Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Batman: White Knight Presents: Harley Quinn #4 Review

The Killer is Revealed

Written By: Katana Collins, Sean Gordon Murphy
Art By: Matteo Scalera
Colors By: Dave Stewart
Letters By: Andworld Design
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 26, 2021

Batman: White Knight Presents: Harley Quinn #4 picks up some time after issue #3 with Harley paying a visit to Bruce Wayne in prison for insight into the obsessive criminal mind. Meanwhile, Starlet and the Producer lay a trap to entice Hector to come to the Gotham Film Academy. Harley and Duke visit the Academy for different reasons, and the trio walks right in to see everything.

Was It Good?

It was okay if a bit formulaic. I thought the misdirection in issue #3 (read the Batman: White Knight Presents: Harley Quinn #3 review here) was more exciting and made for a much more captivating book. There were enough breadcrumbs sprinkled throughout the previous issue that could have led to so many surprising directions. In issue #4, the direction for the mystery reveal satisfies enough but not all that clever or surprising.

Short Story Long


We begin with Harley visiting Bruce Wayne in jail. She's unnerved by the reveal at the end of the last issue (Hector is an obsessed fanboy of Harley Quinn and has been for a long time). The two talk as friends and, to a point, professional colleagues. Their history would give them the camaraderie of shared experience, even if they were on opposite sides of the law.

Where the issue puts off this reviewer is the lack of conversation between Harley and Hector. They end on a cliffhanger that Hector is a raging, obsessive Harley Quinn fanboy, and they don't address it between the two in any way.

Harley is in Hector's boyhood bedroom with Hector just down the hall. Does she sneak out of his room and not mention it? Does Hector catch her, and it turns into a massively awkward moment? Does Harley not confront him about his escalating lies and how it may be affecting the investigation? Does it have something to do with the investigation? It was too big a "wow" moment to drop in the last issue not to pay off.

Back to prison, Bruce expresses encouragement and support for Harley's past and how well she's doing now. In the middle of their talk, we get a very extensive flashback scene that's a revised version of the Joker origin story (complete with acid bath and all), and the appearance of a proto-Harley Quinn costume as Harley goes to "save" Jack at Ace Chemicals.

Later, the Producer and Starlet discuss how to get Hector to join them in their grand plan of building an entirely new Rogue's Gallery to lord over Gotham. Starlet's set a trap she believes will lure Hector to the Academy so they can set the finale in motion.

Harley, hearing her request for a search warrant has been delayed, decides to take matters into her own hands. She shows up at the Academy in her old Harley Quinn outfit and runs into Hector, trying to break in. Duke arrived when he heard the judge was pressured to delay the search warrant, and the trio enters together.

They find the Producer's plan, and they realize that both Harley and Hector are part of his master plan. The Producer and Starlet arrive to make themselves known but split up to lure the trio into splitting up to follow. Bad move! Duke gets knocked out, Harley gets tied up. And the Starlet is revealed to be Hector's nanny when he was a boy. Her plans to become an actress were destroyed when Hector's mother threw a bottle at her face, scarring her for life, and the murders are revenge against Hector's mother and all her crony friends.

In other words, the nanny did it. It's not a lousy reveal, but after how well the last issue played out, I was looking for something with a little more imagination.

With some whoodoo voodoo, Starlet tries to convince Hector to join her to be the best team ever, but to do it; he must kill the tied up Harley. We end with a "will he or won't he" cliffhanger as Hector raises his gun to fire.

Bits and Pieces:

Batman: White Knight Presents: Harley Quinn #4 continues its run with consistently great art and excellent character writing. The big reveal of Starlet's identity and motivation was satisfying enough, but it felt a little vanilla. Thankfully, there's enough wonkiness with Hector's messed up mind to keep readers invested for the next issue.


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