Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Harley Quinn #3 Review


Take The 'Smile' Test

Written By: Stephanie Phillips
Art By: Riley Rossmo
Colors By: Ivan Plascencia
Letters By: Andworld Design
Cover Art By: Riley Rossmo
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 25, 2021

Harley Quinn sets up a support group for former clowns to help them deal with their guilt and anxiety. When Hugo Strange's goons show up to collect more clownish test subjects for his illegal medical experiments, Harley may have just led the lambs to the slaughter.

Was It Good?

No, it was not.

We've tried very hard to find the silver lining in this latest series. Some kernel of goodness to justify picking up the next issue to see where it goes.

This issue is pure nonsense from start to finish. Phillips is writing a character who's desperate to tell everyone how capable she is but somehow makes the most bizarre decisions. 

The art, which we admit is hyper-stylized, combined with the writing now displays Harley as an inhuman/superhuman that defies all reason and physics during the action sequences... and not in a good way.

What's It About?


Hugo Strange is performing illegal drug tests, that look and sound extremely painful, on clowns captured under the S.A.F.E program.

Right off, you're hit with questions that fall into the "Why would you do that?" category. Why would Mayor Nakano put Strange in charge of S.A.F.E.? Why is Strange given license to do whatever he wants without oversight, accountability AND with lots of government funding? What was Nakano's goal here because you could see a disaster coming from 10 miles away?

Cut to Harly Quinn starting up a support group for former clowns. She's initially saddened by the lack of attendance (except for Kevin) because she put up so many fliers and spread the word everywhere possible.

"Wait, what? Aren't Hugo Strange's goons trying to capture Harley?" you ask. Ahh, I see you have questions. Let's get them all out so we can move forward.

Didn't Harley steal one of  Strange's vans to evade capture last issue? She did

So she knows Strange is hunting her? She does

Knowing she's hunted, she puts up fliers all over town advertising when and where she'll be? She does

Isn't Harley Quinn supposed to be "smart"? That's what it says in her character bio.

Why would she do all of this? Some questions have no answer

To Harley's relief, a few former clowns show up to start her first support group. To Harley's dismay, Hugo Strange's goons show up to capture everyone. 

Where we take another turn in the story is Harley's apparently superhuman abilities in evading capture.

She can shake off a double-barrelled taser gunshot to the chest quickly to fight three to five goons with better fighting prowess than Batman and Death Stroke put together.

She can cling to the sides and roofs of speeding vans that have no rails or grips of any kind ala Spider-Man.

She has the mysterious strength and durability to smash through a car window with her bare fist, without breaking a single bone or enduring the merest scratch.

She has the strange luck ability to get thrown from the roof of a speeding vehicle that hits a wall and yet gets thrown in the opposite direction.

When you get past this masterful display of seemingly new superpowers, Harley crawls away from the wreck into a nearby sewer tunnel where she encounters yet another member of Batman's rogue's gallery.

Bits and Pieces:

Harley Quinn #3 only works if you're comfortable accepting Harley Quinn is superpowered and dumb as a box of rocks. If that's the Harley you want, this is the book for you.


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