Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Harley Quinn # 42 Review and **SPOILERS**

What’s New With You?

Writer: Frank Tieri
Artist: Mauricet
Colors: Paul Mounts
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Cover: Amanda Conner & Paul Mounts
Cover Price: $2.99
On Sale Date: April 18, 2018


So here’s a thing: I didn’t really read Old Man Logan. Full disclosure, I read the first issue, then part of the second issue, then sort of forgot about it. It wasn’t because I thought it was bad, but because I am not that big a fan of Wolverine. I mean, he’s alright, I bet it. Super bad-ass how he drinks beer and talks tough all the time. But the man is Canadian, so it means that gruff exterior is just posturing for the Americans. You know that, deep down, Wolverine really wants to be super polite and willing to compromise. But Harley Quinn? She’s a bitch in any era. Let’s find out if I’m right about future Harley by reading my review of issue #42, just below!

Explain It!

The problem with not having read Old Man Logan is that I am not going to be immediately aware of all the call-outs to that series made in this one. The Mad Max movies, however, I have seen, and so I am fully understanding why Harley Quinn is strapped, standing up, to the grill of future Red Tool’s junk car while he can’t drive 55. Future Red Tool looks nearly identical to current Red Tool, except he’s got a comb of red hair down the middle of his facemask. Also, his one replaced arm now has all these cybernetic abilities, which is nice enough for him, I suppose. After defeating some of Goatboy’s inbred offspring (all goat-people hybrids, naturally), they jump across the broken Verrazano Bridge and meet Big Tony, who has some gray in his hair, an eye patch, and is piloting a gigantic Kaiju. I probably should have led with that last one.
Heading into Brooklyn, Harley reminisces on the events that rolled back the borough’s gentrification into complete dystopian wasteland: after defeating the Penguin for the umpteenth time, he put Coach in charge of keeping Coney Island save, and Harley left. After Brainiac took over and allowed everyone to control matter with their minds, Coach checked out and left Coney Island ripe for the plucking, which the Gang of Harleys did by beating the snot out of each other and allotting a borough apiece to five members. Now Coney Island is full of mutant monster, rubble, and—hey look, there’s Zena rolling Sy Borgman now! He looks the same as he always did, except that the fleshy parts are all skeletonized now.
Big Tony uses his go-go-rocket feet and flies everyone to Coney proper, which is under a gigantic green dome. Inside, things are pretty cramped, and without any ethical baseline, because it looks to be mostly strip clubs and casinos. Even Frank Frank got in on the act and opened a nudie club, to Harley’s chagrin. So Harley calls the Gang together to hash out their differences, which she does by clobbering them with a bat. Then she leaves a computerized Coach in charge, patterned after Oracle, once Barbara Gordon’s secret identity, and then she and Red Tool cruise to parts unknown, and more than likely unwritten.
This was a very weird issue of Harley Quinn. For one thing, it looks like we’re settling into a longer story arc, but it turned out to be a one-and-done. For another thing, it deals heavily with Harley Quinn continuity, sometimes slavishly, and sometimes poking fun at it. The experience was a little jarring, and while there are some good jokes peppered throughout, I can’t help but feel like this thing was shoehorned in to make room for the impending creative team. And if that’s what it is, it’s not bad! But it ain’t great.

Bits and Pieces:

Old Lady Harley is even more bad-ass than Young Woman Harley, though it's not entirely clear as to how we get to the situation presented in this issue. When it comes to Harley Quinn, it's best not too look that closely; just add up the fart jokes and divide them by testicle kicks and you've got your requisite reviewer's score.


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