Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Harley Quinn #45 Review and **SPOILERS**

Harl Hath No Fury

Writer: Sam Humphries 
Artist: John Timms 
Colors: Gabe Eltaeb 
Letters: Dave Sharpe 
Cover: Guillem March and Romulo Fajardo Jr. 
Variant Cover: Frank Cho 
Assistant Editor: Andrea Shea 
Editor: Alex Antone 
Group Editor: Brian Cunningham 
Cover Price: $2.99 
On Sale Date: July 4, 2018


Harley Quinn, the series, has been sort of…weird for the last couple of months, as it had to tread water in wait for the new writer, Sam Humphries, to take the helm. Well, he’s here now, and Harley Quinn has gone straight to Apokolips. How do things fare from here? Have a look at my review of issue #45 and find out!

Explain It!

If you head out to Coney Island on a warm summer’s day, you’ll find the beach absolutely covered in people. I’ve been to Coney Island dozens of times, but never thought to hang out on the beach—fallout, I expect, from the early 90s, when large quantities of medical waste were washing up on shore. Though it’s been a while since I’ve read any more reports of that (though it’s not as though I am consistently checking for updates), I still have it in my mind that Coney Island is a “dirty” beach, as if other landscapes of pulverized rock overlooking the exact same body of water are magically cleaner. Point is, Coney Island is a popular beach whether I choose to use it or not, and for Harley Quinn, it’s an ideal location since it’s right in her backyard. So we find Harley, finally taking her much-needed vacation from the constant goings-on around Coney Isle: Tony is taking over her building for a while, the Gang of Harleys are, uh, out ganging, and she’s taken a leave of absence from her roller derby team. All so she could hang out at the local beach sipping piña coladas. Until a Boom Tube opens up and Female Furies Lashina and Bernadeth.
Seems to me that there are two types of comic book fans these days: those that like Jack Kirby’s work and enjoy stories about his created Fourth World, and those that think the Fourth World and the New Gods stuff is absolute fever dream nonsense. I tend to fall in the former category, so I liked seeing Harley transferred to the authority of Granny Goodness, in order to become a Female Fury herself. Granny offers her a new weapon—a super hammer with a Mother Box pinging away inside, which either gives her super powers, or compliments the super powers Harley was already given upon visiting Apokolips. It’s unclear how it happened, but now she can fly around and whack the crap out of parademons or whatever to her heart’s content. As payment for these new gifts, Granny makes only one request of Quinn: kill the former Fury Petite Tina, who is lurking somewhere on this hell-born planet.
Instead, Harley decides to poke around her new home planet: riding an Apokoliptan dog; drinking with some random monster, possibly from the parademon squad; and, uh, maybe kills Deep Six? It’s hard to tell. She definitely chokes him for some reason. Eventually, Harley finds herself in some kind of underground fight club—and if it’s underground on Apokolips, then you can assume that it’s too violent for most Corrections Officers to enjoy—when Granny breaks through telepathically to tell her to get to killing Petite Tina already! Harley dispatches her fight club foe, and then goes out to find Tina—who ain’t all that petite, I tell you what! Though you probably guessed that the minute you heard the name “Petite Tina.”
I had more fun with this than I expected, primarily because it didn’t expand into the whole New Gods thing (yet) and Harley actually did some funny stuff. I’m also a fan of the day-to-day street level stuff on Apokolips, which Kirby liked to describe but which few other writers ever touch upon. I was also glad to see John Timms handling the visuals, since I consider him to be “the” Harley Quinn artist, since Palmiotti and Conner’s landmark run on the series. This isn’t a reboot of the character, since all of Harley’s familiar trappings are name-checked at the beginning, so I assume this will be more of a four-issue dalliance before we get back to our regularly-scheduled Harley. I can dig that. And if she can keep the super hammer after all is said and done, even cooler.

Bits and Pieces:

Harley is on Apokolips, and she's fartin' up the fire pits! OK, not really...this is a pretty funny issue that should tickle fans of Jack Kirby's Fourth World especially. Others may be turned off by these Bronze Age trappings, but that's their problem. This definitely feels more like the familiar Harley Quinn of a few months ago.


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