set this thing up? He’s been pretty busy of late.
Being no wanton murderer, Devani agrees to lay off Harley Quinn, and assume regular life in Brooklyn, until her year in the past is up and she gets zapped back automatically via the chip in her arm. Red Tool acts as benefactor and gives her a luxury brownstone building and an unlimited expense account to do with as she pleases. How does Red Tool know so much about Devani? He’s the other guy that won the Bat-Battle from the future, got sent to the past, and never returned. On account of Harley Quinn chopped off his arm with the chip in it and then attached that arm from the compulsive masturbator. It’s okay, though, because Red Tool fell in love with Harley anyway. Is this too much to take in? Because it’s also implied that Red Tool is a descendant of Bruce Wayne. Plus, he faked her ancestor’s death so this might be the correct timeline anyway. Whew! It all wraps up with Harley waking up to her mysteriously spotless apartment, just in time for her parents to visit!
Plus, this Paul Dini/Bret Blevins back up that feels, as usual, like a sliver of a story that might be good if we could read more of it. As for the Harley story, I really liked learning all of this stuff about Red Tool, as incredulous as I was to read it, but after Harley and Devani got captured it was like someone let the air out of the thing. It was just page after page of dialogue—some of which gave us a chance to see Red Tool speak in tool balloons, sure, but it was still an overload. I’ve really grown to like Red Tool, and this stuff made me like him even more. But as a singular story, it was pretty much a dud.

Bits and Pieces:

Red Tool fans like myself will get an infodump about the one-time parody-turned-real character, but it's a pretty mediocre, chatty story overall. The back-up bring nostalgic feelings to diminishing degrees. On the plus side, this recent arc appears to be two issues flat, so I have to applaud that.


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