Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Harley Quinn #22 Review and **SPOILERS**

Your Mommy’s Alright, Your Daddy’s Alright

Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Conner 
Artist: John Timms 
Back-up Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti & Paul Dini 
Back-up Pencils: Bret Blevins 
Back-up Inks: J. Bone 
Colors: Alex Sinclair 
Letters: Dave Sharpe 
Cover: Amanda Conner & Alex Sinclair
Cover Price: $2.99 
On Sale Date: June 22, 2017


I can’t remember the first time I invited my parents over to visit my apartment. Frankly, it doesn’t happen a lot now, given that we live in New York City and I have a one-bedroom. Sure, they can come over, but they’ve got to sit in the bathtub and watch TV via a mirror positioned on an opposing wall. They have been here, though, and thought it was nice enough. If they dropped by, my mom and dad would likely have a different impression, because in the “midst of life” there’s basically crap everywhere. And given what I love and do most of the time, 99% of it is comic book-related. What are we here for again? Oh yeah, my review of Harley Quinn #22! Well, here you go.

Explain It!

So the time has come for Harley Quinn’s parents to visit her Coney Island apartment. Wait—Harley Quinn’s parents? Harley Quinn? One-time homicidal owner of feral hyenas? Joker’s ex-girlfriend? Uh, that’s sort of weird. I mean, I know the DCU has absolved her of past crimes insofar as this comic book is concerned, but I never figured that Harley Quinn’s parents would want anything to do with her. I never even considered that she had parents, I thought she was raised in an abusive foster home or by actual hyenas or something. But Mr. and Mrs. Quinzell do drop by, luckily Red Tool scrubbed it of body parts and pet feces last issue. Speaking of Red Tool, they come up a flight of stairs to find him exiting the shower wearing a towel (and mask), but not before they’re greeted by Poison Ivy coming from the same place! Does this mean Poison Ivy and Red Tool took a shower together? If there was ever a ménage a trois I didn’t want to see, this would be it.
But that’s not all! Big Tony strolls out next, with Goat Boy on a leash! Then the entire Gang of Harleys? Is this some kind of bit? For what reason would they want to introduce themselves to Harley Quinn’s parents by emerging from the bathroom like it’s some sort of porcelain clown car? It all gets brushed away, along with the fact that Harley Quinn’s skin is severely chemically burned, because before long Quinn is in her Quinzell makeup and they’re on the way to her place of work: the old folks home. On the way, we learn quite a bit about the “real” Harley Quinn: she has younger brothers, Barry, Frankie and Ezzie; and the whole family has a nasal Brooklyn accent. Okay, so it’s not that much. But Harley has a whole family! Three younger brothers! It’s nice that no one’s thought to get revenge on her by, you know, slaughtering her family.
Over at the police department, the Mayor’s new lawyer Jean Raymond is trying to spring her client and his assistant Madison Berkowitz from the clink, after they were busted having hired cannibals to eat most of New York City’s homeless population in the last issue. She uses the fact that she knows Chief Spoonsdale in cahoots with Harley Quinn against him, but he seems pretty unflappable…to be honest, I’m not even clear that the Mayor and Berkowitz are freed from jail at the end of Raymond and Spoonsdale’s conversation, though I suspect they have been. Over at the elderly facility, the patients are singing Harley’s praises when, suddenly, her parents say they’re going to check into a hotel and catch up later on. Uh ok, nice visit mom and dad? Later, Harley goes home to soak in a warm tub, but her relaxation is interrupted by the arrival of Harley Sinn, with Mason and Madame Macabre bound and gagged before her! Sinn and Quinn tussle a bit for no good reason, but then Sinn reveals why she’s shown up on Harley Q’s proverbial doorstep: she wants to take out the mayor! 
Then there’s that back-up, this one has Harley gabbing with several female supervillains including the Carpenter, who agrees to fix up Joker’s new hideout—though her terms seem decidedly shitty. Joker also learns who’s been pulling his heists before he can: new Frenchie Catwoman-type named the Grison. But back to the main story: what the hell was that? Harley’s parents showing up seemed so…normal, and inconsequential. Indeed, the most interesting parts were the B-plots, with Chief Spoonsdale and then Harley Sinn at the end. I thought a visit by Harley’s parents would be crazy and wacky, but it turned out to be awkward and uneventful, just like a real visit with one’s parents. I’m pretty intrigued to find out what happens with Harley Sinn in the next issue, and I expect Harley’s parents will be back then as well, but this issue was scattered and dull.

Bits and Pieces:

It turns out that a visit from Harley Quinn's parents is a lot like a visit from my parents, except less critical of my hygiene. This issue felt disjointed and like it didn't know what it wanted to be about. There's a few good gags, but not enough cohesive story.


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