Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Harley Quinn #51 Review and **SPOILERS**

The Captain Makes it Happen

Writer: Sam Humphries 
Artist: Sam Basri 
Colors: Alex Sinclair 
Letters: Dave Sharpe 
Cover: Julian Totino Tedesco 
Variant Cover: Frank Cho 
Assistant Editor: Andrea Shea 
Editor: Alex Antone 
Group Editor: Brian Cunningham 
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: October 3, 2018


I was not a fan of the previous celebratory issue, but it looks like that’s all past us now, so what do we have here…what?! We’re dealing with the fallout from that issue?? Sheesh. Well, maybe without making this an “art jam,” the story will be more coherent and interesting in Harley Quinn #51, which I have reviewed for your convenience right here!

Explain It!

We pick up this issue pretty much where the last one left off…which I didn’t expect, really. It felt like a one-off, gimmicky issue to me, right down to the maguffin of chasing Harley’s mom through DC Continuity in order to justify some art changes. But no, here’s Harley and her mom, hanging out at her Coney Island apartment, cackling like a couple of old hens, gabbing about old times and catching a bite to eat at an outdoor café. Very Sex and the City of them! That’s when they spy Captain Triumph, Golden Age hero and residual leftover from the last issue’s lame-ass continuity romp.
You remember Captain Triumph, don’tcha kids? He’s that swell Quality Comics hero, created by Alfred Andriola and who first appeared in Crack Comics #27 (January 1943). He’s journalist Lance Gallant, whose air force pilot brother Michael dies due to sabotage, then his ghost appears and infuses his brother with super powers or whatever. Well, he’s here in the present, and boy is he like a fish outta water! Cellular phones? Instant coffee? Ball-point pens??? He doesn’t know what’s what around here! He ticks off the authorities when he threatens New York City's mayor (whose security detail is, interestingly, Checkmate), but at Jonni DC’s direction, Harley squirrels him away through the sewers and back to Coney Island.
Mind you, Captain Triumph’s thing was that he’d gain super powers by touching the birthmark on his neck that he shared with his brother—his ghostly brother was integral to him having said powers. And this whole time, Triumph is calling out to Michael, wondering why he’s not getting a response, looking more insane than he actually is. By rights, he shouldn’t even have these powers! I mean, maybe…I’m not positive about how it works. But it seems wonky to me. Anyhoo, Harley and Captain Triumph have a heart-to-heart on the Wonder Wheel, and then in some random diner Harley lets it spill that she was the one that jacked continuity in the first place—so now Captain Triumph wants to punch her lights out!
What sucks about this story is that there are about a million others like it. Golden Age hero finds himself in the present day, and boy he just can’t get the hang of these Nike sneakers! The one wrinkle here, that Gallant is separated from his ghostly brother, doesn’t even have ramifications, except to make Captain Triumph all sad. The real crime here is that this issue is so boring, just plodding through scene after scene of pointless dialogue. Why do we see Harley and her mom at her apartment and at an outdoor café? Why do we see Harley and Captain Triumph on the Wonder Wheel and some diner? To create the illusion of story, of course! Why not put them on the fucking moon and in the back of a toilet bowl for all that it matters. This book has been drained of its fun, and cooler heads would cancel it now.

Bits and Pieces:

Nonsense from the previous issue (that we'd rather forget) spills over into this one, and it feels like overtime at the dentist. Once a veritable font of silly good times, this book has become an absolute bore. Avoid.


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